slow cooker basil marinara

by Kristina Sloggett

in Cooking Light, Dinner, Gluten Free, recipes, Vegan

slow cooker marinara

While an anti inflammatory diet gives tomatoes the side eye, they are one of my favorites and sometimes I feel like indulging. I know – indulging? Yes. When you like marinara and the many foods that like to swim in it, this is a form of indulgence.

Don’t even get me started on summertime, when my garden has the most amazing fresh roma tomatoes. I can often be found standing in my yard, eating a tomato like an apple. Garden fresh is always the best, and tomatoes especially so.

During the summer, this recipe uses a few pounds of my fresh romas, rather than the fire roasted in the can.

slow cooker marinara

slow cooker basil marinara

inspired by this Cooking Light recipe

dairy, soy, and gluten free, vegan

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large cans (28 ounce) fire roasted tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
large bunch (3/4 cup) fresh basil, chiffonaded
2 tablespoons dried oregano
salt and pepper

In pan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Saute several minutes, until softened.

In slow cooker set to low heat, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add onion and garlic, cover and cook for 2 hours. After sauce is warmed through, smash tomatoes into smaller pieces (using a potato masher or large fork). Cover and cook on low for another 2-3 hours.

slow cooker marinara

Do you have a favorite food that doesn’t really agree with you?


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kita January 30, 2013 at 5:07 am

Marinara is one of my most favorite things on earth – and I’ve got this slow cooker thing going right now 😉 I could eat this by the spoonful.


2 Kristina Sloggett January 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

I do too! um, I mean I could too 😉


3 Heather (Where's the Beach) January 30, 2013 at 5:11 am

I love tomatoes as long as they’re cooked or if they’re the really small grapes or cherries. I sure wish my garden had produced enough to jar or to do a sauce from scratch. Big spaghetti sauce fans around my house 😉 Because of all the stuff I’ve been going through, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to acidic foods. Probably should pay more attention to inflammatory foods as well.


4 Kristina Sloggett January 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

I always plant too many tomatoes. 😉 well, someone’s definition of too many. you might want to look at them – the big ones are the nightshades – potato, tomato, and if I remember correctly, eggplant. oh. and peppers. *tear. that is one I often overdo.


5 Leah January 30, 2013 at 7:24 am

I just started an anti-inflammatory diet plan a few days ago.. I’m on the last day of the detox and will start “testing” foods tomorrow. I’m really hoping to be OK with tomatoes and bananas but we shall see! Today I get to try eggs. :)


6 Kristina Sloggett January 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

good luck with it – I hope it all goes well and that if you find anything that doesn’t agree with you, it’s something you don’t love :)


7 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

Cabbage. I love it but if I eat too much… it’s not pretty.

There’s nothing like homemade toamto sauce. in the winter I like to use the San Marzano tomatoes. If only those came fire-roasted… life would be perfect. :)


8 Kristina Sloggett January 30, 2013 at 10:32 am

the San Marzanos are good, yes. I love my tomatoes, but can definitely feel it if I eat too many. :(


9 Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies January 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

This sounds very tasty. I love using a slow cooker in the winter. Something about it always being dark out when I’m home makes me want to let the kitchen do most of the work for me.


10 Kristina Sloggett January 30, 2013 at 10:30 am

not only is it dark (and cold!), but coming home to a wonderful smelling kitchen and a nearly complete dinner? yes, please!


11 jobo January 30, 2013 at 11:23 am

I looooooove homemade sauce with fresh tomatoes!! I want to dive in and eat some right now!! And I SO can’t wait to have a house and a garden to make piles and piles of tomatoes and basil!


12 Kristina Sloggett January 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

tomato and basil are ALL I NEED in my garden. oh, well and peppers. and kale. and my paddle ball game. 😉


13 Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! January 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Oh man, I would be SO bummed if I wasn’t able to eat tons of tomatoes! One thing that I am actually really sad that I’m allergic to is beets. :( I make a damn good beet borscht, too. Damn you body!!


14 Kristina Sloggett January 31, 2013 at 6:03 am

isn’t it strange what we have intolerance to? a beet? a tomato? come ON.


15 Julie Hasson January 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Tomatoes and sauce are one of my favorites! I love the idea of using both the slow cooker, and the roasted tomatoes. The Muir Glen roasted tomatoes are the best!

I’m glad you still get to enjoy a little tomato sauce.

Thanks for sharing Kristina.]!


16 Kristina Sloggett January 31, 2013 at 6:02 am

I love the Muir Glen – that’s what is in this sauce!

happy Thursday, Julie!


17 Jess January 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

So SAD that you can’t indulge in this more often — there is nothing more comforting or homey than the smell of homemade marinara cooking on the stove — especially when it’s made from fresh from YOUR garden tomatoes. YUM.


18 Kristina Sloggett January 31, 2013 at 6:01 am

I know… I love that smell! a nice warm crusty buttery piece of bread dipped in… Oh My Heaven!


19 Kath (My Funny Little Life) January 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I love tomatoes! They are among my favorite veggies. And I especially love how they get slightly sweet when you cook them for a long time.

Why are tomatoes related to inflammation? Because they are nightshadows? And do you notice negative effects from eating tomatoes?

Anyway, I’m really in the mood to make something like this! Not to be served with pasta though, but I bet legumes or brown rice would be great as well. :)


20 Kristina Sloggett January 31, 2013 at 6:00 am

I do, unfortunately. small amounts I can do okay, but there is always even a mild reaction. peppers are my favorite (the spicy hot ones!), and that poses the biggest problem…

have you seen the dal recipe I recently shared? it’s a GOOD one you might enjoy: Cholar Dal and the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles


21 Kristina Sloggett January 31, 2013 at 6:01 am

and YES – the nightshades are all very inflammatory – tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant…


22 Allie January 31, 2013 at 11:52 am

Mmm, glad I’m not the only one who stands in her garden and eats fresh tomatoes plain. Is it the middle of summer yet?

And, oh, lentils, how my digestive system hates you, and how much my mouth and brain love you.


23 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm

ha – oh good, you do this too? I know… I cannot wait for spring – it’s my favorite – and then summer, for all the garden fresh produce!

oh, no! just lentils or other legumes too? I love lentils…


24 Hannah A. February 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Two questions, if I may: 1) I have no fire-roasted tomatoes on hand; could I sub plain, old diced, and embellish with a bit of liquid smoke? 2) I’m assuming the canned tomatoes go into the crock juice and all? And 3) Have you had any luck freezing this marinara? Some tend to separate, per more unfortunate experience.

Thank you, my thighs think you are SO GOOD to have posted this delicious-looking excuse to stuff them with more pasta. 😉


25 Kristina Sloggett February 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

hi Hannah!

sorry so late in reply – YES plain diced tomatoes will work just fine (the liquid smoke sounds like a fantastic addition!). I have not frozen this, we tend to enjoy it in recipes all week when I make it… let me know if you try? and… here’s MY honest question, is it bad if it separates while frozen? if you use it fairly quickly (within a month or two) will it not still taste good, when defrosted you can combine it all together again?

enjoy, let me know if you try freezing!



26 Hannah A. March 1, 2013 at 3:53 am

And when all is said and done, all I really need say is this:

Thank you, thank you, “I have found the [marinara] whom my soul loves.” 😉

Yes, folks, it’s THAT good. I ended up using a combination of 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes and 3 14.5 oz. cans diced with juices, which resulted in a smidgen over 8 c. heavenly marinara after 4 hrs. on low heat. I skipped the caramelization step, therefore eliminating the extra calories from the olive oil (and with them, an extra step). My onions I chopped somewhat roughly, knowing in the end I would use an immersion blender to achieve the desired consistency. For the record: 1) I do not in the least bit regret making a grocery store run solely to buy fresh basil (for present want of my own garden plot or counter top canister); and 2) I am happy to report back this sauce freezes beautifully!

Thank you again, Kristina! :)


27 Kristina Sloggett March 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm

aw, THANK YOU Hannah! :) I am so SO happy you liked this, and it’s very good to know it freezes well too! thanks for letting us know, and enjoy! XO


28 heather July 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm

What size cans do you count as “big” cans? 28 oz? I went to find some today and could only find fire roasted tomatoes in 14.5 oz cans. Just wanted to know more I start. Thanks for your help; I’m very excited to try this recipe!


29 Kristina Sloggett July 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

hi Heather, yes by big I mean 28 ounces, sorry – I will update the recipe to be more specific. so if you picked up four of those cans, you should be fine! :) enjoy!


30 heather July 12, 2013 at 10:21 am

Thanks Katie! During the summer do you have an estimate of how many roma tomatoes you use? Or pounds?

Also, do you ever blend your or keep in chunky? My first batch is cooking right now! Thanks for your help!


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