Tender vegetables and hearty beef; Healthy Meat Sauce with Vegetables will please even the pickiest eaters! Make this crockpot meal now or make it as a freezer meal recipe!
Is there anything better than walking into your home to the smell of spaghetti meat sauce? Even better when it's simmering in the slow cooker, just waiting to be served.
This recipe is easy, is loved by the entire family, and is a meat sauce stocked with healthy vegetables that almost go undetected. Oh, and did I mention you can make it ahead of time and freeze it?!?!
It's the perfect kind of meal for us busy moms!
When you think of meat sauce, you probably think of a stick to your ribs, gonna need a nap kind of meat. And believe me, as much as I love a hearty meal, this healthy meat sauce has vegetables in it to lighten things up a big and make it just a tad healthier.
I love making this meat sauce in the summertime because fresh vegetables are abundant and I can enjoy them now AND later! My healthy meat sauce is like a garden in your slow cooker - onions, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes and some simple spices bring this easy dinner together.
Your family will get a meal they love, and you'll feel like a meal making ninja for serving vegetables.
It's a win-win!
Is spaghetti and meat sauce good for you?
Sure, why not? I mean, I never claim to be a dietician, but unlike meat only spaghetti sauce, this is loaded up with healthy veggies.
For example, when you use zucchini in this meat sauce, you're adding Vitamin A and also antioxidants. Cooked tomatoes also add a dose of antioxidants, protein and fiber.
I won't bore you by going down the entire list, but if you're gonna make a pasta meal, why not make it a meat sauce with the vegetables in it, right?
What kind of pasta should I use for meat sauce with vegetables
I prefer to serve this healthy meat sauce over penne pasta or rotini, but if you want to serve spaghetti, I say go for it!
Life is too short to get bogged down by pasta decisions!
Or, you can make this recipe low carb by serving over zucchini noodles or cooked spaghetti squash!
I recommend a little sprinkle - okay, a big sprinkle - of grated parmesan cheese, too. Yum!
Oh, and there is no shame in my field meal making game. For those of you who've been following along, you KNOW part of my job is feeding farmers in the field.
So if this photo, or any others for that matter, look like they might've been taken in the trunk of the suburban....YOU ARE CORRECT!!!
No shame in this mamas meal making game...Follow along, grasshopper, I will teach you my crazy ways.
Can I freeze meat sauce with vegetables?
For sure! That's just one of the reasons I love this healthy meat sauce with vegetables!
I like to make a double batch for dinner and freeze one for later. Or, when gardens are bursting with fresh vegetables, make several batches and enjoy "fresh" veggies for months!
For busy mamas, there's nothing more awesome than having meal prep consist of opening the freezer to a healthy, made ahead meal!
I have easy instructions below to help you out and as always, comment with any questions and I WILL get back to you!!
Healthy Meat Sauce with Vegetables
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ large onion chopped
- 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1 zucchini diced
- 16 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Brown ground beef in a skillet until cooked through and no longer pink. Drain fat.
MAKE IT NOW
- Place ground beef and all remaining ingredients into slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
MAKE IT A FREEZER MEAL
- Place cooked ground beef and all remaining ingredients in a gallon sized freezer bag. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible and freeze. Label your bag.
HOW TO COOK AS A FREEZER MEAL
- Place bag in refrigerator 12-24 hours to thaw. Add contents to slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
- Add whatever garden vegetables you have - bell peppers, eggplant, carrots or broccoli all work nice.
- Use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Make in your Instant Pot or on your stove top
Want more freezer meal recipes?
- Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
- Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs with Pineapple
- The Best Sloppy Joes
- Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup