If you are the kind of person who stocks up on jars of pasta sauce when they go on sale at the grocery store or even just in general find that your pantry is always kept stocked with pasta sauce, than you should definitely try this slow cooker marinara. Pasta can be such a satisfying and quick weeknight meal to throw together and it just tastes that much better with fresh, homemade marinara (no preservatives added!).
What I love most about this recipe is that you literally throw a few ingredients into a slow cooker and in 8 hours you have a large batch of marinara that you can either serve immediately or freeze for later. The marinara tastes great when served plain over pasta, but if I have the time I love adding cooked sausage or meatballs and maybe even mushrooms and peppers as well. Whichever you prefer, you will not regret having a bag or two of this marinara stored in your freezer for a lazy day
Slow Cooker Marinara
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
2 whole bay leaves
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the onion into a small dice and mince the garlic (or use pre-minced garlic from a jar). Place both in the slow cooker. Also add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, basil, oregano, and freshly cracked pepper. Stir well to combine. If your slow cooker tends to lose moisture and dry things out, add 1/2 to 1 cup of water as well.
Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs.
Remove the lid on the slow cooker, stir the sauce, and remove the bay leaves. Season with salt to taste (I added about 1 tsp). Enjoy over your favorite pasta! Remember the sauce can be served plain over pasta, or you can use it as a base sauce and add it whatever you want, like mushrooms, cooked sausage or chicken, bell peppers, etc.