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

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: English

Description

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.  


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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)


Instructions

  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.


Keywords: tomato, sauce, easy

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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Roasted Pepper Salad

Roasted Pepper Salad – an easy five-ingredient recipe

This Roasted Pepper Salad is a very simple vegan recipe which showcases the rich, sweet taste of roasted peppers.   I think that sometimes less is more and that it is good to pick on one star ingredient and add a few others that really bring out its flavour. In this case, garlic, a citrus dressing and parsley transform the roasted peppers into a salad within minutes.

How I learned to love peppers

Making this recipe changed me from a pepper-hater to a pepper-lover in one bit. My previous experience of peppers had not been positive. When I was growing up, adding raw peppers to a green salad was a popular way of adding a bit of colour. It looked pretty but the taste of raw pepper did nothing for me. In fact it still doesn’t. My other early pepper-related experiences involved the stuffed peppers which were occasionally served for school lunches. And the less said about them, the better.

However, inspired by a delicious pepper pasta sauce that a friend cooked for me when I was a student, I realised that the key to pepper-eating bliss was to roast them! Roasting, either on a griddle, under a grill, in the oven or on a barbecue has a transformative effect on peppers. They become soft and savoury with a delicious smoky sweetness. All that is needed to transform them into a salad is a citrus dressing, a bit of garlic, parsley and some seasoning.

Roasted Pepper Salad

So why is this such a great salad?

Roasted Pepper Salad is one of my favourite salads – and not just for the taste! First off, it is very simple – only five ingredients including seasoning – and it is fool-proof to make (no fancy culinary skills required). Secondly, it is healthy. Roasting retains the flavour and nutritional value of the peppers and the calorie count is low (if you care about that sort of thing…). Finally, it is an extremely easy-going and versatile salad. You can make it a day or so in advance. It keeps in the fridge for several days. It can be served warm or at room temperature or cold. You can pimp it up with other ingredients – pine nuts for a bit of crunch, capers, olives, anchovies or some salty cheese such as feta are all good additions. Or you can just leave it simple. It is a fantastic side dish. I will also have it for lunch with just some crusty bread or maybe a green salad. It is such a great roasted pepper recipe!

In praise of winter salads…

I firmly believe that salads are not just for summer. In fact, I tend to crave them just as much when the weather is colder. The salads that I make during winter tend to have more robust ingredients but also have a really strong hit of flavour. I really want something fresh, healthy but with a zing of flavour when it is cold outside.

I make Roasted Pepper Salad throughout the year – it is a great accompaniment to a summer barbecue – but I probably make it most frequently in the winter. Other winter salads and side dishes that I love include Spiced Carrots with Honey and Lemon, Red Slaw, Thai Cucumber Salad, Raw Beetroot and Carrot Salad, Roasted Beetroot with Yogurt and Tahini and Aubergine with Soy and Honey.

Roasted Pepper Salad

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Roasted Pepper Salad

Roasted Pepper Salad

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is a very simple vegan salad which showcases the rich, sweet taste of roasted peppers.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 red,orange or yellow peppers
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley

Peppers


Instructions

  1. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise.  Remove the stalks and seeds.
  2. Place the pepper halves skin-side up on a grill pan covered in foil.
  3. Place the pan under a hot grill for around 10 minutes until the peppers are black and charred.
  4. Wrap the silver foil that you used to line the pan around the peppers and leave to cool.  The foil will form an envelope around the hot peppers and the steam that they give off will help to loosen their charred skins.
  5. When the peppers are cool enough to handle you should be able to peel off the charred skins.
  6. Roughly chop the skinned peppers and place in a bowl.
  7. Add the crushed garlic clove, olive oil and lemon juice to the peppers.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Chop the fresh parsley and sprinkle over the peppers.

Roasted Pepper Salad


Notes

Good things to add to this salad include pinenuts, capers, olives, anchovies, salty cheese such as feta.

You can serve this salad hot, warm, room-temperature or cold.

You can make this salad a day ahead.  It will also keep in the fridge for several days.

Keywords: peppers, salad, vegan

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip Soup with Apple

This vegetarian Curried Parsnip Soup with Apple may be the perfect winter soup. The sweetness of the apple boosts the flavour of the parsnips. The gentle spice from the curry powder adds interest to the soup and enhances its warming qualities. Perfect for a cold winter’s day!

This soup is based on an old curry sauce recipe that I inherited from my mother. The recipe is a 1970s version of curry sauce – nothing fancy or sophisticated – and is very simple with medium curry powder, onion, apple and garlic being the primary ingredients. I use the sauce recipe for making my traditional Boxing Day turkey curry and, while I was doing that this year, I wondered whether it could be adapted to make a soup.

Parsnips love a bit of curry flavouring so I decided to use them as the main ingredient. I also added a potato to tone down the parsnip flavour just a bit and to thicken up the soup. I think the flavour is just right – not too parsnippy and not too spicy. My initial taste trials, so far limited to my teenage children, have been very positive. In fact, this soup has been described as “banging” which clearly is an accolade to which I aspire in all my recipes.

Curried Parsnip Soup

Super soup – the perfect weekday lunch

As with all vegetable soups, this recipe can be made in advance and re-heated when required. It can also be frozen and defrosted when needed. I generally make a big batch of soup and then freeze it in individual portions. I can then defrost a portion for my lunch or for my children’s lunchboxes. This works well as long as you make sure that the labels on the portions are legible. I have notoriously bad handwriting – my excuse being that I spend most of my time using a keyboard – and sometimes even I cannot read what I have written. This means that I may sometimes be expecting parsnip soup for my lunch but end up with potato and leek as they are a similar colour!

For me, home-made soup is the perfect lunch as it can be made in advance, is tasty and healthy and is just that bit more fortifying than a sandwich. It also fills you up – there is a lot of fibre in those veggies – so it reduces those mid-afternoon snack cravings. My working life is split between home-working and office working. If it is a day when I am office-based, I heat the soup before I leave for work and take it with me in a thermos. All I need is a roll or a slice of bread – and maybe a bit of fruit for afters – and that is lunch sorted.

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Other home-made soup recipes

I have lots of easy, vegetable soup recipes. If you like this Curried Parsnip Soup, you might like some of the others. All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Fennel Soup and showcase a single vegetable. Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Celeriac and Apple Soup, Mushroom and Chestnut Soup, Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.

Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip Soup with Apple

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Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip Soup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 17
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Curried Parsnip Soup is mildly spicy and sweetened with apple.  Healthy, easy to make, warming and delicious, it is the perfect winter soup.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 parsnips
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 sweet eating apple
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 teaspoons of medium curry powder
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • Plain vegan yogurt and turmeric (optional)

Curried Parsnip Soup


Instructions

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onions.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the parsnips.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook gently over a low heat for around 15 minutes until the vegetables are starting to caramelise. 
  5. Crush the garlic clove.  Peel, core and roughly chop the apple.  Peel and roughly chop the potato.  Add the garlic, apple and potato to the pan.
  6. Stir in the curry powder and cook for two minutes.
  7. Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to simmering point.   Cook gently for 15 minutes.
  8. Blend the soup in a food processor or by using a hand blender.
  9. The soup will be quite thick.  You can add a little additional water to thin it to your desired consistency.
  10. When you are ready to serve the soup, reheat it gently and pour into individual bowls.  If you wish, you can decorate each bowl with a swirl of plain vegan yogurt and a sprinkle of ground turmeric.

Curried Parsnip Soup


Notes

This soup is vegan.  If you are not a vegan, you can substitute butter for the vegetable oil and use non-vegan yogurt.

Keywords: parsnip, apple, curried, soup, vegetarian

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Peachick Bakery and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and Diann of Goats and Greens

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Celeriac and Apple Soup

Celeriac and Apple Soup – A tasty, warming vegan soup for a cold winter’s day

This Celeriac and Apple Soup is an easy vegan soup recipe that makes a fantastic lunch or supper on a cold winter’s day. It is easy to make and features the classic celery and apple flavour combination. Think Waldorf Salad but warm and comforting!

Celeriac is not the most popular of root vegetables. Its gnarly exterior, which seems perfectly designed to trap soil puts a lot of people off as it seems hard to prepare. Actually, you just need a confident attitude and a good vegetable peeler. Remove the outer skin, together with all the lumpy, gnarly bits, and you are left with a creamy globe of deliciousness that can be used in a whole range of ways in addition to Celeriac and Apple Soup. It is traditionally used in the classic French salad, Celeriac Remoulade, where it is thinly sliced and mixed in a mustard-flavoured dressing. It can also be boiled and mashed or roasted as a side-dish.

Here at tastebotanical we have lots of other recipes for tasty, warming winter soups. What about Beetroot and Coconut Soup? Or Butternut Squash with Peanut Butter? There is tasty Fennel Soup, with its subtle aniseed flavour, and classic Leek and Potato Soup. Vegetable soups are very easy to make and are a fantastic way to increase the amount of fresh vegetables that you eat each day. They are packed with fibre, nutrients and, of course, taste!

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celeriac and apple soup

Celeriac and Apple Soup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: British

Description

This easy, warming vegan winter soup combines the classic flavours of celeriac and apple.


Ingredients

  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 onion
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock 
  • 1 eating apple
  • Optional garnish:  1 eating apple

Instructions

  1. Peel the celeriac using a vegetable peeler to remove the rough outer skin.   Cut it into 1 cm chunks.
  2.  Peel and slice the  onion.
  3. Heat the oil in your saucepan.  Add the celeriac chunks and sliced onions, season them with salt and pepper,  and very gently fry them for around 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet.   It is really important to  add seasoning at this point and to cook gently to bring out the flavour of the vegetables – it will make a huge difference to the taste of your soup.
  4. Next, peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan with the celeriac and onions.  Cook gently for a few minutes. 
  5. Then, peel the apple, remove the core and chop into rough chunks.  Add the chunks to the vegetables together with the crushed clove of garlic.
  6. Add the stock to your saucepan and simmer the vegetables gently for about 15 minutes.
  7.  Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.
  8. If you wish, you can make a dried apple garnish for the soup.   Slice an eating apple thinly vertically (so the slices are “apple shaped”).  Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes.  Remove slices and use to decorate the soup.  The apple-shaped slices look good on top of the soup and will also have a concentrated apple flavour which will enhance the taste.

 


Notes

This soup is vegan.

Keywords: soup, vegetarian, vegan, celeriac

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Easy Poached Pears

Easy Poached Pears with Marsala Wine
Easy Poached Pears

Easy Poached Pears

This recipe for  Easy Poached Pears is a fantastic make-ahead autumn or winter dessert.  The cooking time is quite long but the preparation time is very short and extremely simple – basically you just need to peel the pears!

There is something very autumnal about pears.  I love eating them just as they are.  However, it is often quite difficult to get them at just the right stage of ripeness – one day they are hard and unripe and the next day they are soft and squishy!  The beauty of cooking with pears is that you do not need to use ripe  ones.  This recipe is best made with unripe pears which then become beautifully soft and fragranced with Marsala wine, cinnamon and vanilla, during the cooking process.

Marsala is a fortified Italian wine which is generally widely available.  If you do not have any Marsala wine, you could use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alteratives.

The recipe is based on Delia Smith’s Pears Baked in Marsala Wine but I cook the pears for a shorter time and do not add arrowroot to thicken the sauce as I prefer it to be thinner.

Easy Poached Pears

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Easy Poached Pears with Marsala

Easy Poached Pears

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Easy Poached Pears is a make-ahead autumnal recipe which transforms unripe pears into a sumptuous dessert through slow cooking them with Marsala Wine, cinnamon and vanilla.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 unripe pears
  • 600 ml Marsala
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or a vanilla pod)

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 250 F/130 C/Gas Mark 0.5.
  2. Remove the skins from the pears using a vegetable peeler.   Take a thin slice of the base of each pear.  This will give it a flat bottom so that it will stand up on the plate when it has been cooked.
  3. Put the Marsala, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla essence into a heavy casserole.  Heat until the liquid is simmering and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Place the pears in the casserole on their sides.    Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and then turn the pears so that their other side is in the liquid.  Bake for a further 1 hour.
  6. Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside in a dish to cool.
  7. Place the casserole containing the liquid  on the top of the stove and boil rapidly with the lid off for around 10 minutes.   The liquid will  reduce by about one third.
  8. Place both the pears and the liquid separately in the fridge to chill.  When you are ready to serve, place the pears on  individual plates and pour some of the liquid over them.   Good accompaniments are whipped cream or a mixture of half whipped cream and half mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.

Notes

This is a vegan recipe and can be served with non-dairy cream or ice-cream.

If you don’t have Marsala Wine, you can use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alternatives.

Keywords: pears, marsala, vegetarian, vegan, dessert

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