Tomato Sauce Recipe

Easy, basic Tomato Sauce recipe

This made-from-scratch Tomato Sauce recipe uses store cupboard ingredients, can be made in under half an hour, can be kept in the fridge or frozen, and is the basis for many, many meals. It is a reduced puree of tomatoes, flavoured with onions and garlic, which can be used with pasta or in other dishes. It is the one recipe that I have made sure all my children know how to cook before they leave home as, if you have mastered it, you will always be half an hour away from a tasty and nutritious meal.

What you need to know about my Tomato Sauce recipe

This is a very easy recipe. If you have never cooked anything before, you should be able to cook this. The key ingredient in this sauce is time. Yes, time not thyme! You need to cook the onions slowly for 15 minutes to make sure that they are sweet and caramelised. Don’t skip this step. If you cook them low and slow they will have a fantastic savoury sweetness which will make your sauce particularly delicious. You need to keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t burn as this will make your sauce taste bitter. You also need to allow the full 15 minutes for the sauce to simmer uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. This will mean that the sauce thickens and the flavour intensifies. The end result should be naturally sweet but, if you wish, you could add a little sugar at the end if you feel it needs it.

This Tomato Sauce recipe uses store-cupboard ingredients which means you should always have the makings to hand and that you can make it all the year around. In late summer, when fresh tomatoes are in season, I will often use these to make sauce. It is fresh and delicious when made with good quality tomatoes. However, for the rest of the year, I used tinned tomatoes which have a great intensity of flavour. I was once told by an Italian friend that it was better to use whole tinned tomatoes rather than the chopped-up variety because the latter was where the poorer quality fruit were used. Personally, I have not found a huge difference in taste between whole and chopped tinned tomatoes.

This sauce is a very simple vegan recipe. It consists of oil, onion and tomatoes flavoured with garlic and bay leaf. However, there are lots of variations, as set out below.

Tomato Sauce variations
  • You can use butter, instead of oil, if you would like your tomato sauce to be richer. You can also add a tablespoon of double cream if you want it even richer still.
  • If you are in a hurry, you can leave out the onions, start the recipe by frying the garlic for a few minutes and follow the recipe from step 4.
  • You can add chopped celery sticks together with the onion at step 3. Celery is a brilliant ingredient for adding a depth of flavour to recipes and will add another level of taste to your sauce.
  • You can add a chopped fennel bulb together with the onion at step 3. This gives the sauce a mild aniseed flavour which is excellent if you are serving it with fish.
  • Another good variation if you are serving the sauce with fish is to add a generous pinch of saffron and a curl of orange peel (without the pith) to the sauce at step 5.
  • You can add a few anchovy fillets together with the onion at step 3. The anchovies will melt into the sauce and give an extra savoury depth of flavour to the sauce.
  • If you want a bit of heat to your sauce, you could add a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes at step 5.
  • You can add other herbs to the sauce. If you are using dried herbs, add at step 5 together with the tomatoes and bay leaf. If you are using fresh herbs, add right at the end of cooking. Basil and oregano are good options.
  • You can add a dash of wine, either red or white, at the end of cooking. This will add acidity and richness to the sauce. Two or three tablespoons is sufficient.
Uses for basic Tomato Sauce

This recipe makes approximately 1 litre (35 fl oz) of sauce. It will keep for two or three days in the fridge and can be frozen. You can use it as a simple sauce for pasta as it is and it also makes a great basis for a whole range of other pasta sauces. It is also good as an accompaniment to vegetables, fish or meat.

Basic Tomato Sauce Recipe
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Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: English


This quick and easy Tomato Sauce recipe, made from store-cupboard ingredients, is fantastic with pasta and is at the basis for a wide range of other sauces.  


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little sugar (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or deep frying pan.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onions and add to the pan.
  3. Fry the onions over a very low heat until soft and caramelised.  This will take about 15  minutes.
  4. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and add them to the pan.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the bay leaf.
  6. Simmer uncovered until the sauce is rich and thick.  This will take about 15 minutes.
  7. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.  You can add a little sugar (half a teaspoon) if you feel the sauce needs to be sweetened.

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with A Strong Coffee and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday,  Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons

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tomato tart

Fresh Tomato Tart

This Tomato Tart showcases both the look and taste of sweet, seasonal tomatoes.   A pastry case holds the sliced tomatoes which are surrounded by a savoury custard made with eggs, cream and strong cheddar cheese. A few chopped chives are added to enhance the flavour.

This Tomato Tart can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature. It is a great vegetarian make-ahead recipe which can be served at lunch or dinner or taken on a picnic.

I make a lot of tomato-based dishes but in many of them the tomatoes are reduced to a sauce.  The taste is great but it doesn’t look so pretty!  My aim was to create a tart where their beauty and variety could be seen as well as their taste enjoyed. There are so many different varieties now available in stores, or to grow in your garden, in such a range of sizes and colours from yellow to orange to deep red.   They look beautiful and are great eaten  just as they are in salads or as an accompaniment to cold dishes.  However,  I came up with the idea for my Tomato Tart  because I wanted a cooked dish which retained their beautiful colours and shapes as well as highlighting their taste.

Tomato tart, tomato quiche,

What you need to know about this Tomato Tart recipe

  • I generally make my own pastry. I was a late learner when it came to pastry and for years used ready-made versions. However, a few years ago I decided I had to get to grips with pastry-making and discovered how easy it is. So, if you have the time to make your own pastry, it is really worth doing as the taste will be much better than anything you can buy in the shops. However, if you don’t have the time or inclination, you can make this recipe using ready-made pastry and it will still taste pretty good.
  • Whether you are making your own pastry or using ready-made, it is really important to bake the empty pastry case in the oven for 15 minutes before you add the filling (step 3). This sets the pastry and means that it is properly cooked so it will be crisp and delicious rather than soft and soggy.
  • You can easily remove the skins from the tomatoes by immersing them in boiling water and then cooling them down in cold water (step 4). Make sure that you don’t leave them in the boiling water for too long or they will start to cook and may go a bit mushy.
  • I use a strong, extra-mature cheddar cheese in this recipe. You can use other hard cheeses but make sure you use one with a strong flavour. You need this to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes.
  • In this recipe, I add chopped chives to the Tomato Tart. I often add chives to a tomato salad and think that the combination works well together. However, you could use other herbs if you prefer. I think basil or oregano would be good alternatives.

Loved this recipe? Check out the Recipe Index

Other quiche and tart recipes

Savoury tarts and quiches are a fantastic, cook-ahead simple supper or lunch. They are easy to make and are great either hot or at room temperature. They can also be easily divided into portions if you are feeding a large number of people. Easily transportable, they also make a good addition to lunch-boxes or basis for a picnic. Some of my favourites are listed below.

Tomato tart
Tomato tart

Fresh Tomato Tart recipe

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tomato tart

Tomato Tart

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 tart serving 8 people 1x
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English


This make-ahead, vegetarian Tomato Tart using sweet, juicy tomatoes, fresh chives and tangy cheese is the perfect choice for a summer lunch or picnic.



For the pastry:

  • 275 g (10 oz) plain flour
  • 125 g (4 oz) fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 150 ml (5 fluid oz) double cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 g (5 oz) strong cheddar cheese (grated)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A large bunch of fresh chives (around 15 stems)
  • 67 assorted tomatoes – I use various sizes and colours as I think it looks nice!


  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
  3. Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish.   Bake for 15  minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”.  This will stop the filling making it soggy.
  4. Remove the skins from your tomatoes.  I find the easiest way to do this is to immersing them in boiling water for around 1 minute and then immersing in cold water to cool them down (so that they are not too hot to handle and do not continue to “cook”).  The skins should then be easy to  peel off the tomatoes.
  5. When you have skinned the tomatoes, slice them into thin discs.
  6. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined.  Finely grate the cheddar cheese and add to the mixture.
  7. Chop your fresh chives and add them to the egg, cream and cheese mixture and season with salt and pepper.   Pour the mixture into your pastry case.
  8. Place the tomato discs on top of the mixture in the pastry case.
  9. Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
  10. The tart can be eaten hot, room temperature or cold.
Tomato tart, tomato quiche
Tomato tart

Loved this recipe? Check out the Recipe Index