Easy “Homemade” Tomato Sauce

April 27, 2011


I love a good marinara sauce- one that’s slightly sweet and tangy with a pop of oregano and bright red tomatoes. I love nurturing it for hours as the tomatoes cook down on the stove top and the kitchen becomes fragrant and alive with the aroma of garlic and spice. Good homemade tomato sauce is hard to beat.

But let’s be real. There are rarely enough hours in the day to slave away over a hot stove in order to create the perfect sauce. Thus, we often turn to marinara of the premade (ready to be heated in 2 min flat) variety- jarred, canned, sugary sweet or over-salted, microwavable, overpriced, and typically not that great.  Yikes.

So I offer you, my dear readers, a “quick and dirty” tomato sauce recipe that can be made in a pinch any night of the week. Because, let’s face it, sometimes you just plain run out of the premade stuff. If all you’ve got to rub together is a can of diced tomatoes and a few dried spices, this recipe is for you.


On another note, does anyone else have difficulty opening cans? I struggle every. single. time. I get halfway around the rim and then lose my grip somehow and then I have to call over my fiancé who comes to my rescue with his handy Swiss Army Knife (of the Boy Scout variety and no I’m not kidding). And you don’t even want to hear about the time I tried to pry open the jagged, metal lid with my bare hands. Cringe inducing outcome.

Now, let’s move on to the sauce!

Ingredients: (about 4 servings, takes about 30 min from start to finish)

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes (feel free to use the pre-seasoned kind)

1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce

1/4 cup water

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions: Heat the oil and garlic on the stovetop on medium heat for about 2 min, until the garlic becomes fragrant.


Next, add the tomatoes and sauce to the pot.


Then stir in the spices.


Next, add the water, red pepper flakes, salt, and sugar. Cover with a good fitting lid and bring to a quick boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.

The sauce should thicken up like so.


Now I’m shamelessly admiring my new Le Creuset pot. Isn’t she just lovely? And our very first wedding present (thanks, Mom!).


Once the sauce has thickened up a bit, taste it to be sure the seasoning is just right. If it’s too thick for your liking, thin it out with a splash of water.

Serve and enjoy.


Admire your hard working cookware and relish that you didn’t slave for hours over a hot stove!

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  2. Fire Roasted Tomato Soup with Crispy Chickpeas
  3. Stew of Eggplant, Tomato, Onions, and Fennel
  4. Easy Skillet Lasagna with Mushrooms and Basil
  5. Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce


Jim June 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Nice Recipe,

I just read an article about growing my own tomatoes and now I know what I will make with them :)



Cassie April 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Mmmm, I looove homemade tomato sauce!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 28, 2011 at 7:05 am

That tomato sauce looks wonderful! The color says it all.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 28, 2011 at 7:48 am

Thanks, Lauren!

Krissy @ Shiawase Life April 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Yum! But you need a better can opener!! ;)

I love mine…it’s a kitchen aid one that matches the stand mixer and is dummy proof (perfect for me!!!)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 28, 2011 at 7:49 am

You are so right! Though mine is a Kitchen Aid…I get the feeling it’s operator error. Sigh.

Meredith April 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm

i think your second wedding present should be a can opener. too bad the lbg easter bunny got ya’ll something else. dang, if only she’d have known!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

LOL! I think I’m beyond all hope.

Aparna E. April 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

Great, easy recipe! My sweetie and I did that one night when we wanted pasta at the last minute. Except we made ours spicy into an arrabiata sauce: http://notaleaf.com/2010/01/06/aparnabiata-sauce/

I was impressed! It turned out pretty well, even though it was a ton of ingredients. Yours sounds much simpler. I’ll have to try it. Thanks for sharing! :)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

Ooh, sounds great! Thanks for including the link!

Aparna E. April 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm

No problem! It makes a lot though. I’m horrible at making things in small servings or portions :(

Lara @ six times the yum April 27, 2011 at 8:32 am

What a great “staple” recipe. Make it once (maybe double or triple the recipe) and use it multiple times! And I love that it’s quick and easy. :)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

Thanks, Laura! You could definitely make a larger batch and freeze this sauce for later use. I love using it in meals like lasagne and baked spaghetti. :)

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