The last time my mother in law visited she brought with her a huge sack of tomatoes from her garden. They were delicious!
There is just no comparing home grown tomatoes to store bought ones. There just isn’t.
That week happened to be a really busy week. We had a lot going on. My step-daughter started middle school this year! Say it isn’t so! It was hard enough living through middle school the first time.
I didn’t want to let the tomatoes go to waste, even though we were so busy; so I decided to make a batch of tomato sauce.
And Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce is what I came up with. I chose the slow cooker because it was a pretty hectic week and I wanted to be able to walk away while the slow cooker did its thing.
And I have to say…it turned out pretty amazing.
This Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce is a great way to use up your harvest of tomatoes from the garden.
Part 1: Prepare the Tomatoes
First things first, prepare the tomatoes for slow cooking. If they are homegrown or organic tomatoes you can just cut out the core. If they are store bought tomatoes you will want to also blanch the tomatoes to remove the peels before cooking in the slow cooker.
I also chose to quarter the tomatoes. This makes it a little easier to smash them with the potato masher later on.
Part 2: Add the Garlic and Onion
Next, Chop up the onion and garlic into small pieces and add to the slow-cooker.
Now, combine the following ingredients together in a bowl – olive oil, sugar, tomato paste, pepper balsamic vinegar, a bay leaf, and fish sauce. Whisk these ingredients together.
Why fish sauce?
If you are feeling courageous, consider adding the fish sauce. I highly recommend it. After reading this article in Cooking Light a few months ago I have started using it frequently and don’t regret it.
It doesn’t make your food taste like fish at all, it just heightens others flavors in the recipe.
We found ours at a local Oriental Food Market, but you can also find it online.
Part 3: Add Ingredients to Slow Cooker
Now, drop 1 to 2 drops of Oregano essential oil into slow-cooker.
Next, add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6. I did try once to speed this up on high because I was short on time. And while it was still really good, it is amazing when it is cooked slow and low.
Using Oregano Essential Oil
I used Oregano essential oil because in my mind it would disperse a little better than dried oregano. And quite frankly, I just wanted to experiment with essential oils. Oregano essential oil is very powerful, so you do have to be careful about not using too much. For this recipe, I did use two drops, but it was okay because of a large amount of tomatoes. For a smaller recipe, I would start with a toothpick worth and possible increase that up to one drop.
If you are not comfortable using essential oils in your cooking –
1 drop of oregano essential oil = 1 to 2 Tablespoons of dried oregano
1 drop of oregano essential oil = 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh oregano
Want to learn more about essential oils? Check out my post 3 Easy Ways to Use Essential Oils.
Part 4: Combine with Potato Masher
At the two hour mark, open up the slow-cooker and stir the ingredients. If the tomatoes are still looking whole, use a potato masher to squish them.
I use a potato masher that looks something like this –
Part 5a: Add Ground Beef or Italian Sausage (Optional)
At this two hour mark…
If I am making it for a meal that same day, I add a pound of browned ground beef for spaghetti or mild Italian sausage for lasagna.
This is an optional step for people who prefer a vegetarian sauce.
Cook for an additional four hours, for a total of 6 hours.
Part 5b: Freeze or Add Ground Beef or Italian Sausage (Optional)
If I am making this ahead of time for another meal, I will cook it for the full six hours.
Then, I will let it cool. And then freeze in freezer safe containers for future meals.
I hope you enjoy! If you have any questions let me know.