Summer Garden Vegetable Bolognese in a Slow Cooker

Whether you are enjoying the bountiful abundance of vegetables from the produce section of your grocery store, your local farmer's market, or your own garden this is a delicious way to infuse more veggies in an otherwise traditional pasta sauce.  Pasta used to be a staple in my life, and now it's a rare carbohydrate splurge. When I make this sauce I feel a lot less guilty! Plus, you can serve this sauce over spaghetti squash, zoodles (zucchini noodles), or your favorite pasta. My husband and I have even eaten this without pasta - just sprinkled with freshly grated cheese. It's that good! You can of course make this in a dutch oven on your stove but I love the idea of coming home on a Saturday or Sunday and having this waiting for you. This makes a great sauce for a large hospitality meal. You can also keep a couple of containers in your freezer for those unexpected guests!

Summer Garden Vegetable Bolognese in a Slow Cooker
3 lbs of ground beef
1 yellow squash
2 peppers (green, yellow, red, or combo)
2 zucchini
3 tomatoes
2 large portabella mushrooms
1 large onion
1/2 to whole head of garlic, depending on taste
7 oz tomato paste
1 heaping tablespoon of dried oregano
1 heaping tablespoon of dried basil
1 heaping tablespoon of salt, more to taste later
1 teaspoon of black pepper, more to taste later
fresh parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, or combo for garnish
freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano

1. Place three pounds of ground beef in the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1/2 the salt.

2. I diced the majority of veggies in no particular order starting with the yellow squash. After cutting the squash in 4 quarters I did slice out the corner edge eliminating as many seeds as possible before adding them to the slow cooker.

3. Core the peppers, slice in half, and remove the seeds. Slice the pepper into strips and add to slow cooker.

4. Add minced onion.

5.  Then add the large diced zucchini in the same manner of the yellow squash.

6. Next up the portabella mushrooms.

7. Dice the tomato, add the tomato paste, garlic, the dried herbs, the rest of the salt and pepper.

8. Set the cooker on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours. Gently stir the sauce and break up the hamburger meat as desired. Adjust seasoning as needed. Keep warm as you make your desired "pasta." Or, cool for storage in freezer.

9. Top with fresh herbs and cheese.


  1. I love this post - what a great and easy way to do this, I just love your blogposts! - Barbara LaPointe

    1. Barbara,

      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words!



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