Spicy Vegetarian Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

This is another delicious vegetarian slow cooker recipe that I can make in bulk and freeze – though I don’t think it’s going to last me as long as my bean and vegetable chili! This is spicy and just the right consistency; the suggestion for ridged noodles to help scoop up the sauce is a great one. I call my version ‘spicy’ vegetarian spaghetti sauce, but the slow cooker helps mellow out the taste considerably.

Spicy Vegetarian Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce over noodles

it tastes as good as it looks

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours
Storage Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours from cutting board to freezer shelf

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped thinly
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
  • 8 oz. can of pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • 3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained; I used preseasoned varieties – 1 “italian herbs” & 1 “basil & garlic”
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar

Preparation:

  • Cook onions and garlic in oil in large nonstick pan over medium heat. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender. If you’re allergic to onions (like I am), this is a good time to take out any if you think maybe it’s “too much.”
  • Add carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, jalapeno, olives, and bell pepper. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
  • Place vegetables into bottom of 6-7 quart slow cooker.
  • Add remaining ingredients into the slow cooker. I took a few minutes to spread the sauces evenly over the vegetables; the added step of mixing everything together before layering them over seems unnecessary, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Cook:

  • Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  • Uncover, stir thoroughly, then leave cover off and turn heat to high. Cook, uncovered, for 1 more hour to thicken sauce.

Storage:

  • At this point the sauce can be frozen. Divide into smaller portions and cool in refrigerator. Wrap, label, and freeze the sauce up to 3 months.
  • To thaw and reheat, thaw sauce overnight in refrigerator. Pour into skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 15-20 minutes or until sauce bubbles and is thoroughly heated.
mostly eaten spaghetti in a delicious sauce

you’re going to enjoy it as much as I did!

I took the original of this recipe off about.com’s “Busy Cook” section, but I made several changes to the original recipe to make it more to my tastes. I added a jalapeno pepper, tons of olives, a fresh tomato, and a little bit more canned sauce to the recipe, calling for a slightly larger crock pot size. The original can be found here: Vegetarian Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce.

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the slow cooker bean & vegetable chili

Mmmmm….I used my slow cooker for the first time this weekend. On the menu – a bean and vegetable chili!

I’ve been trying to eat a lot more meatless dishes lately; it’s part of my campaign of self-improvement: learning to cook and eating better. My food choices are improving, but I still have a preference for beef over chicken or fish! I love all the bad things in life, it seems 🙂

Beans are a filling alternative to meat that doesn’t have an odd name to tweak my food OCD (quinoa? QUINOA??), so I snapped up a bunch of dried beans the other day. I would have gone with canned, but from my experience, fresh foods way outrank canned foods – and cost less, as well! I’m not sure what all these varieties I’ve purchased are, but I’m going to research – and hey, I could always make a 3 bean salad.

I meant to have the chili finished by Saturday evening, but I didn’t realize that cooking beans was such a time-consuming process. When I woke Saturday morning, I goofed off until 1 or so, and then read how to cook beans (the chili recipe only said “cook beans according to package instructions”). Oops. And so then I soaked the beans for four hours, and simmered them for 90 minutes.

Preparing the vegetables to sautee, I watched many youtube videos on “how to mince garlic” and “how to chop bell pepper.” By the time it asked me for dice potatoes, I shook my head, did something more similar to mincing, and threw them in the pan.

Mincing rather than dicing wasn’t the only change I made to the recipe. Because I like my food spicy, I added a jalapeno pepper to the vegetables, and also threw in an 1/8th teaspoon of my favorite “ghost pepper” sauce – that is just slightly more than I will use in a normal dish, but considering this was going into a large crockpot, I assumed that it would spread out.

a sauce pan with tomatoes, potatoes, red bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, and garlic in it

the final prep step before I put everything in the slow cooker – I needed a bigger pan! I did a lot of stirring and turning over

I woke up this morning and immediately tasted my creation. Success! It was very well flavored – except – well. It wasn’t bland, for sure, but there was no hint of spiciness whatsoever in my chili. I grabbed the bottle of ghost pepper sauce, filled a teaspoon, threw it in, and stirred. I’m assuming the results are going to be much more spicy than before – maybe too spicy for some, but that is what sides like cole slaw and cornbread are for.

conclusion
I have a lot of chili! I’m definitely glad for my freezer bags – tonight, I’ll be dishing this out and stacking it in the freezer for those days when I simply don’t feel like cooking. I’m looking for more recipes like that, so if you have any “frozen dinner” recipes, please share!

I think next time, I’ll definitely add more chili powder and other assorted spices. It had a full taste, but I wanted bolder flavors. Any suggestions as to what I could add? Is one jalapeno enough, or should I add 2? I picked up a habenero bbq sauce (another local production) the other day that I think would add a delicious flavor to this – but I think I’d want it to be in a chili with meat.

Read on for the bean & begetable slow cooker recipe