Do you use your slow cooker a lot over the summer? I have big plans to use my slow cooker at least once a week this summer. As I have mentioned before, our house (especially the kitchen!) heats up pretty good during the day in warm weather and since we don’t have air-conditioning on that floor, turning on the oven only exacerbates the situation and raises the temperature significantly.
This Slow Cooker Sausage and Vegetable Ratatouille is ridiculously easy, loaded with vegetables, dairy free, paleo and can be served alongside a simple side salad, over cauliflower rice, regular rice or even some zucchini noodles!
This is the fourth time I’ve made it and I’ve tried a couple of different combinations of vegetables (this is my favorite by far!) and types of sausage. If you wind up with leftovers, this freezes great and make a perfect at-work lunch!
- I used Trader Joe’s Arrabiata Sauce. You can use any jarred pasta sauce (or homemade) that you like, just look for one that doesn’t have additives, preservatives or a ton of sugar.
- I have made this with mild sausage, spicy sausage and even chicken sausage. The spicy pork sausage was by far the best and my families favorite. If you don’t eat pork and want to use either chicken or turkey sausage, I highly recommend you use a spicy sausage. The end result of this dish will not be super spicy since the vegetables are so water-rich and the spices in the sausage really help add another layer of flavor to the dish.
- I used a 6.5 Quart Slow Cooker.
- In regards to the cooking time, I have found this is best cooked on high for 4 hours. I have tried it on low and you can cook set the slow cooker for 8 hours while at work or out but you will need to put it on high for at least 1 to 1.5 hours before serving it.
- If you are making this while on a Whole30, be sure to use a Sugar-Free sauce!
- 1 pound uncooked, crumbled spicy Italian sausage (not in casings) (see NOTES)
- 1 large red bell pepper, ribs removed and cut into 1" squares
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 pound zucchini, trimmed and cut into ¼" half moons
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 25-ounce jar pasta sauce (see NOTES)
- pinch kosher salt
- fresh basil (or parsley) for serving
- Slice bell pepper in half and remove ribs and seeds. Cut into 1" squares.
- Trim ends off of eggplant and cut into 1" cubes (leave skin on).
- Trim ends off of zucchini and cut into ¼" half moons (leave skin on).
- Peel onion, quarter and thinly slice.
- Finally, use a garlic press to crush the garlic or finely chop.
- Crumble sausage into slow cooker, taking care to break up any large pieces. Toss in bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic, pasta sauce and pinch of salt. Toss until well combined.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. See NOTES above for alternate cooking instructions.
- Serve topped with fresh chopped basil (or parsley) and Enjoy!