Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Vegetable Marinara Sauce W/ Kidney Beans [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 7-8 hrs
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, colander, blender, slow cooker, large spoon

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt, sugars and fats!  

What better way to start the week, fight the cold weather and help keep your healthy lifestyle in check than with a delicious, Free From & simple pasta sauce!

We’d like to think that our sauce is suitable for any dinner guest (well, excluding anyone that might be allergic to vegetables! Sorry Emma!) and love that it’s really effortless to prepare! With minimal prep and the use of a slow cooker, you’ll have a delicious marinara sauce that is not only vegan and gluten free, but one that contains over six types of veggies…but we are willing to bet that your kids will never be the wiser! 

Our veggies and herbs are chopped, diced and blended before slow cooking into a great depth of flavours; we even threw in some added kidney beans for some added texture, carbohydrate, protein and soluble fibre! Keep the veggies seasonal, fresh, frozen or just some of your absolute favourites! If you’re not a fan of kidney beans, we’d recommend using some pinto, black or butter beans instead. 🙂

A few good things to note include:

  • If you prefer a slightly thicker sauce, just whisk through a ‘corn flour slurry’ at the end of cooking until your desired thickness is achieved.
  • If you’d prefer a chunkier sauce, just omit the ‘blender step’!
  • We added a spoonful of sweetener. This is optional, but as tinned tomatoes tend to have a slightly bitter taste, we’d recommend it. However, if you’re using fresh/ripe tomatoes instead of our basic tinned ones, you probably won’t need it!
  • If you don’t have a blender, you can always use a high-powered food processor instead.

If you fancy some further pasta sauce (or pasta meal) inspiration, check our some of our precious tomato-based sauces including: our Soya & Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognese, ‘5 Minute Thrifty Marinara Sauce’, Home-made Marinara (as featured with our Red Kidney Bean & Quinoa Meatballs!) and one included in our delicious  Vegan & Gluten Free Lasagne w/a Tofu & Spinach Filling!


Quick Foodie Fact:

  • Per serving, this sauce contains about 4.5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day! What an easy way to incorporate a variety of veggies into your diet! 


 Happy cooking and buona cena everyone! 😀



+++++++3              Garlic Cloves (fat ones!)
+++++++200g       Red Onion
+++++++160g        Red Bell Pepper
+++++++200g       Carrot
+++++++25g          Fresh Basil
+++++++480g       Cooked Red Kidney Beans (2 tins/no added salt or 250g dried/cooked)
+++++++4              Tins Plum Tomatoes (no added salt/ 1.6kg)
+++++++40g          Sun-Dried Tomato Puree
+++++++30ml        Balsamic Glaze
+++++++30ml        Lemon Juice
+++++++30ml        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++1-2 tbsp   Fruit Sweetener (*optional)
+++++++½ tsp        Asafoetida (or onion powder)
+++++++½-¾ tsp   Salt
+++++++                 Ground Black Pepper
+++++++160g         Frozen Spinach, defrosted (about 7 cubes)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂



  • Peel the garlic. Peel and quarter the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Wash, trim the ends, peel and then quarter the carrot. Wash and then roughly chop the basil. If applicable, drain and wash the kidney beans in a colander.
  • Place the garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrot, basil, 1 tin of tomatoes, 40g sun-dried tomato puree, 2 tbsp balsamic glaze, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp asafoetida, ½ tsp salt (or to taste) and a few grind of black pepper into a blender. Tip: If your blender is large enough, add all of the tinned tomatoes during this step! Blend until puréed. Transfer the mixture into a slow cooker.
  • If applicable, open and place the remaining tinned tomatoes into the blender. Blend until smooth.Transfer into the slow cooker. Mix until thoroughly combined. Taste and season the sauce as necessary. Add the cooked kidney beans. Stir through. Cover with a lid. Cook for 7-8 hrs on a low-heat setting.
  • About 30 mins before the end of cooking, carefully dice some frozen spinach into smaller chunks. Add the spinach into the slow cooker. Stir through. Alternatively, dice and steam the spinach, and then stir it through the sauce at the end of cooking. Taste and season the sauce as necessary.


Serve warm. Ladle the sauce over your favourite pasta with additional veggies or a small multi-grain roll (if desired). If preferred, garnish the sauce with a few marinated olives, basil or oregano leaves and/or a spoonful of nutritional yeast!



Refrigerate any leftover sauce in an air-tight and resealable container; gently reheat over a medium-low heat (do not allow it to boil) and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively store and freeze in one or several container(s) and then just simply defrost and reheat; best consumed within 1-2 months of freezing.

15 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Vegetable Marinara Sauce W/ Kidney Beans [Vegan & Gluten Free]

      1. It sounds so delicious! Can’t wait to try it. I’m loving my sc! Mostly making soups and beans, right now my ideas far outnumber my trials! It is the only way I’ll cook dry beans now 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Larice, let us know if you do! Haha, this is normally the case! Before you know it Spring will be on our door steps and we’ll be up to our eyeballs in soup! Yes, it’s great for beans; we need to start freezing some too. We look forward to see what you come up with next! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Silvia! We’re so glad that you like it! We enjoy slow cooker recipes because you can cook something in the background and they produce a great depth of flavour. 😀 Yes of course! You could cook this sauce on the stove top instead. We would probably gently fry the garlic, onion, bell pepper and carrot in a pot first, seasoning them at this stage. Afterwards you can combine everything (apart from the basil and spinach). Bring to a boil and then cook and simmer for 20-30mins or until the tomatoes have broken down and hopefully the flavours have melded together; add the spinach and basil during the last 5 mins of cooking. Leave it to cool slightly before serving. Just make sure to taste and season it as necessary once you have finished cooking; then blend or serve the sauce as is. Hope this helps! ~Lynn & Alex 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s