Slow cooker meatballs in tomato sauce

Jackie Wilson Asheeke

Simple recipes are the best. I like this one for slow cooker meatballs in tomato sauce. My sister Susan turned me on to the meatballs as she usually makes them when I am home in the USA for the holidays. I stole her idea and used it for family meals when I returned to Namibia. It was a hit!

I played around with the directions below and found combinations that work for Namibia and for me. A lot of these recipes on line are geared for what is available in US or European stores. A few of the ingredients are not available here or are extraordinarily expensive imports. So, I have done this recipe substituting what makes sense for Windhoek.

Given these tough financial times, we need to look at making meals that are inexpensive but still offer nutrition and feed our families. I like dishes like this because you can make it early on a Saturday. When you don’t have little ones at home that need to be fed, a big pot of food available for anyone to help themselves is liberating. My family and I can have it for lunch and dinner that day. The left-overs can be frozen and used later in the week for GREAT meatball subs!

This recipe takes about three hours. It serves six, but you can increase the proportions based on the size of your larger slow cooker or deep heavy pot. Each serving has about 368 calories.


Sauce: 5 cups crushed and strained tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional), and ground black pepper to taste

Meatballs: ¼ kg ground meat + ¼ kg ground pork*, 1 large egg, 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (or Romano) cheese (this is expensive, so you can use any cheese that you can afford or skip it), 1/4 cup grated onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil (any oil can work, olive oil can be expensive), 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (fresh or dried), 2 large cloves of garlic – minced, and 1/2 teaspoon salt ground black pepper to taste

*I made the meatballs with ground game meat and it also works out very well


Prepare the sauce by whisking tomatoes, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper in a slow cooker. Adjust heat to High.

Combine ground meats, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, onion, olive oil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Use your hands to gently mix together. Roll into 3 centimetre (diameter) sized balls and place into the sauce. Use a spoon to cover the meatballs with sauce; do not stir.

Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on ‘High’ for 2 1/2 hours until meatballs are cooked through.

Cook’s Note:

The olive oil makes the meatballs really moist but you can leave it out if you prefer a firmer meatball.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 368 calories; 13.4 g fat; 27.9 g carbohydrates; 37.5 g protein; 121 mg cholesterol; 1559 mg sodium.

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