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32nd Place
35 Votes

Slow Cooker Summer Pasta Sauce with Fresh Basil

Serves: 4 | Time to prepare: 20 minutes

Summer has some of the year’s most beautiful produce. Heirloom tomatoes in green, orange, yellow and, of course, red sparkle on the farmer’s tables along with lavender eggplants. This sauce takes full advantage of the season and freezes great so you can bring a bit of sunlight to your dark winter days.

For the fresh tomatoes it’s best to use Italian since they are meatier and not as juicy. If you use regular tomatoes seed them or be prepared to cook your sauce down longer than 8 hours. You can also seed the Italian ones to make a thicker sauce.


  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced (about 1/2 a medium onion)
  • 1/2 cup sweet or bell pepper, minced (about 1/2 a medium bell pepper)
  • 2 cups eggplant, diced
  • 2 1/5 to 3 cups diced fresh Italian tomatoes (of any color)
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • fresh ground pepper and salt to taste


1)The night before: Chop the veggies. Heat the oil and sauté the onion and pepper until translucent. Store the onion mixture and together with the diced tomatoes and eggplant in the same covered bowl in the fridge overnight.
2)In the morning: Combine all the ingredients (except for fresh basil) in your slow cooker and cook all day on low (or 4 hours on high). Season to taste with salt, pepper then stir in the chopped fresh basil. Serve over pasta. (Whole wheat angel hair is my favorite.)
3)You can also purée the sauce with an immersion blender for really picky eaters or for an extra thick sauce.
4)You can freeze the leftovers for another meal later in the month. (Or make extra pasta and use the leftover for lunches instead.)