Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers in Tomato Sauce
Crockpot Sausage, Peppers, and Onions in a homemade tomato sauce that's easy to make and full of flavor. An easy meal to feed a crowd.
This healthy Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers in Tomato Sauce is the perfect Italian Meal and with only 215 calories per serving, it's a meal you can feel good about.
A couple of weeks ago, the local beach fire pits opened up for the season and we had the best beach picnic with friends. We were in charge of dessert, I brought a blueberry pie, and they were in charge of dinner and brought the most amazing spicy Italian sausages. Since we were cooking over an open fire pit, we weren't able to make the traditional sausage and peppers. Instead, they brought spaghetti sauce and cheese and we couldn't have been happier. Since then I have been thinking of this meal and how to recreate a healthier version at home.
After seeing some slow cooker sausage and peppers recipes, I decided that was the best way to create a super flavorful sauce without having to stand by the stove all day. Although I love turkey sausage, sometimes it isn't quite as flavorful as its high-fat counterpart, so this cooking method adds lots of flavor. By letting the sausage cook right in the sauce, all the delicious flavors of the sausage are released into the sauce. At the same time, the sausage soaks up all that delicious tomato flavor. This combination gives you a truly delicious sauce without needing a higher fat option.
Piled high on a roll with melted cheese, served over pasta or polenta, or lightened up on a bed of spaghetti squash - it's a meal you will make over and over again.
Recipe Ideas and Tips
- Leave the sausage whole and make Italian style Sausage sandwiches. Bonus points for melted cheese on top.
- For a shortcut option, simply use a jar of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce.
- Make it Arrabiata style with extra red pepper flakes and spicy Italian sausage.
- Add some greens with chopped kale or stir in some spinach before serving.
- Make sure to use raw sausages versus the precooked version. You want all the delicious spices and seasoning in the sausage to flavor the tomato sauce as it cooks.
- If you prefer ground sausage, simply brown it before adding it to the slow cooker.
- For extra flavor, saute the onions, peppers, and garlic before adding it to the crockpot. This deepens the flavors and gives the sauce more depth.
- This works with almost any type of sausage. I like using raw chicken or turkey sausage since it is lighter but you could also use pork sausage.
What to Serve with Crockpot Sausage and Peppers
Although pasta is likely your first thought, there are many different options for this dish. Here are some we use often:
- This dish is amazing with some creamy polenta or even polenta fries. The sweetness of the corn pairs really well with the tomatoes and herbs.
- Instead of traditional pasta, choose a vegetable option like zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Grab some roasted vegetables and orzo to serve on the side.
- Grab a roll and some mozzarella cheese and make sandwiches. For a lower carb option, serve them open-faced on a portobello mushroom bun.
- This works great with quinoa, brown rice, farro, or cauliflower rice as well.
- Another delicious option is serving it on a bed of mashed butternut squash or mashed cauliflower. The cauliflower soaks up all the flavor in the sauce.
Can I freeze Sausage and Peppers?
This meal freezes great and can be kept in the freezer for 3-4 months. Make sure to let the sauce fully cool before freezing. Also, consider freezing it in a bag for easier storage. Defrost overnight in the fridge or gently in a pan or microwave. If you plan on freezing individual portions, consider slicing the sausage before freezing.
Does this work with precooked sausage?
Technically this recipe will work with precooked sausage by the sauce won't have nearly as much flavor. When the sausage cooks in the sauce, it releases spices and flavors into the sauce. If you decide to use precooked sausage, add them during the last 30 minutes of cooking and pump up the spices in the sauce.
Can I use jarred spaghetti sauce?
Absolutely! This crockpot sausage and peppers will come out delicious with a store bought sauce. Just make sure to choose one that has a really nice flavor, like Rao's. If you go with a storebought sauce, you can cut back on the garlic and spices, depending on the type of sauce you choose.
Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers in Tomato Sauce
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- 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 8 lean Italian turkey sausage (sweet or hot)
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
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- Nutritional Information
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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