We finally had a bit of summer here in Northern California, and the warmer weather finally got my tomatoes to ripen…albeit all at once!

So, I’ve been in a continuous mode of picking tomatoes to make sauce every few days. I still haven’t gotten my act together enough for canning (as in buying the jars, etc.), so I’ve just been making the sauce and saving it in containers in the refrigerator or in freezer bags in the freezer.

Here are the very simple steps I’ve been taking to make the basic sauce.


  • 20-25 tomatoes (or really as many as you have – just adjust all the other ingredients to taste – oh and I’m just mixing up all the tomato varieties that ripened)
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar (I love adding brown sugar to tomato sauce!)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • assorted herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme and parsley
    Here’s what I used: 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves chopped and 1 cup of an assortment of oregano, thyme and parsley chopped.
    If you’re using dried herbs remember to use a ration of 3 to 1 (fresh to dried). So, I could have used 2/3 cups dried basil and 1/3 cup assortment of dried oregano, thyme and parsley.

1. First the tomatoes need to be peeled. I found the best way to do this was to make a little X in one end of the tomato and then blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes.

tomatoes ready for boiling and skinning

2. Remove them from the boiling water and immediately rinse them with cold water to loosen the skins – which then peel off quite easily.

Tomatoes boiling for skinning

tomatoes ready for skinning and coring

3. After peeling the skins off, I removed the core of the tomato with a small knife.

coring the tomatoes

(I may or may not have been having a nice glass of red wine while making this sauce –
hence a lack of more photos here)

4. Cut the peeled tomatoes into chunks and place them in batches into your blender (or food processor if you have one). After blending them until finely chopped, transfer them into a large pot on the stove. Continue until all batches are processed and in the pot.

5. Stir in the brown sugar, salt, vinegar and black pepper and boil steadily uncovered for 70 to 80 minutes stirring occasionally. If using dried herbs, you can add them now. If using fresh, I wouldn’t add them until the sauce has reached the consistency you would like.

I did remember to take this photo…and trust me,  the sauce smelled heavenly!!

tomato sauce simmering

Now I have containers full of this fabulous basic sauce.

Here’s what I added to it the other night for a fabulous pasta primavera dinner:

  • 1 yellow onion chopped and cooked in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 sliced links of Trader Joe’s veggie sausage
  • 1/2 packet of  Yve’s ground veggie meat
  • 2 cups steamed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup red cabernet wine (yes, the same evil wine that kept me from my photos)

I let the above ingredients simmer in the amount of basic sauce that seemed right as I cooked the pasta.

I’m really big on sampling the sauce and adjusting it to taste.

When the pasta was ready, I served it in bowls topped with sauce and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese. YUM!

~ Lita


2 Comments on Meatless Monday – Basic Tomato Sauce

  1. Ha! I just posted about our cold summer and the last of my tomato crop. I made soup instead of sauce. But this looks great!

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