Italian Marinara with Meatballs

My sweet friend, Lindsay Pineda, shared this recipe with me and I'm so glad she did! Lindsay told me this is an authentic Italian dish that her family has made for year and she wanted to share the recipe so I could try it out! 

When I first read the ingredients, I was nervous that all the fresh herbs would be too overwhelming, especially adding in the Taste of Italy essential oil, but it was perfectly balanced!! This was really easy to make and the fact that you make it in a crock pot made my afternoon less hectic!! I threw the marinara sauce ingredients in the crock pot, mixed up my meatball ingredients, browned them and put them in the crock pot for 5 hours. I made my gluten free spaghetti noodles 20 minutes before the sauce and meatballs were scheduled to be done and we were ready to eat!!

This recipe can be made gluten free if you use gluten free noodles and gluten free breadcrumbs.  Oh and by the way...the Young Living Essential Oil is optional but really makes a difference in the taste. Here are the ingredients in this oil:

Basil leaf oil, Oregano (Origanum vulgare)† aerial parts oil, Oregano (Origanum minutiflorum)† aerial parts oil, Oregano (Origanum onites)† aerial parts oil, Oregano (Origanum majorana)† aerial parts oil.

If you need to know where to order this oil, email me at [email protected] and I'll hook you up.

Enjoy this one! It's a repeater for sure!!

Marinara Sauce: 


  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 can tomato paste 
  • 2 bunches fresh basil (you will take this out at the end so they need to be whole bunches) 
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh oregano (you will take this out at the end so they need to be whole sprigs) 
  • ¼ c. reduced fat parmesan cheese (fresh grated)
  • 1 tsp each – garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 2 drops Taste of Italy Young Living Essential Oil (optional) 

  • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, stir together. Turn crock pot on low heat. 



NOTE: This makes a lot but, it’s easy in the slow cooker

  • 3 pounds ground turkey (Jennie-O, 93/7 fat) 
  • 1 ½ pounds (1 package) turkey sausage (hot or sweet- I buy Jennie-O) 
  • ½ c. panko bread crumbs (I use Gluten Free Panko Bread Crumbs)
  • ½ c. reduced fat parmesan cheese (fresh grated)
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3 drops Taste of Italy Young Living Essential Oil (optional) 
  • 1 tsp each – garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • Fresh basil & oregano – as much as you want, cut or torn into small pieces 


Combine all ingredients and roll into small balls. Add 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and brown the outsides of the meatballs before putting them into the slow cooker (If you don’t do this step, they will fall apart in the sauce). 

Add them to slow cooker after they’ve been browned (note – the sauce will not cover them; this is okay, it will by the end of the cooking process), put the lid on and cook on low for 4-5 hours. 

When you remove the meatballs from the sauce at the end, do so with a slotted spoon to catch the basil and oregano leaves/stems to remove them from the sauce. 

Serve over your favorite noodles and add fresh parmesan on top!


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