Let your slow cooker do all the work and come home to a fully cooked meal with this simple recipe for slow cooker meatballs in tomato sauce.

Put your slow cooker to good work this winter with this comforting recipe for slow cooker monster meatballs. | livinglou.com

There’s a time and place for everything and when it comes to slow cookers, I believe that place should be on your counter 24/7.  I recently replaced my old slow cooker and now I want to slow cook everything. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve been reading for a while. My slow cooker recipes on here have been some of your favourites over the years. Today, because it’s Thursday, and we’re all tired and ready for the weekend, I’ve got a simple, delicious and comforting “dump in the slow cooker” recipe for slow cooker meatballs in tomato sauce from the new Canadian Living: New Slow Cooker Favourites cookbook. A slow cooker really is the ultimate tool for you, no matter what kind of cook you are. If you’re a student, a busy and 0ver-scheduled twenty-something or a tired parent with a picky eater.

canadian living slow cooker favourites

I recently got this book in the mail, and I cannot recommend it enough. There are a few pages in the beginning about slow cooker basics (best cuts of meats to use, to brown or not to brown your meat etc.) but it quickly jumps right into the recipes – which are the best part. And it’s those recipes that make this book standout for me, there is such an insane variety of cuisines, dishes and meals in this new cookbook. There are four recipe-packed sections. Soups & chowders, stews, beans, meatballs & sauces, chilies, curries & casseroles, and last but not least (and my favourite section) pot roasts, braised steaks & ribs. I’ve always loved a good pot roast but I have yet to try it out in my slow cooker – add that to the list. Reading this book, I learned that there are quite a few dishes you can make in the slow cooker that I had no idea about. For example, did you know you could make paella in the slow cooker? I also had never made meatballs in the slow cooker before, but these crockpot meatballs (and their accompanying tomato sauce) have really changed my slow cooking strategy.

When it comes to cookbooks, I find that sometimes they can be a little intimidating, but with this book, all of the recipes are so approachable. I’m a cookbook junkie and I have tons of books that I just love to look at, but this is one that I know I will be cooking from for years to come. To give you a taste, here are a few of the recipes on my “to-make” list: Kale and Chorizo Soup, Smoky Roasted Pepper Chicken and Coconut Squash Curry.

Quick Video Tip

Watch the video below for a quick tip for reducing excess liquid in the slow cooker:

Slow Cooker Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
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  • For sauce:
  • 1 can (156mL) tomato paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bulb of fennel, cored and chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • For meatballs:
  • 2 cups cubed crustless Italian bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 450g lean ground veal or beef
  • 450g lean ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. In a large bowl, soak bread in milk until absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  2. Squeeze out and discard as much of the milk as possible. Stir in egg, veal, pork, garlic, onion, parsley, Parmesan cheese, fennel seeds, salt and pepper until combined.
  3. Shape in 12 large meatballs; refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in slow cooker, combine tomato paste, onion, fennel, carrot, garlic, salt and hot pepper flakes. Stir in tomatoes, crushing with hands or potato masher. Arrange meatballs on top.
  5. Cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into several meatballs reads 160F (71C), 6 to 8 hours. Skim off fat. Serve sprinkled with basil.


Recipe republished with permission.


And I know it’s a little early, but I think this would make a great gift for the holiday season! Meanwhile, get your slow cooker out of the cupboard and give these monster meatballs in tomato sauce a try.

Disclaimer: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Canadian Living: New Slow Cooker Favourites for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links, thank you for supporting Living Lou!

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