Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs and Tomato Stew

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Mention to an Italian child that you’ll be serving polpettine for lunch, and chances are, he will respond with an excited hurray! Yes, this is a dish that will please every kid you know. Most of us know “polpettine” as meatballs, in English. We dunk them in tomato sauce and mix them with spaghetti.

But you can also serve this family favorite the way it is prepared in Italy, paired with a simple dish of sautèed peas. A tip: these two ingredients pair perfectly together. In this recipe, two worlds collide as we cook them in the traditional fashion for the first half of the recipe, and simmer them in the slow cooker for the second half. The result is a fantastic dish! Mix it up with your spaghetti, or serve it as a main course with a side dish of your choosing.

Our choice to mix ground beef with ground chicken or turkey gives you that traditional meatball flavor you love, but with reduced fat and calories. And peas, with scores of phytonutrients, are a healthy addition to this classic dish. Dig into this healthy entree and enjoy traditional flavors in a healthy way!

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs and Tomato Stew

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs and Tomato Stew

Yield: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1-1/2 cups including meatballs/ 1/6 of recipe | Calories: 347 | Total Fat: 19 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 87 mg | Sodium: 220 mg | Carbohydrates: 22 g | Dietary Fiber: 3 g | Sugars: 5 g | Protein: 21 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 11


  • 1 pound lean ground beef, optional turkey
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (23-24 ounce) jar Italian marinara
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped


  1. In a large bowl, combine meat, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Shape mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
  2. Place meatballs in the slow cooker.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine marinara ingredients and pour over meatballs. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until meatballs are cooked through.

Here are more amazing Slow Cooker recipes to choose from:

Slow Cooker Cranberry Poached Pears

Slow Cooker Halibut Stew

German Schnitzel, Slow Cooker Style

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

Slow Cooker – Spicy Three Bean Turkey Chili

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