Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Broccoli Rabe Recipe

How To Make Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Broccoli Rabe

Take 5 minutes to prep these slow cooker beef meatballs. They’re made with blanched broccoli rabe, cheese, and milk-soaked bread cooked in tomatoes.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 5 minutes



For the Meatballs:

  • 20ozbroccoli rabe,(1 bunch), washed, stems trimmed off
  • 1cupfresh whole wheat bread,(about 1¾ oz), unpacked, crusts removed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3tbspfat free milk
  • 1lb93% lean ground beef
  • ½cupgrated Pecorino Rromano cheese
  • 1large egg,beaten
  • 2clovesgarlic,crushed
  • ½tspkosher salt
  • ¼tspfresh black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 1tspolive oil
  • 3clovesgarlic,smashed
  • 28ozcrushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1bay leaf
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then add the broccoli rabe. Blanch for about 1½ to 2 minutes, drain well, and set aside in a colander to cool.

  2. Finely chop ¾ cup of the florets and leaves (3¾ ounces) and set the rest aside for another use.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the bread with milk, tossing to coat. Let stand for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally until bread is completely moist.

  4. Squeeze bread between fingers or mash with a spoon to make sure there are no dry spots. If there are dry spots, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the bread is moist throughout.

  5. Add the ground beef, chopped broccoli rabe, grated cheese, egg, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.

  6. Mix with clean hands, then gently form into 15 meatballs, about ¼ cup each, and transfer to a large baking sheet.

  7. Broil on the 2nd rack from the top for about 8 to 10 minutes until the top is golden.

  8. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook until golden on both sides.

  9. Pour the crushed tomatoes into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add salt and pepper, bay leaf, and garlic.

  10. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce, cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours or High for 2 to 3 hours.


  • Calories: 421.79kcal
  • Fat: 25.94g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.11g
  • Trans Fat: 1.23g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 10.35g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.48g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.25g
  • Fiber: 7.19g
  • Sugar: 8.46g
  • Protein: 28.26g
  • Cholesterol: 115.26mg
  • Sodium: 957.95mg
  • Calcium: 337.20mg
  • Potassium: 1031.09mg
  • Iron: 6.97mg
  • Vitamin A: 233.79µg
  • Vitamin C: 38.60mg
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