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Easy Meat Sauce Recipe in Crockpot

If you are struggling to think of an easy meal for a busy weeknight, you will love this meat sauce recipe! You can prepare this recipe the night before then turn on the crockpot the next morning.

This recipe is delicious and kid friendly! My toddlers love this meat sauce recipe an request the “red sauce” every week. So, if you are looking for a meal that the whole family will enjoy, this is it.

meat sauce recipe

Dairy Free Pasta Sauce

If you’ve been looking for a tasty sauce without dairy then you will love this dairy free pasta sauce recipe. I went dairy free a couple years ago and struggled to find recipes without dairy. So, I started making adjustments to recipes or creating my own.

Ingredients

  • 1lb Mild Ground Sausage (optional)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 28 Oz Can of Peeled Plum Tomatoes
  • 28 Oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Minced White Onions
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Italian Seasoning
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar (This cuts down on the acidity/balances the sauce, so don’t skip this step!)
  • Pasta of Choice

Servings

This meat sauce recipe makes enough for 6-8 plates of pasta, depending on how much sauce is used per plate. I make this for a family of 4 and always have enough for an additional dinner.

I freeze half of the sauce in a large freezer bag then the in the fridge overnight for dinner on a weeknight. Reheat the sauce in a large covered sauce pan over low heat, stirring the sauce occasionally while boiling water for your favorite pasta.

Another way to repurpose the leftover sauce is to use it as a pizza sauce. If you made this red sauce without meat, it works great over a flat bread topped with peppers, onions, peperoni, and cheese.

The sauce will be good in the fridge for a couple of days, so you can make 2 dinners out of this sauce in one week.

Step 1 – Meat Sauce Recipe

Heat a pan on medium heat then pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. Once the pan and oil have been heated, gently place the ground sausage in the pan.

Break up and stir the sausage until it is fully cooked. While the sausage is cooking, pour 1-2 tablespoons into the bottom of the crockpot and turn it on low

This sauce also, tastes great without the meat, so feel free to tweak the recipe per your preference.

Step 2 – Mince Onions and Garlic

I prefer to mince the white onions to hide the onions from my toddlers. My toddlers will reject a plate of food outright, if they sense there are vegetables in it.

If you are fine with a chunkier sauce then you should roughly chop the onions instead. After cutting the onions, pour them into a crockpot.

Fresh garlic is always better, but to save time I use a glass jar of minced garlic for this recipe. The jar of minced garlic is great to keep in your fridge for any recipe because it saves time on a busy weeknight.

Place 1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic into the crockpot.

Step 3 – Add All Ingredients

Add all ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours, stirring the sauce occasionally. There is no need to mash the peeled plum tomatoes as they will break on their own.

Step 4 – Cook Pasta

When the sauce is almost done, boil water with your favorite pasta. I make a 16 oz box of pasta for a family of 4 then cover with sauce.

Serve the sauce over the pasta with fresh basil and garlic bread. I hope you enjoy this meat sauce recipe!

meat sauce recipe

Tips for Cooking the Meat Sauce

You can make this sauce with ground beef or ground sausage, but I prefer ground sausage. I think the sausage has more flavor and my toddlers eat it that way, so I don’t mess around with the recipe since they eat it.

I have tried making the sauce with both ground beef and ground sausage and I felt like it was too much meat in the sauce.

If you want to spice it up a bit, you can use spicy ground sausage and red pepper flakes.

Do not skip the sugar! The sugar is needed in almost all red sauce recipes because it balances out the sauce by reducing the acidity. I forgot the sugar one time and the sauce was a little bitter without the sugar.

Easy Meat Sauce

Easy Meat Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1lb Mild Ground Sausage (optional)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 28 Oz Can of Peeled Plum Tomatoes
  • 28 Oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Minced White Onions
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Italian Seasoning
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • Pasta of Choice

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet to medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Brown ground sausage while chopping or mincing the onions
  3. Pour the browned sausage and onions into a large crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the crockpot and mix well before covering with the lid.
  5. Stir the sauce occasionally and crush the plum tomatoes after they soften.
  6. Boil water for your favorite pasta when the sauce is almost done.
  7. Top cooked pasta with red sauce and enjoy!

Notes

  • This recipe makes 6-8 servings of pasta. The leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or 3 months in the freezer.
  • Defrost frozen sauce in the fridge overnight then reheat in a saucepan on low heat for about 5-10 minutes.

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