Fresh Tomato Sauce

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August 27, 2013 | Issue 467

Summer Tomato Sauce

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Transform those summer-fresh tomatoes into a savory sauce that works with everything from pasta to casserole. Tomatoes are packed with vitamins A, C and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help protect against prostate cancer. Onions, garlic and fresh herbs balance out the sweet flavor of plum tomatoes. Once made, the sauce keeps in the fridge for up to a week so you can use it in more than one dish.

Makes 6 servings.

Per 1/2 cup serving: 75 calories, 3 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 12 g carbohydrate,
2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 19 mg sodium.

Note: Using ripe tomatoes is important. Supermarket ones usually require sitting at room temperature for 5 to 10 days to turn really red. They make a more chunky and drier sauce than local tomatoes in season because they are less juicy.

  • 3 lbs. plum tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp. dried
    1/2 tsp. sugar, optional
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, or 1 tsp. dried
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Cut thin slice off top of tomatoes. Peel tomatoes, using either serrated swivel-blade vegetable peeler or hot water method. For this method, drop 2-3 tomatoes at a time into large pot of boiling water until their skins crack, 1-2 minutes. Immediately transfer tomatoes to bowl of ice water. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, use your fingers to pull off skin. Halve tomatoes lengthwise and use your thumb to push out seeds, then your fingers to remove pulpy ribs. Chop tomatoes and set aside; there will be 6-7 cups.
  2. In large, heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion starts to color, 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano and stir well. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Taste sauce, adding sugar if it is too acidic. Mix in basil and cook until tomatoes have broken down to your taste, 10-15 minutes for chunky sauce, 12-15 minutes for pulpier one.

Grocery list

Plum tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

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Did You Know?

Cooking tomatoes for a few minutes releases a form of lycopene that is more easily absorbed by our cells than the lycopene found in raw tomatoes.

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