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Our family eats a lot of pasta. And for years, I’ve bought marinara sauce in a jar because it’s fast and convenient. But these days, we are trying to be more mindful about what we eat, so I started making homemade slow cooker pasta sauce.
Aside from it being incredibly delicious, I love that it doesn’t have the added preservatives that a jar sauce contains. I’m also able to put in as many vegetables as I’d like for added nutrition.
You add everything to your slow cooker in the morning or afternoon, and it’s ready for dinner. If you have a smaller family, you can store the remaining sauce in a jar, in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to a month and use when needed.
This slow cooker pasta sauce is the first of many healthier option recipes that I’m going to be sharing. And the story behind them is one I had to share (it wouldn’t be a food blog if there wasn’t a story behind it, right?)
I know how hard it is to find recipes that are both healthy and taste delicious. A few weeks ago, I reached out to a long-time friend, Rachel DiNapoli to see if she wanted to take our family’s favorite recipes and make them healthier.
Our family has known Rachel for about ten years, back when she was dancing at the same dance studio as our daughters. She later became one of their favorite dance teachers.
These days, Rachel is a fitness trainer and helps people to lose weight and eat better. Rachel is a NASM certified personal trainer (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and boot camp instructor in Boca Raton, FL. She is the proud owner of FAITH, WEIGHTS, PROTEIN SHAKES LLC, an online training and nutrition company.
Rachel was 50 pounds overweight and after losing weight by eating healthy and exercising, she now uses her own personal health and fitness journey to help others. In addition to encouragement, motivation, and exercise routines, she also shares tips and tricks to healthier eating on her Instagram page @rachdinafit.
You can dice your veggies according to how chunky you like your pasta sauce but remember the larger the chunks, the longer they will need to cook. If you’re running short on time and you chopped your veggies a little too big (or you like to hide the veggies from your kids), you can put the sauce into a food processor or blender when it’s done, for a smoother consistency.
I also use my food processor to shred the carrots. This will save you lots of time over hand grating them. For the onions and the celery, I hand chop them.
This slow cooker pasta sauce is great over pasta. If you prefer real pasta over zucchini noodles, Rachel recommends Barilla ProteinPLUS Multigrain Spaghetti. I’ve had it a few times now and my family really loves it. It doesn’t taste any different than regular pasta, it’s just 100% Plant-based protein and non-GMO, so it’s a better, healthier option.
It would also be great on top of chicken with a side of veggies! We love ours with my healthier oven-baked meatballs, another recipe I worked with Rachel.
Side note… you’ll want to pick up one of these clip-on pan strainers. The best tool I’ve purchased in a while! Just clip it onto your pot and strain your pasta. I absolutely love it.
The steps in the photos above, show exactly how I make my slow cooker pasta sauce.
Step 1: All veggies and spices in the slow cooker.
Step 2: Mix all ingredients in step one together and add crushed tomatoes.
Step 3: Add vegetable stock.
Step 4: Stir until combined and slow cook for 4-5 hours.
Now that you know a little bit about this slow cooker pasta sauce, I’m excited to share our recipe.
Slow Cooker Pasta SaucePrint
This slow cooker pasta sauce is packed with veggies and tastes better than any sauce you can buy in the store. Only 77 calories per serving.
- 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup diced Vidalia onion
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- fresh basil for topping, optional
- Place all ingredients into your slow cooker and stir until combined.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
- Serve on top of pasta, meatballs, or any healthy alternative.
- Top with fresh basil, if desired.
- Calories: 77
- Fat: .1g
- Carbohydrates: 14g
- Protein: 2.6g
If you make this slow cooker pasta sauce, we’d love to hear your thoughts. If you post it on social media, we’d love for you to tag @thesupermomlife! Don’t forget to check out all of our family-friendly recipes.