Easy Slow Cooker Meat Sauce

Italian Turkey Sausage and lean ground turkey are the main ingredients in this simple slow cooker meat sauce!

Nothing beats an easy dinner that’s ready when you need it!

Italian Sausage and ground beef are slow cooked to have dinner ready when you need it!  www.lemonsforlulu.com

There was a time that I loved to run.  I think that time was between the ages of 5 and 10.  During that time I ran everywhere!  I ran to my friends house, then I ran home.  I ran to school and I ran during recess.  I ran up the stairs and I ran down the stairs.  I ran playing tag and I ran playing chase.  I ran and ran and ran and never seemed to tire or get winded.  By the time I got to high school, not only did I hate running, but I found it difficult to do.  It only got worse with age.  Today, the only running I do consistently is to “run errands”.The slow cooker does all the work with this easy meat sauce!  www.lemonsforlulu.com

Running seems like the most natural thing to do.  After all, it requires no special equipment and it can be done anywhere.  Yet, for some of us it feels like the most unnatural thing possible.  Giving birth (3 times) is by far an easier task for me than running a mile!!  How did this happen?  Am I just out of practice?  Old lungs?  I want to run, I really do.  I recently uploaded an app that is supposed to get me to run a 5k in 8 weeks!  Sounds easy doesn’t it?  I’m not actually going to run a 5k (that would be crazy).  I just want to experience that exhilerating freedom that comes from running as fast as you can.  I want to feel my heart pounding and hear my feet against the pavement.  Yes, that’s exactly what I want.  

Italian Sausage and ground beef are slow cooked in this simple meat sauce. www.lemonsforlulu.com

While I’m not doing marathons just yet, I can eat dinner like I am right?  Since pasta is the meal for us runners,  I came up with this flavorful, meat-filled pasta sauce.  Nothing is more comforting and satisfying than a big, steaming bowl of pasta smothered in an aromatic tomato sauce!  This meat sauce is filled with Italian turkey sausage,  ground turkey (keeping it on the light side), garlic and herbs!  Aside from the taste, the best thing about this sauce is how easy it is!  Brown your meat and toss everything in your slow cooker!  Dinner is ready and waiting when you need it!


Pork and beef combine to make flavorful and tender meatballs! www.lemonsforlulu.com

Meatballs with Spaghetti

Stove Top Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt www.lemonsforlulu.com

Stove Top Pastitsio




Easy Slow Cooker Meat Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat olive oil. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes or until onions have softened. Remove to slow cooker. In same skillet, heat ground turkey and turkey sausage. Stir in basil, oregano, thyme and salt. Cook until turkey is crumbled and no longer pink. Add meat to onions in slow cooker. To the slow cooker, add canned ingredients, vinegar and sugar. Stir. Heat on high for 3 ½ hours.


Follow Tanya Schroeder @lemonsforlulu.com’s board What to feed the family on Pinterest.

I may be linking this up to these parties and to

28 Responses

  1. I stopped by from What’s Cookin’ Wednesday because I am always on the lookout for a great slow cooker pasta sauce. You didn’t disappoint! This looks great and your pictures are top notch! Thanks for sharing! HUGS

  2. […] Slow Cooked Meat Sauce from Lemons for Lulu – Herbs, ground turkey, turkey sausage, onions… this rich sauce is actually on the lighter side and full of anti-oxidants! And if you don’t feel like spaghetti, throw it in the freezer! […]

  3. […] Slow Cooked Meat Sauce from Lemons for Lulu – Herbs, ground turkey, turkey sausage, onions… this rich sauce is actually on the lighter side and full of anti-oxidants! And if you don’t feel like spaghetti, throw it in the freezer! […]

  4. I hate running but I’d run over to your house for a big bowl of this pasta that’s for sure! P.S. Running outside is way easier than on a treadmill. Why I have no idea, but that’s I found!

    • I hate running outside because then you have hills!

    • I’m too embarrassed to run outside! But you can, all the way here!

  5. Cool! Looks super easy to make!

  6. Ashlee

    Is there anything I could replace the balsamic vinegar with? I’m not a fan and wondered what I could use instead.

    • You could certainly leave it out or increase your brown sugar.

  7. Why have I never done this? Meat sauce takes a lot of time anyway, why not just pop it in the slow cooker? This has been a glass-shattering moment for me.

  8. Oh, this looks delicious. I’ll have to try making sauce in the slow cooker sometime. It never crosses my mind.

    • Takes out all the work. I love my slow cooker!

  9. I need to add this to the menu for this week! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  10. I am definitely not a runner, but I run every day. Ha! I just don’t love it like I wish I did. Oh well….the more I run, the more of this yummy pasta & sauce I can eat!

  11. This is SO good, Tanya! I made it in my pressure cooker last week (add 1/2 cup liquid and bring to pressure, cook 10 minutes) and we all loved it. Tasted like it had cooked all day. I’m having friends over for a newborn photo shoot today and making this again. Very delish! Thanks for sharing your recipe. So glad my pressure cooker could take over in a pinch!


Add your Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: