Beefy Slow-Cooker Meatballs with Wilted Arugula

Ahhh, the magical slow cooker. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook during the winter. Usually on the weekends in the middle of winter, I’m pretty unmotivated to do anything but watch movies under blankets. And what’s better than spending just a few minutes making a meal and then smelling the wonderful scents of it cooking all day while you’re watching said movies? It really makes you look forward to dinner. 

These beefy slow cooker meatballs not only smell divine while they’re cooking, they taste divine when you finally get to eat them. The addition of arugula takes these traditional meatballs to a new level and is enhanced by the extra peppery taste only arugula can offer. These are a perfect winter meal when paired with pasta, served on a baguette as a meatball sandwich, or all alone. 


⅓ c. seasoned breadcrumbs

⅓ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp. basil

1 egg 

1 lb ground beef

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper


1 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 c. arugula

Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly with clean hands. Form meatballs in your hands and set aside on a tray.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the garlic, onions, and oil into the slow cooker. Then, add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and red pepper sauce into the slow cooker. Finally, gently place the meatballs into the sauce.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4-5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drop arugula into the slow cooker and allow the leaves to wilt for 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite type of pasta, on a sandwich, or alone as an appetizer. 

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