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 135 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 2 Blue WW Freestyle SmartPoints, and 2 Green.

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 tips

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 for 4 hours or on LOW heat for 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 tastes 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 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

WW Freestyle SmartPoints
WW SmartPoints

SKINNY FACTS: for ¾ cup serving of meat sauce
135 cal, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 25mg chol, 15g prot, 16g carbs, 4g fiber, 468mg sod, 5g sugar
FACTS: for Freestyle Points
86 calories, 1g sat. fat, 12g protein, 3g sugar

If you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Leave me a comment below or give it a rating. Thanks so much. Happy Skinny Cooking!