There are not many meals I can think of that capture the essence of a traditional family comfort food dish more than Spaghetti and Meatballs. Simple, delicious and filling…what more can you ask for?! Except some days you would like it to be a little less filling. Especially now, during the summer when wearing that swimsuit is more critical than comfort food. But with Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatball Soup you can have all the taste and all the comfort in a lightened up version!
This is another recipe that is great as a make ahead meal. You can make the meatballs in advance and then freeze them. Then when you are ready to make the soup it is a matter of just adding a few ingredients to the slow cooker and away you go! Perfect for busy mornings!
I used ground turkey because I wanted something nice and lean that would cook well in the crock all day and not make the soup greasy (because…yuck!). If you would rather use beef make sure it’s very lean ground beef. The meatballs are simple and they turn out very tender! You can make them big like I did (larger than golf balls and I made 9 meatballs. I know odd number but that’s how it came out!). Or you could make them tiny and bite sized.
The key here is to make sure you use your very favoritist spaghetti sauce! (Yes, I know. It’s not a real word.) Do you make it homemade? Then yum! Do you have a favorite jarred version? I do! I use the Ragu Light Tomato Basil in lots of recipes! (They don’t pay me for that…I just really love it!). To me it had the perfect flavors in this recipe but you should give it your own stamp with the sauce you really love.
When it’s close to dinner time you will crank up the crock to high heat and toss in your broken up spaghetti noodles. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes and your meal is done! Serve it up with a fresh green salad and some crusty bread for a perfect lightened up version of spaghetti and meatballs. Yum!
- For the meatballs:
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 egg
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian season blend (I used McCormick's Tucscan Seasoning)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For the soup:
- 24 oz jar (or 3 cups) pasta sauce
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3-4 oz dried spaghetti noodles broken into 1 or 2 inch pieces, for later
- In a medium bowl add all meatball ingredients and work with hands until combined
- Form into meatballs, large or bite sized whatever you would prefer
- If you are making this for later then place the meatballs on a wax lined cookie sheet and place in freezer for an hour until they are firm and then move to a large ziploc bag and freeze until ready for use
- Otherwise place meatballs (frozen or not) in crock
- Carefully add pasta sauce, broth and seasoning
- Don't stir as you don't want to break up the meatballs
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4
- Turn the crock on high and add spaghetti noodles
- Let cook for 30 minutes until noodles are done
Do you love make ahead freezer meals?? Then be sure to check out Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings: