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

Active: 45 Total: 484

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
  • Stock, any type - 1/2 cup
  • Vinegar, balsamic - 1 Tbsp
  • Tomato paste - 1 Tbsp (opt)
Zucchini Noodles:
  • Zucchini - 1 lb, spiralized, sliced into ribbons, or cubed
  • Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
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

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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 stock. 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)

  5. Zucchini -  Turn zucchini into 'noodles' with a spiralizer, peel off strips with a peeler, or slice into cubes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

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Make

  1. When beef is done cooking, 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.

  2. Heat a nonstick pan with olive oil (portion for zucchini noodles) over medium heat. Add zucchini with a sprinkle of salt. Saute until zucchini is tender, ~2 minutes for zucchini noodles and 4 minutes for cubed zucchini. 

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

  4. Divide zucchini noodles between serving plates. Top with sauce (remember to reserve half the sauce for Wednesday's meal). 

  5. Enjoy zucchini noodles and sauce with 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)

  3. Zucchini -  Turn zucchini into 'noodles' with a spiralizer, peel off strips with a peeler, or slice into cubes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

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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 stock. 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 beef is done cooking, 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.

  6. Heat a nonstick pan with olive oil (portion for zucchini noodles) over medium heat. Add zucchini with a sprinkle of salt. Saute until zucchini is tender, ~2 minutes for zucchini noodles and 4 minutes for cubed zucchini. 

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

  8. Divide zucchini noodles between serving plates. Top with sauce (remember to reserve half the sauce for Wednesday's meal). 

  9. Enjoy zucchini noodles and sauce with salad on the side. 

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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Reviews

Ratings

Original (57)
Gluten-free (4)
Paleo (4)
Vegetarian (14)

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

42 reviews

Very good!

By: Kimberly
Posted: Jan 16, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Husband and I thought this was delicious, and it was super easy. Kids prefer spaghetti with meat sauce.

By: Emily
Posted: Dec 10, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Made with chuck roast for fam dinner everyone enjoyed & grandparents had sauce next day as sandwiches.

By: Jessie
Posted: Dec 05, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

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