Tired of dinner decisions? Enjoy a 14 day trial to our meal plan service, voted #1 by Lifehacker, and reduce your mental load today.

Slow Cooker (or not) Sunday Sauce with Pasta
and Italian house salad

Active: 45 Total: 585

Sunday Sauce is an Italian-style tomato sauce that is slow-cooked and served with pasta. It gets its name because many families with Italian roots traditionally made it on Sundays using any meat that was leftover from earlier in the week. Our version uses chuck roast, which breaks down and turns tender during the long cook time.
Smarts: Make a double batch of Sunday sauce tonight to use leftovers in Wednesday's meal.
Cooking methods: This recipe includes instructions for using the slow cooker or oven. Select your preferred method. 

Tags

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
Sunday Sauce (for 2 nights):
  • Carrots - 8 oz, diced
  • Garlic - 5 cloves, chopped
  • Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
  • Beef, boneless chuck roast - 2 lbs, enough for 2 nights
  • Tomatoes, whole peeled (28 oz / 795 g) - 1 can
  • Tomato sauce or puree (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can
  • Oregano, dried - 1 Tbsp
  • Thyme, dried - 2 tsp
  • Wine, red - 1/2 cup (sub stock)
  • Vinegar, balsamic - 1 Tbsp
  • Tomato paste - 1 Tbsp (opt)
  • Cheese, parmesan (opt) - for serving, grated
Pasta:
  • Pasta, any type - 8 oz
Italian House Salad:
  • Cucumbers - 8 oz, cubed
  • Tomatoes, cherry or grape - 1 cup, halved
  • Olives, black (4 oz / 114 g) - 1 can, drained
  • Vinegar, red or white wine - 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
  • Oil, olive - 3 Tbsp
  • Mixed greens - 5 oz (sub any salad greens)

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Just a moment...
% Daily Value
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...

Increase your nutrition smarts

Choose Cooking Method

Prep

  1. Carrots / Garlic - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Sear roast - Heat cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add beef and sear on both sides until golden brown, seasoning generously with some salt and pepper as it cooks. This should take 5 to 6 minutes per side. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)

  3. Slow cook roast - Pour whole tomatoes (including liquid) into the bowl of a slow cooker. Use your hands to crush the whole tomatoes so that no large pieces remain. Add tomato sauce, carrots, garlic, oregano, thyme, and red wine. Top with seared roast, nestling it down inside the liquid. Slow cook until beef is very tender and falling apart, on low for 9 to 10 hours or high for 5 to 6 hours.

  4. Cucumbers / Tomatoes / Black olives - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

Unlock this meal along with hundreds of smart meal plans and never stress about "What's for dinner?" again

Try for free
Learn More

Make

  1. Bring a large stock pot of salted water (for the pasta) to boil. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions.

  2. Meanwhile, use two forks to shred beef in the slow cooker. Stir in balsamic vinegar and tomato paste. Taste and season with some salt and pepper. Leave sauce on the warm setting until ready to serve.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together red or white wine vinegar and mustard. Add olive oil while whisking. Top vinaigrette with cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, and mixed greens. Wait to toss salad until right before serving.

  4. Drain pasta and spread out on a serving platter.

  5. Divide sauce in half. Spread half over pasta (for tonight). Reserve the second half for Wednesday’s meal.

  6. Top pasta and sauce with some parmesan cheese (if using). Enjoy salad on the side.

Prep

  1. Carrots / Garlic - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating first.) Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Cucumbers / Tomatoes / Black olives - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

Unlock this meal along with hundreds of smart meal plans and never stress about "What's for dinner?" again

Try for free
Learn More

Make

  1. Heat oven to 275F / 135C.

  2. Heat cooking oil in an oven-safe Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and sear on both sides until golden brown, seasoning generously with some salt and pepper as it cooks. This should take 5 to 6 minutes per side. Set beef aside.

  3. If the pot looks dry, add some more oil and then add carrots and garlic. Saute until carrots are nearly tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in oregano and thyme until fragrant, ~1 minute.

  4. Pour liquid from the cans of tomatoes into the pot and then, using your hands, crush the whole tomatoes as you add them. Add tomato sauce and red wine. Bring to a simmer. Return beef to the pan, nestling it in the sauce. Cover with a lid and transfer to heated oven. Roast, covered, until meat is very tender and falling apart, 3 to 3 ½ hours.

  5. When sauce is nearly finished cooking, bring a large stock pot of salted water (for the pasta) to boil. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions.

  6. Meanwhile, use two forks to shred beef in the pot. Stir in balsamic vinegar and tomato paste. Taste and season with some salt and pepper. Cover sauce to keep warm until ready to serve.

  7. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together red or white wine vinegar and mustard. Add olive oil while whisking. Top vinaigrette with cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, and mixed greens. Wait to toss salad until right before serving.

  8. Drain pasta and spread out on a serving platter.

  9. Divide sauce in half. Spread half over pasta (for tonight). Reserve the second half for Wednesday’s meal.

  10. Top pasta and sauce with some parmesan cheese (if using). Enjoy salad on the side.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Just a moment...
% Daily Value
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...

Increase your nutrition smarts


Reviews

Ratings

Original (50)
Gluten-free (4)
Paleo (4)
Vegetarian (13)

Most Helpful

I loved this- it was so good and a great cold night meal! I used a whole small can of tomato paste after reading reviews that it was thin and also added a tablespoon of sugar to the sauce.

By: Rebecca
Posted: Nov 10, 2021
Diet: Original
1 Helpful

39 reviews

I really enjoyed this! Didn't quite have enough lentils and had to mix in red ones (which thickened it up nicely); it was so tasty. A satisfying meal for several chilly nights.

By: Angela
Posted: Nov 18, 2021
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

I made this from what I had in the pantry, so we skipped the salad. I also skipped tomato paste as I didn't have any (!). Forgot to brown the meat as I put this together in the AM before leaving for work. In the end, it all came together well. I still prefer italian sausage as the meat, but this turned out delicious. I'm adding it to my "pantry staples" collection.

By: Angela
Posted: Nov 18, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Made mine in the Insta pot and was surprised that the beef wasn’t as tender as I expected but it was certainly juicy. The recipe made tons and tons of sauce and was very flavorful.

By: Jane
Posted: Nov 18, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

I cooked it for about 9 hours the day before serving. It shedded really well and was a great consistency when served. The only thing different I did was use Italian petite diced tomatoes instead of puree.

By: Barbie
Posted: Nov 17, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Other reviewers mentioned using the whole can of tomato paste and cooking the lentils ahead of time. I did both those things and am glad I did. Sauce was a good consistency and the lentils were a good texture. (Cooked them ahead of time and then still let them sit in the sauce and simmer per the directions) Overall, we were happy with this recipe. Everyone ate everything and the sauce was delicious! (I did increase the spices and garlic by 50% because I always do...)

By: Jennifer
Posted: Nov 17, 2021
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

I liked and simple enough to make but didn’t blow me away. I used ground beef that I had instead of roast and the sauce felt kind of oily.

By: Theresa
Posted: Nov 16, 2021
Diet: Paleo
0 Helpful