Prep 25 mins
Cook 4 hrs
The secret is pumpkin. Yes, you heard that right, sweet delicious pureed pumpkin! This is a great recipe to cook if you have finicky eaters that don't want to eat healthy. I created this for my husband who actually happens to love pumpkin. Great for cooking in a crockpot and leaving for 8-10 hours to cook. Easy, healthy and rich in nutrients. Great novelty item to serve at Thanksgiving.
- 2 (14 ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
- 1⁄4 cup margarine or 1⁄4 cup butter
- 3 -4 lbs ground beef
- 1 onion, diced finely
- 1 teaspoon fennel
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
- Mix tomatoes, pumpkin and butter in bottom of crockpot. Turn crockpot onto low with lid off.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together in a mixing bowl and form large 1-2 inch meatballs.
- After forming each meatball, place on top of sauce in crockpot. Will eventually have a pyramid of meatballs.
- Cover crockpot and leave to cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.
- I like to drain a little of the fat after 3 hours of cooking.
- Serve over your favorite pasta or rice mix. Thick enough to serve alone as main course.
- Feel free to try different variations of your favorite herbs such as Italian seasoning, etc. The flavor from the meatballs will seep into the sauce.
- Thick enough to make meatball sandwiches.
Had this yesterday (a Sunday, I love the slow cooker for Sundays!) served over rice with broccoli and a salad for sides. I was looking for a way to use up some canned pumpkin, and although I was a little hesitant when I saw this recipe, it smelled and turned out great. I really liked the texture and flavor of the sauce. I would not add the sugar as FurryLoo suggested. We liked it as is. The meatball part of the recipe comes out to about 3 "medium-smallish" meatballs per person if you are going by the suggested 12 servings. I was OK with just 3 meatballs, but if I was having guests or using this for meatball sandwiches I would probably make a little extra.
I halved the recipe (kept the spice amounts in the meatballs the same though). I also lightened the recipe a bit by using only 1 T of olive oil and using half beef and half turkey. Still needed to have some of the extra fat skimmed off the top. The sauce is very interesting, and I liked that it was less acidic than the usual all tomato sauce. The meatballs had a nice flavor to them. Cooked just fine in 4.5 hours on high in a crockpot.
This smelled wonderful while cooking. I used frozen premade meatballs and cooked them in the sauce on the stove. The sauce was very thick and rich. Went well over noodles. The 5 year old thought the meatballs were great. My S.O. thought it was Ok, adult daughter didnt care for them and I liked them.