Slow Cooker Sauce with Meatballs


Meatballs with mozzarella tucked inside are slow cooked in a savory tomato sauce and served over pasta for a hearty family meal.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
6 hrs
Total Time:
6 hrs 30 mins
6 servings



  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 (28 ounce) can RED GOLD® Crushed Tomatoes

  • 1 (28 ounce) can RED GOLD® Tomato Sauce

  • 1 (6 ounce) can RED GOLD® Tomato Paste

  • 1 tablespoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 pinch Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • ½ cup water

Mozzarella Meatballs:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey

  • ½ cup quick cooking oats

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 eggs

  • 8 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a large skillet heat extra-virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Spray 5 quart or larger slow cooker. Add onion and garlic and remaining sauce ingredients. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Serve on pasta of your choice.

  2. Meat can be added to the sauce if desired. Below is a meatball recipe that could be added to the sauce at the beginning of the cook time.

  3. Mozzarella Meatballs: In a large bowl mix turkey, oats, basil, black pepper, garlic cloves and eggs. Shape into 2-inch balls (should get 14 to 16 meatballs). Press 1 small mozzarella ball into center of each meatball, sealed inside.

  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high neat. Add meatballs; cook just until browned on all side. Place half of the sauce in slow cooker, add meatballs and then last half of sauce. Cook as directed.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

710 Calories
40g Fat
43g Carbs
44g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 710
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 40g 51%
Saturated Fat 15g 74%
Cholesterol 197mg 66%
Sodium 1187mg 52%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 15%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 4mg 20%
Calcium 68mg 5%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 508mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.