I absolutely love the crockpot and how easy it makes life on those busy, hectic evenings. I am sure I will like it even more as my kids grow and I am taxiing them too and from activities. When I find a new crockpot recipe that we love, I have to share it because I love to help make everyone’s life easier. After trying this marinara and meatballs in the crockpot, I am certain that I will not cook spaghetti and meatballs any other way.
My husband loves Italian food and M is just like him. C is indifferent and usually just prefers to eat just the meatballs, but this recipe was different- everyone devoured this meal! The best thing about this is that it takes no time at all: I threw everything together in the crockpot in the morning and it was ready at dinner time. I of course cooked the noodles and our veggie right before it was time to eat, but you could have done that ahead of time too. Next time, I will try some zoodles with this instead (at least for me).
Crockpot Meatballs & Marinara
Like any recipe that I make, 9 out of 10 times, it comes from modifying a variety of recipes. A friend of mine sent over some crockpot meals, another friend shared a crockpot marinara and so this version of crockpot meatballs and marinara was born.
For the meatballs, you will need:
- 1.5 pounds of ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 1/4 cups of italian bread crumbs
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 white onion chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Combine all those ingredients together and mix with your hands. Once it is all mixed together, roll into 1-1.5 inch balls.
Here is where your choice comes into play. I immediately just threw my meatballs into the crockpot and then topped with the ingredients for my marinara and let it cook all day. A few of my meatballs fell apart and that was okay with me.
If you don’t want your meatballs to fall apart, take an extra 5-10 minutes, heat some oil in a skillet and brown each side of the meatballs. This should prevent it from falling a part.
Crockpot Marinara Sauce
Once the meatballs were in the bottom of the crockpot, I simply dumped all the ingredients for my marinara sauce.
For the sauce you will need:
- 28 ounces of whole tomatoes or diced (depending on how you like your sauce)
- 28 ounces of tomato puree (or you can simply take out the tomatoes above and double this)
- 6 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2 chopped white onion
- 4-5 tsp. fresh basal
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup red wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- a shake of crushed red pepper (if you like it with a little kick)
Once everything is in the crockpot, let it cook all day. Since I used whole tomatoes, I did take them out half way through and crush a little (next time I will use diced tomatoes).
Everyone in my house loved this meal! Crockpot meatballs and marinara will be a staple at our house and I will no longer make spaghetti and meatballs and marinara on the stove or in the oven. I can’t wait to try this over some noodles next!
Your turn- tell me!
Have you ever tried meatballs and marinara in the crockpot?
What is your favorite type of veggie to use for zoodles?