This easy to make slow cooker tomato sauce is filled with hidden veggies and flavorful herbs. Throw it in the slow cooker and come back when it’s done!
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There's nothing like homemade tomato sauce to really spice up any Italian dish. Pasta is a fan favorite in our house, and this crock pot tomato sauce is so easy to put together. Everything is prepared in one pot! Throw it all in the slow cooker and you're done until it's time to eat.
Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
My husband has the final say on all things Italian in our house and he gives this two thumbs up. This definitely means this is a staple in our dinner rotations. Bonus, the 4 year old actually took a bite of pasta with this sauce on it!
What is the difference between tomato sauce and marinara sauce?
People often use these terms interchangeably but if you look deeper, there is a difference. Tomato sauce can literally mean the smooth tomato based sauce you buy in a can to use in other recipes. However, it can also mean an actual tomato based recipe sauce.
Some sources say that a tomato sauce is an Italian sauce that can be made with a variety of ingredients, from meat to cheeses to veggies. In contrast, marinara is a simple tomato based Italian sauce made with a few key ingredients like olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and herbs.
What is tomato sauce called in Italy?
It really depends on the ingredients and what exactly it is. Generally, a simple tomato sauce is marinara. However in Italy you will find a plain tomato sauce also called salsa di pomodoro.
Some Italians refer to sauce as gravy or ragu, but that is often when it has meat in it.
How do you freeze tomato sauce?
I like to make a big batch of this sauce, then separate it into smaller containers for freezing. This makes it super simple to reheat for meals later!
I also like to put a layer of plastic over the top of the sauce to prevent freezer burn. This helps it stay fresher longer in the freezer!
Is tomato sauce the same as pasta sauce?
Tomato sauce means a sauce that is made with tomatoes and pasta sauce is literally any sauce you put on pasta. Pasta sauce can be made of tomatoes but it also came be made of many other things like pesto, meat based, veggies based, etc.
Can you cook pasta in tomato sauce?
Yes! You certainly can cook pasta in tomato sauce. One thing to consider is how think your tomato sauce is. If it's too thick, there will not be enough liquid for the pasta to cook, so you may need to add some water.
Also, if you are using gluten free pasta, be careful of the texture. Some gluten free pastas need to be rinsed so they may not be the best choice if you are cooking in tomato sauce.
How To Make Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
- Put all ingredients into a slow cooker.
- Do all the things until the sauce is done.
- Serve over pasta or other food of your choice!
Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
- 1 cup carrots , finely chopped
- 1 cup celery , finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 5-6 cloves)
- 2 ounces fresh basil , sliced
- .5 ounces fresh thyme (whole stems)
- .5 ounces fresh oregano (whole stems)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper , optional for a hint of spice
- 56 ounces crushed tomatoes , no salt added
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Put all ingredients in a slow cooker. I like to put the thyme and oregano in whole with branches and all to simmer while the sauce cooks. You can also take the leaves off if you prefer.
- Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Check sauce every few hours, if sauce is too watery, take the lid off and continue cooking to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. The longer you cook it, the richer the flavor. This sauce is ready to eat starting at hour 1 but the flavor gets better with time.
- When done, use a slotted spoon to take out the thyme and oregano stems.
- Serve over your favorite pasta, with my vegan meatballs, or as a dip!
- This makes about 7-8 cups, depending on how long you end up cooking it and how much liquid evaporates. For nutrition fact purposes, I am going off of 8 cups. Serving size is ½ cup.
- If you don't want to cook this all day in a crockpot you can also put it on the stove in a pot for about 30 minutes.
- You can use dried herbs if you do not have fresh however you will use much less as dried are more potent. Start at 1 tablespoon and taste.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
This recipe looks delicious and easy! Thank you!
Do you feel this recipe would be okay to freeze? I cook meals for my mom, making several pre-made dinners that she freezes then pulls out when needed. I would love to incorporate this healthy sauce into her diet 🙂
Hi Vicki! Absolutely! I make this in big batches and freeze it all the time!
I see this is an older repost, so I'm not sure there'll will be an answer.
This is nearly identical to a sauce that I make except that I'm curious about why you would not include onions (???)
Hi Carol! I am constantly revisiting and updating my old recipes in order to make them better for you all! I don't include onions simply because I do have other tomato based sauces where I do include them, but I wanted this to be a bit different. Also I want it to be super simple and easy without needing to saute anything. I often feel like the flavor of onions is different in things when they are not sauteed, so just decided to leave them out. I think it is flavorful enough without them and they aren't really needed!
I have read through twice and seem to be missing where to find how many tomatoes to use?? It is driving me crazy since people have made this, but I cannot seem to find it listed under the ingredients?!
OMG Katie, you are NOT going crazy. I just went to the recipe and the tomatoes were deleted from the ingredient list! I am not sure how. I switched recipe plugins and some recipes have gotten screwed up so I really appreciate you telling me. I am trying to go through and fix them slowly but it takes forever and I am doing one a week. It's all fixed and updated now!
I love that I can just set it and forget it, you can't go wrong with a good red sauce recipe!
Looks yummmm. I don't have a crock pot. Do you think a regular pot cooking for a long time on low would work??
Thanks so much Lara! Yes, that should definitely work. Keep it covered and then towards the end open it a crack. Let me know how it works!
Thank you Shannon! Let me know if you try it.
Really colourful!!! 🙂
I'm due for spag sauce this week-end! I will definitely give it a try. Sounds delicious!
Thank you! Hope you like it!
It is delicious! The only things I changed was no garlic (cause we have restrictions), so I added a TBSP of cider vinegar for that little kick. Very yummy!
Great sub! Thanks for posting so others can see if they too have the need to sub! Glad you liked it!
Looks delicious - and I love that I can come home and it's just... Ready!
Can I use San Marzano tomatoes from a can? What are boxed tomatoes?
Yes, absolutely you can use canned tomatoes if you want. Boxed is just another way they are sold. I prefer the taste of those that come in a jar or box but canned work too! Let me know how it turns out!
Thank you! Isn't that the best?! I love crockpot dishes, and that's why I created this one. Easy and good!