Basic Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce recipe is a staple in my fridge and freezer. It's a life saver when you need a quick meal and saves so much food prep time. It forms the base of a variety of sauces and recipes that I use, many of which I will share with you soon. And yes, you could just use a store bought jar of sauce if you wanted to, but believe me batch cooking this sauce and keeping it on hand is SO worth it. 

It has no extra additives or preservatives and is much lower in salt and sugar than many store bought jars of sauce. It will also cost you much less than a store bought jar and give you way more sauce. It's so quick to make, will last for up to 10 days in your fridge and 3 months in your freezer. You may even want to double the recipe and batch freeze it into portions for those nights when you need a quick supper. Having this as a base upon which to build a meal is so easy. I will share many recipes with you where I use this basic tomato sauce as the basic starting point for a quick delicious and wholesome meal.

For convenience you can use good quality tinned Italian tomatoes but if you have a lot of fresh tomatoes, remove the skin and use those. Or if you have a few too many ripe tomatoes (don't allow them to waste) mix those in when you add the tinned tomatoes.

Basic Tomato Sauce

  • 1 x 700g bottle of Passata 
  • 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes (whole or chopped) 
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T honey (or use maple syrup if vegan)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 T lemon juice

- Gently fry the chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil on a medium heat until it is soft. Then add the garlic and the paprika and mix through. If you add the garlic with the onion at the beginning, it can burn and then tastes bitter, so allow the onion to cook first. Pour in the vinegars and stir. 

- Add the passata, the tomatoes, the dried oregano, salt, pepper and honey/maple syrup and stir them all to combine. Pour about a quarter cup of water into your passata bottle, give it a shake to gather what is left in the bottle and pour it into your pot. Keep the bottle (see below)

- Allow the mixture to come up to a boil stirring regularly, then cover the pot with a lid at an angle to allow steam to escape, turn down the heat and gently simmer very slowly for about half an hour. Do not put it on a high heat as you don't want it to burn or boil away and become bitter. You just want the flavours to become rich

- Allow the tomato sauce to cool slightly. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and then using a stick blender blitz the sauce to a smooth consistency. Allow it to cool completely and decant into sterilised bottles for the fridge or freezer proof containers if you are batch freezing. 

A note on herbs: I used dried oregano as fresh herbs would shorten the shelf life of your sauce in the fridge. It's best to add extra fresh herbs if you want to, on the day of using the sauce.

RE-USE & RE-CYCLE: Wash out your passata bottles and keep them to decant the sauce into for the fridge. These bottles are also great for other sauces and dressing and even ice-teas or flavoured waters so wash them, sterilise them and re-use them.

Quick Pasta Sauces using this base:

For a quick pasta sauce use this basic tomato sauce as the base and add...

  • Fresh Herbs: I used a little dried oregano initially so that the sauce can last longer in the fridge. Now is the time to add fresh herbs. Heat up the sauce and add a handful of fresh herbs like basil, oregano, coriander, parsley or thyme. Any of these would give an added flavour to the sauce. 
  • Spinach: Heat up the sauce, add the pasta, then stir through some fresh spinach (or other veggies).
  • Mushrooms: Sauté your favourite mushrooms in a pan and once cooked add your sauce. 
  • Garlic & Chilli: Add a tablespoon of oil to a pan, when hot add the garlic and chilli and stir for about a minute, turn down the heat, then add the tomato sauce to the pan.
  • Olives: Add a tablespoon of oil to a pan, add some chopped olives stir for a minute and then add the sauce.
  • Roasted veggie: Roast your fav combo of veggies i.e. garlic, red onion wedges, butternut, sweet potato, courgette, red peppers etc. in the oven, then add them to the sauce.

Lots more recipes coming using this tomato base. Let us know in the comments if you try our sauce and do share our social media posts or website with friends who you think may enjoy them too, thanks.

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