Rich Tomato Sauce

An absolute basic yet classic recipe. This rich tomato sauce is simple to make and has so many flavour variations it is sure to become a staple in your kitchen.

Basic Rich tomato sauce

This tomato sauce will work as a foundation for so many dishes. It is amazingly versatile and allows you to add a whole heap of different flavours to it. However, even in its simplest form of just tomatoes, it is rich, balanced and delicious served with pasta, meat and fish or reduced down to a pizza sauce.

This rich tomato sauce is also ideal as a pizza topping if you like to make your own homemade pizzas. All you have to do is simply leave the lid off and simmer for longer, around 30 to 40 minutes until it has reduced and thickened.

vegetarian pizza with homemade rich tomato sauce on a serving board garnished with rocket
Vegetarian pizza with homemade rich tomato sauce

The benefits of a homemade sauce

I am a big advocate for homemade options. The main reason for this is I know exactly what is going into my food. This is particularly important for helping to manage my daughter’s type 1 diabetes. Making sauces from scratch allows me to be more accurate with my carb counting and I hope I can show you that it still can be convenient it just requires a little extra time.

This rich tomato sauce is:

  • refined sugar-free
  • gluten and dairy-free
  • suitable for vegetarians and vegans
  • doesn’t have any hidden nasties
  • takes 5 minutes to prepare
  • is full of flavour and
  • can quite easily be batch-cooked for freezing

Recipe Variations and Uses

As I mentioned this rich tomato sauce is so versatile and you can add any sort of additional flavours to make it the perfect foundation for your dishes. Here are some other flavour variations you could try:

  • Add any fresh or frozen herb
  • Add extra vegetables such as peppers, courgettes or aubergines
  • Add spices such as paprika, curry powder or cumin to name a few
  • Add a spice paste such as chipotle or harissa
  • Add some pesto – I sometimes like to add a sundried tomato pesto

I use this rich tomato sauce as a great base for lots of other recipes. Here are some other recipes that use this sauce as its foundation:

How else to use your rich tomato sauce:

  • Stir into cooked pasta and sprinkle with cheese for the perfect easy pasta meal
  • Add to cooked rice to make a delicious tomatoey rice dish
  • Use as a red sauce in a Lasagne
  • Add to roasted vegetables for a delicious side
  • Enjoy as a simple soup with some crusty bread

What you will need to make a rich tomato sauce

rich tomato sauce in a saucepan
  • Tinned tomatoes
    • When heated they release more antioxidants.
    • They are a brilliant source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits
    • Also a great source of vitamin C and K
  • Onions
    • Bring an essential flavour and gentle sweetness
    • Frozen chopped onions work brilliantly in this sauce as well
  • Garlic
    • You can’t have a tomato sauce without this core flavour
    • Again I sometimes use frozen in this recipe
  • Balsamic vinegar
    • Made from unfermented grape juice
    • Adds sweetness to offset the tartness of the tomatoes

What Equipment will you need?

Aside from a saucepan you really only need a hand blender or food processor to make this sauce. My preference is to use a hand blender as it’s less washing up and you can easily blitz away straight in the pan.

Now I have been through a few hand blenders and I am not convinced you have to spend a lot of money on them. I had one I bought from Sainsbury’s for under £10 which lasted me years. However, I did decide to upgrade recently as the main nozzle was made from plastic and stained really easily.

Therefore my top tip is to choose one that has a stainless steel nozzle. I got my recent hand blender from the Lidl middle aisle and I think was only around £15 and it’s great. I found one that is a bit more price wise but comes with some extra bits on amazon, Silvercrest Hand Blender.


How to make tomato sauce

This really is very easy to make but just needs a little time to let the heat works its magic to make this deliciously rich and tasty.

Firstly you will need to sweat the chopped onion in a good glug of olive oil on a low heat for around 5 to 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Once slightly golden and soft, pour in the tinned tomatoes along with the balsamic vinegar. I add a little extra water as I like to rinse the can to make sure I get every last bit of tomato juice from my tins. Mix and then pop the lid on and simmer on a gentle heat for 20 minutes.

Finally Using a hand blender, blitz until you reach the desired sauce consistency. If you want a more rustic sauce then reduce your blitzing time.

Make sure to season well and taste to get the sauce right for your palate


How to store your tomato sauce

If I’m not using my sauce straight away then I will store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days and use it as I need it.

Otherwise, if you prefer to batch cook then this sauce can also be frozen. If I am doing this then I like to pour the sauce into resealable freezer bags as they take up less room in the freezer. It will happily keep for up 3 to 4 months this way.

Diabetes Note

Whilst there is a little added sugar in balsamic vinegar, we have found that as the quantity is so small per serving we have not needed to count for this. However, that is totally a personal choice and you know best what to carb count for.

 Rich Tomato Sauce

Rich Tomato Sauce

A classic rich tomato sauce that is simple to make and is sure to become a staple recipe

Recipe by Michelle
5 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Total time

35

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tins tomatoes

  • 1 glug olive or rapeseed oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

  • Sweat the chopped onion in a good glug of olive oil on a low heat for around 5 to 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes
  • Pour in the tinned tomatoes along with the balsamic vinegar. I add a little extra water as I like to rinse the can to make sure I get every last bit of tomato juice from my tins.
    Mix well and pop the lid on and simmer on a gentle heat for 20 minutes.
  • Using a hand blender, blitz until you reach the desired sauce consistency.
  • Season well and taste to get it right for your palate

Equipment

  • Heavy-Based Saucepan
  • Hand blender

Tips and Notes

  • If you are making this sauce as a pizza topping, keep the lid off in step 2 so that the sauce reduces and thickens
  • Vary your blitzing time, less for a more rustic sauce or longer for a thicker, smoother sauce
  • Diabetes Note – there is a little added sugar in balsamic vinegar, we have found that as the quantity is so small per serving we have not needed to count for this. However, that is totally a personal choice.

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