Crock-Pot Skinny Meat Sauce (Gluten-free)



This homemade sauce is fantastic…I know you’re going to LOVE it!!! The sauce is slow simmered to create a luxuriously rich flavor. It makes 8 servings and freezes great. I like this sauce over zucchini noodles, as shown in the photo. It’s so versatile, you can serve it over gluten free noodles, steamed spaghetti squash, broccoli slaw, a medley of steamed vegetables or stuffed in a baked potato. And if you’re not gluten free, it’s perfect over whole grain spaghetti. Each ¾ cup serving has only 145 calories, 3 grams of fat and 4 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS.

Prep Time: 20 minutes (including browning beef)

Cook Time: 4 hours on HIGH heat or 8 hours on LOW heat


2 cups chopped onion

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

1 pound extra lean ground beef or ground turkey, see shopping tip

¼ cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ + ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, in tomato puree

1 cup tomato sauce (from a can), for gluten-free use one such as Del Monte or Contadina

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Zucchini pasta, optional

Parmesan cheese, grated for topping, optional


1. Add ground beef to a large nonstick pan. Cook beef until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove beef from pan and pour into a colander in the sink to drain the fat. Blot beef with paper towels. Place beef in crock-pot and add all the remaining sauce ingredients up to oregano. Mix well.  Cover and cook on HIGH heat 4 hours or on LOW heat 8 hours.

2. My skinny facts and Weight Watchers points are just for the meat sauce. This sauce is gluten free. To keep gluten free, serve over steamed zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, broccoli slaw, steamed veggies, gluten free pasta or stuffed into a baked potato. If you’re not on a gluten free diet, this sauce taste terrific over whole grain pasta.

3. To make zucchini noodles: Use a  julienne peeler, mandoline or vegetable spiral, see shopping tips below. Place zucchini noodles in a large bowl and cook in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes, until soft. Drain liquid. To serve: Add 1-1½ cups cooked zucchini noodles to each plate. Top with ¾ cup sauce. Top each with 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

Makes 8 servings of meat sauce total. Each serving ¾ cup sauce

Shopping Tips

Happily most supermarkets sell lean ground beef. I used the 96% lean ground beef from Trader Joe’s.

You’ll find many brands of spiral slicers to create zucchini noodles on both on and Here are two I like. Both are really easy to use. sells the Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer.
Amazon sells both the Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer and
Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer


Weight Watchers
(old points) 2
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 4

SKINNY FACTS: for ¾ cup serving of meat sauce
145 cal, 3g fat, 0mg chol, 15g prot, 16g carbs, 4g fiber, 468mg sod, 4g sugar
FAT FACTS: the skinny and fat facts are the same for this recipe

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30 Responses to “Crock-Pot Skinny Meat Sauce (Gluten-free)”

  1. Platter Talk Says:

    Thanks for another fantastic recipe, Nancy. Being a crock-pot one makes it even more appealing!

  2. Janette@culinaryginger Says:

    I love whole wheat pasta, to me it tastes better and is better for you. I also love zucchini pasta too. Great recipe.

  3. admin Says:

    I’m with you Janette!

  4. admin Says:

    Dan, it’s the first time I created a meat sauce for the crock-pot and now I’m hooked.

  5. Aunt Bee Says:

    I am so happy to have another slow cooker recipe that my family will love. My daughter and I will eat this over spaghetti squash! (We LOVE spaghetti squash!)

  6. Katerina Says:

    This is a staple in our home and I love the way you prepared it Nancy!

  7. bodynsoil Says:

    I’ve never long cooked a sauce without meat in it.. This recipe looks good, I’ll give it a try soon.

  8. admin Says:

    The meat is browned first in a pan but then it’s slow cooked in the crock pot.

  9. admin Says:

    Thanks Katerina. After years of cooking on the stove top, I love making this sauce in the crock=pot!

  10. admin Says:

    I love spaghetti squash too Brandi. I hope you both enjoy it!

  11. Easy Dinner Recipes | Skip To My Lou Says:

    […] Crock Pot Skinny Meat Sauce by Skinny Kitchen […]

  12. admin Says:

    Cindy thank you so much for including my skinny meat sauce recipe. All the recipes look so yummy!
    With my very best wishes,

  13. Kristine Says:

    Can you tell me if the cooking time is correct? 4 hours on HIGH and then another 8 hours on LOW? Thank you for all your delicious recipes!

  14. admin Says:

    Sorry for the confusion Kristine. It’s either 4 hours on high heat OR 8 hours on low heat. I just fixed it in the recipe. Enjoy!

  15. 2014 Healthy Meal Plan: WEEK 37 | Half Size Me Says:

    […] Crock Pot Skinny Meat Sauce (4 PP per serving from Skinny Kitchen) […]

  16. admin Says:

    Thanks for including one of my very favorite sauces this week Heather!!!
    My best,

  17. Mickie Gibbs Says:

    I did this on the stovetop tonight (the crockpot was in use), and it was delish! Family loved it. Will do slow cooker next time. Family had it over whole wheat pasta; I used spaghetti squash. Can’t wait still it sits overnight and gets even yummier. I doubled the recipe and will freeze some for a quick dinner one night.

  18. admin Says:

    I love your feedback Mickie! I’m thrilled this recipe worked for you and your family. 🙂

  19. vegetarianmamma (Cindy) Says:

    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays Party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂 I can’t wait to see what you share next time!

  20. admin Says:

    Thanks for the wonderful gluten free link party Cindy.
    All the best,

  21. Natalie Says:

    This recipe looks great! Can I slow cook it on LOW for 10 hours or is that too long?

  22. admin Says:

    Natalie, I think 8 hours is best on low heat not 10.
    My best,

  23. Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish Says:

    Another simple, hearty and healthy recipe, Nancy! Love it!

  24. Rena mcDaniel Says:

    I’ve been looking for a good sauce! Looks delicious! Pinned and shared!

  25. peter @feedyoursoultoo Says:

    Nancy, this looks great. We always use ground turkey or chicken to make are ragu healthier too.

  26. Catherine Says:

    Dear Nancy, what a marvelous meal…I love the zucchini noodles. I have been wanting to try that for a while…sounds wonderful! xo, Catherine

  27. admin Says:

    I love zucchini noodles too Catherine. They’re so versatile.
    Hope you enjoy this!

  28. admin Says:

    Thanks Peter!
    I like to use ground turkey or extra lean ground beef for my sauce.

  29. admin Says:

    I think you’ll love this one Rena. Thanks for pinning!

  30. admin Says:

    Thanks Suzy! 🙂

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