Easy Tomato Sauce – Capture The Taste of Summer
It’s been a good year for tomatoes here in the UK. If you have more than you know what to do with, try making this easy tomato sauce. It captures the taste of summer beautifully and can be squirrelled away to remind us of warmer days when the nights draw in. If you’ve never made tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes before, this recipe is a good place to start. It takes a little time to cook, but the preparation is easy.
September is one of my favourite months. I may already have mentioned this. The days are still warm and light and the end-of-summer harvest is in full swing. Tomatoes are cheap and plentiful, chillies are ripening and herbs are still abundant. This is the first year for a long time we’ve been able to grow tomatoes. So exciting. And what a year it’s been. As well as our own salad tomatoes, CT has been bringing home bucket loads of cooking tomatoes from work. They’ve been fantastic. Purple Calabash and Brad’s Black Heart are my particular favourites.
Between us, we’ve grown everything in this recipe apart from the salt and tamari. If you grow your own, it’s easy to make this sauce entirely organic, as ours is. I expect that’s why the soil association hold their annual #OrganicSeptember campaign in September.
Easy Tomato Sauce
What makes this tomato sauce so easy? Using a blender right at the beginning of the process. Yes you still have to peel the onions and garlic and wash the tomatoes and herbs, but you don’t have to worry about peeling the tomatoes. I don’t have either the time or inclination for such niceties and I’m sure I’m not the only one. There’s no fine slicing required either. Just bung everything into a blender and blitz until smooth. Then it’s just a case of cooking it down until the sauce is rich and flavoursome and has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Easy peasy.
It’s best to use ripe tomatoes, but don’t worry if they’ve gone over a bit; as long as they aren’t rotten, they’re good to go. In fact this easy tomato sauce is a great way of using up squishy tomatoes.
Sugar is often added to tomato sauce as it can sometimes be a bit sour, but that’s really not necessary here. The sauce gets naturally sweeter as it cooks and reduces. I like to add a dash of tamari which helps to bring out the tomatoes’ natural umami flavours, but this is entirely optional. Tamari is a high quality gluten-free form of soy sauce and it’s the only one I use.
Recipes In Which This Easy Tomato Sauce Can Be Used
The beauty of this easy tomato sauce is that it’s very versatile. You can use it as it is with pasta or on a pizza or add it to to rice or other grain dishes. It’s good for flavouring soups and stews or you can use it as a base to add all sorts of other ingredients. It could easily be used to replace the tomato sauce in any of the following Tin and Thyme recipes:
- Courgette sweetcorn fritters with chilli tomato sauce
- Green veggie meatballs in tomato sauce
- Kefir kale pancakes
- Miso marinated tofu with My Pasta’s Last Stand
- Romanesco pasta with lemon & garlic
- Stuffed red peppers in tomato sauce
- Squash, walnut and goat’s cheese pizza
- Vegan rice bowl with maple tofu and smoked tomato sauce
5 Ways to Tweak This Easy Tomato Sauce
Experiencing a glut of tomatoes? Found a large pallet at a reduced price at your local market? Only have half a kilo of tomatoes? You can easily adjust the quantities to suit the number of tomatoes you have. This recipe is more of a guide than an exact measure of ingredients needed. Just make sure you have a big enough pan available if going for more than the quantity stated in this recipe.
2. Green Herbs
Fresh green herbs are also a great way to capture that taste of summer. We’ve grown masses of basil this year. Unlike me, it really enjoyed the heat. It’s highly recommended for this easy tomato sauce as there’s nothing quite like basil for summer scent and flavour. But you can add whatever herbs you particularly like or have to hand. I added thyme and marjoram, both of which we have in the garden.
3. Red Chillies
Use any red chilli of your choice, depending on how hot you like your sauce. Although I’m a bit of a chilli head, I used a small medium hot chilli we’ve been growing this year. You can always add more heat, but it’s hard to take it away. This easy tomato sauce should be versatile enough that it can be used in whatever recipe is desired, so just a hint of heat is a safer bet. Likewise, to seed or not to seed the chilli is your choice. The seeds are generally where most of the heat is stashed. Don’t like chilli or have family members who can’t tolerate it? Just leave it out. The sauce will still be delicious.
Don’t have a good blender? You could use a food processor to make a chunkier version of this sauce or even chop it all finely by hand. Since acquiring my first high speed blender, I’ve not had to think twice about making this type of sauce. It’s the blender that makes it so easy; there’s no need for excessive chopping. I used my optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender*, but any of the Froothie blenders I’ve used would do a fine job on this.
5. Different Flavour Profile
If you’d prefer to have a spicier Asian flavour to this easy tomato sauce rather than the Italian one I’ve given it, just ditch the green herbs and add your favourite spices instead. Cumin is always good with tomatoes I find and cinnamon works nicely too.
Easy Tomato Sauce – The Recipe
This easy tomato sauce uses fresh seasonal tomatoes to produce a rich and delicious addition to your pantry which can be used throughout the winter months.
- 2-3 onions - peeled
- 1 garlic bulb - cloves separated out and peeled
- 2 ½ kilos of ripe tomatoes - washed
- 1 red chilli
- 1 large handful of basil leaves - washed
- 6 thyme sprigs - hard stems removed optional
- 6 sprigs of marjoram or oregano - hard stems removed optional
- 1 tsp sea salt
- dash of tamari optional
- Roughly chop the onions and throw into a good blender. Add the garlic cloves, chilli and herbs.
- Depending on size, you may need to roughly chop the tomatoes. Add them to the blender and blitz until you have a smooth (ish) consistency.
- Pour into a large lidded pan. Add the salt and tamari, if using. Cover and bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer gently for ten minutes.
Take the lid off the pan, turn the heat up so that the sauce continues to bubble. Let it cook down until reduced by half when it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 hour. Stir occasionally so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then pour into sterilised glass jars if keeping in the fridge, or suitable containers if freezing.
Allow the sauce to cool before putting the lids on.
Will keep in the fridge for a good three months and in the freezer for at least six.
If making this quantity of sauce, you'll need to blend in 2-3 batches.
Don’t Miss Out
If you make this easy tomato sauce, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. A photo would be good too. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
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