Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara

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Delicious Italian meatballs are slow cooked in a homemade marinara sauce with pasta for a scrumptious dinner that can easily feed the whole family!

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara Recipe

If you regularly shop at Trader Joe’s, then I’m sure you have your favorite (or list of favorite) Trader Joe’s products. We all have them! My list includes their apricot stilton cheese, peanut butter granola bars and soy chorizo.

I recently found out that Kurt’s favorite item is their Mini Raviolis. Unlike most packaged raviolis that you find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, Trader Joe’s sells theirs in the dry packaged pasta section.

The first time we ate them for dinner, I couldn’t help but thinking of Chef Boyardee cans of mini raviolis with meatballs, so I decided to recreate this childhood favorite. This slow cooker recipe that takes the dish out of the can and into a fresh, flavorful recipe that’s  easy to make and sure to be a favorite for the whole family!

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs, Marinara & Mini Raviolis

But don’t worry if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, or you can’t find dry ravioli, you can use any kind of dry pasta. Tortellini would be the closest and can be found on the dry pasta aisle at most major grocery stores, or you could substitute penne, rotini or small shells.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara Recipe Ingredients

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp parsley (divided)
  • 2 tsp oregano (divided)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil (divided)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (divided)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (divided)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz + 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 lb uncooked mini ravioli or other dry pasta

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara Instructions

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet, cook the diced onions 3-5 minutes.

Combine the cooked onions, Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tbsp basil, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper in a large bowl.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara Recipe

Use your hands to roll the mixture into approximately 24 mini meatballs.

In the same skillet you cooked the diced onions, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, bring to medium-high heat and place the meatballs in the skillet, brown on all sides, 3-5 minutes.

Add the meatballs to a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara Recipe

In the same skillet, use a paper towel to wipe up any grease left behind from the meatballs, then add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet over medium high heat.

Add the garlic, saute 1 minute, then add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, remaining 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp oregano, 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper.

Mix everything together and simmer 10 minutes.

Add the sauce to the slow cooker.

Cook on low 2-3 hours.

Approximately 20 minutes before serving the meatballs and marinara, bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove and cook the pasta until al dente. Add to the slow cooker and toss with the meatballs and sauce.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Ravioli

This dish is full of flavor, from tender meatballs to rich sauce and delicious little raviolis!

It’s definitely going on my list of new favorites!

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Ravioli
5 from 1 vote
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Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs & Marinara

Delicious Italian meatballs are slow cooked in a homemade marinara sauce with pasta for a scrumptious dinner that can easily feed the whole family!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 708 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 23 oz tomato sauce 1 (8 oz) can and 1 (15 oz) can
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Pasta

  • 1 lb uncooked mini ravioli or other dry pasta

Instructions

Meatballs

  1. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet, cook the diced onions 3-5 minutes.
  2. Combine the cooked onions, Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and black pepper in a large bowl.

  3. Use your hands to roll the mixture into approximately 24 mini meatballs.
  4. In the same skillet you cooked the diced onions, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, bring to medium-high heat and place the meatballs in the skillet, brown on all sides, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the meatballs to a slow cooker.

Marinara Sauce

  1. In the same skillet, use a paper towel to whip up any grease left behind from the meatballs, then add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add the garlic, saute 1 minute, then add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and black pepper.

  3. Mix everything together and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sauce to the slow cooker with the meatballs.

  5. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Pasta

  1. Approximately 20 minutes before serving the meatballs and marinara, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

  2. Add to the slow cooker and toss with the meatballs and sauce.