Nanas Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

My Nanas Tomato Sauce & Meatballs (Whole 30, Keto, Paleo)

(Last Updated On: October 5, 2020)

Nanas Tomato Sauce & Meatballs

It’s Easter Sunday today, and Easter feels a little different this year. However, having my Nanas Tomato Sauce & Meatballs, makes it feel slightly more normal. Easter reminds me of getting together with family, and getting together with family reminds me of my Nanas sauce. A recipe that was then passed down to my Mom and then passed down to me. It’s such a simple recipe, with only a few ingredients. This sauce is great to make in big batches and freeze. It’s also a versatile base for so many classic Italian dishes.

nanas tomato sauce & meatballs  fresh herbs

Current Updates

The quarantine routine is starting to become my new normal. I’ve been really good about keeping an AM/PM routine, which I think helps. I start every morning with 15 minutes of yoga, my facial routine, and then write down my goals. I use the Rachel Hollis 10-10-1 method, write out my 10 dreams, then write down my weekly goals. PM routine is similar but in a different order, facial routine, goals again, then I light a candle, use some sleepy time essential oils and do a 15 Minute Yoga nighttime stretch video on youtube. While it sounds simple, this routine has seriously helped keep my sanity.

Even with quarantine starting to feel like a new normal, what still doesn’t feel normal? Easter. Easter, without seeing any family, no egg hunt with nieces and nephews, no candy, none of my favorite Easter desserts, it doesn’t seem like it’s Easter at all. However, I was happy that we got to Facetime with family today. And Even though it wasn’t the same cooking this sauce on holiday without my Mom and Nana, I was grateful that I got to speak to both of them. I’m especially grateful they are both healthy.

nanans tomato sauce & meatballs pasta spaghetti fresh herbs

Saucy Sundays!

Growing up on almost every Sunday we got together with family and had Sunday dinner. By dinner, I mean a large meal eaten around 1 or 2 PM. This dinner almost always included a tomato sauce based recipe. One week it might by moms eggplant rollatini or ziti, the next week manicotti. No matter what it was, I knew it was going to be delicious. I also knew it meant my Mom would get up super early to start the sauce. My mom would get up early cause she knew that is what makes this sauce so delicious. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn, I prefer to eat dinner at a normal time, but I digress.

Allowing the sauce to slow cook for hours, gives the flavors lots of time to simmer together. The top layer has a nice layer of oils and fats from the meat, the onion has almost disintegrated, and the flavors have become layered in a way that keeps your taste buds guessing for what’s next. Honestly though I think my real love of this recipe is what it reminds me of. This sauce reminds me of, good time with family, great childhood memories. It reminds of the people I love dearly. This sauce reminds me of why I started a food blog to being with. It is a reminder of the power that food can have across many generations.

tomato sauce in a jar crushed tomatoes onion

Tips, Recs & Subs

  • I use crushed tomatoes, but you can also use peeled tomatoes. However, you’ll need to blend at the end to get the smooth consistency of sauce. 
  • Herbs – if you don’t have fresh herbs, you can always use whatever dried herbs you have in your pantry. However, you’ll need a little more to get the same taste. 
  • I also use sausage with this recipe. I buy the pre-made uncooked Italian sausage and cook it in the oven with the meatballs, then add in with the sauce. 
  • If you are not gluten or grain free, you can use breadcrumbs as a substitute for the almond flour in this recipe. 
Nanas Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

Nanas Tomato Sauce with Meatballs and Sausage

The easiest slow cooker Italian sauce recipe you'll ever make! Comforting, simple and delicious.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Dinner, lunch, Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian


  • Crockpot or Slow Cooker


Meatballs (gluten free), Optional to add prepmade sausage

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 3 Tablespoons Almond Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Handful fresh parsley and basil (optional but highly recommend )


  • 2 Cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Medium Onion Cut in Half
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 2 Cloves Garlic chopped finely



  • Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients (I usually do this by hand with gloves on) Roll into small balls about 1.5-2" in diameter, transfer to a baking sheet.
  • Add Sausage to sheet (optional) and Bake for 25 minutes. Transfer to sauce. It's ok if they are not fully cooked, they will finish while in the sauce.


  • Add all ingredients plus salt and pepper to slow cooker, set to low for 6 hours. Stir occasionally, making sure to be careful of the meatballs.
  • When all finished, remove the onion, add more salt, pepper if needed. Serve over pasta of choice. Leftovers of the sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container or class storage. Simply thaw, reheat and add over freshly cooked pasta.
Keyword Meatballs, Sauce, Sausage, Tomato Sauce

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