Slow Cooker Marinara Recipe Is Missing Something

A loyal Simple Daily Recipes' friend has put out the call for cooking help.  Geek Bearing Gifts, that's our friend's handle,  emailed the following recipe into SDR.  I would love to see us, not just me, help Geek Bearing Gifts solve for the missing ingredient(s) in the Slow Cooker Marinara recipe.

Read on and I'll meet you in the Comments section.

Hey, Jill!

Your Meaty Red Sauce inspired me to ask for help. I have been trying to develop a recipe for a spicy (meatless) marinara/spaghetti sauce using canned tomato products, and I just can't get it right. My favorite jarred/canned sauces are Prego original, and Trader Joe's Tuscano Marinara. The best-tasting version I've made is not even close to either one, and is definitely missing something (not bay leaf--my experimentation has shown me I don't care for it.) Any suggestions from you and your readers would be greatly appreciated--thanks in advance for the help!

I'm including my current version below. It's based on a Hunt's recipe I found on their site ( ) I love their idea for making it in the crock pot because it doesn't pop all over the stove (or me) and I don't have to keep running into the kitchen and stirring it.

Slow Cooker Marinara

  • 1 large Onion, chopped or 1/3 cup dehydrated
  • 6 cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 4 (14-15 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes, with liquid, or 2 (28-32 oz) cans whole tomatoes, pulsed in food processor till chunky
  • 1 (15-16) oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 (6 oz) cans Tomato Paste
  • 2 tablespoons dried Basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried Parsley Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Salt

Combine ingredients in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low six hours.

Yields approximately 2½ quarts or about 12-14 servings