This simple tomato sauce is better than the one from a can! This is a foolproof recipe that requires only a few staple ingredients.

Simple Tomato Sauce

This simple tomato sauce is better than the one from a can! This is a foolproof recipe that requires only a few ingredients: tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic, onions and celery.

Even though this recipe only calls for about 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil, feel free to add more. I love my fresh herbs, and tomato and basil are harmonious flavors that I can’t seem to get enough of. Add as much ad you’d like!

Which Tomatoes are Best?

It’s best to use canned tomatoes. They are canned at peak ripeness and without skins. Fresh tomatoes need to be used at peak ripeness and then poached so that you can take their skins off. Unless you enjoy sauce with the tomato skins (some people do!). But the skins don’t break down well in the sauce so they do curl up and become pointy spears.

While canned tomatoes are the preferred ingredient, stay away from the diced tomatoes in a can. Chemicals are added to the sauce to help the tomatoes keep their diced shape. Not only is eating chemicals are never good for you, but they also don’t break down in sauce well when they are cooked.

For this recipe, I used a can of whole San Marzano peeled tomatoes in juice.


  • Tomatoes: A must for this recipe. I used one 24 ounce can of whole San Marzano peeled tomatoes in juice. If you choose to use whole fresh tomatoes, grab about two pounds of Roma tomatoes, and remove the skins.
  • Fresh herbs: My favorite part about making any sauce is using fresh herbs. I used thyme and basil.
  • Onion, celery & garlic: Aromatics play a large part in this sauce. After sautéing in some oil, either leave your diced onion, diced celery and garlic whole or purée in a food processor.

Making Tomato Sauce

Making this simple tomato sauce is really basic and only requires a couple of ingredients. It’s just sautéing the aromatics and then cooking the tomatoes down to your liking. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you like a smoother sauce, you have a couple of different options. Either pull out that handy food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Or you can use an immersion blender. Looking for a chunkier sauce? You can either roughly chop your tomatoes before putting them in your sauce, or you can wait for them to cook down a bit before smashing them in the pot with the back of a spoon. Either way you prefer your sauce, you will get yummy, tomatoey goodness.

Uses for Simple Tomato Sauce

Once you make this tomato sauce, you’ll be using it to replace the jared stuff from the grocery store.

Use this sauce to use on pastas, chicken, fish, rice or other dishes that need a kick of acidity and veggies added to the plate.

Make this sauce and then let your freshly made turkey meatballs simmer in the sauce while your pasta cooks. Or make a baked zucchini ziti instead. The possibilities for this simple tomato sauce are endless.

Tomato Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Sarah Course: Uncategorized


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 can tomatoes

  • 1 cup chopped onions

  • 3 stalks celery

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 tbsp fresh basil

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme


  • Chop. Finely chop the onion, celery and garlic. Chop the herbs. Set aside.
  • Sautée. Heat some cooking oil in a pan and sautée the onion and celery until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes. Open your can of tomatoes and dump the entire can into your pot. Crush the whole tomatoes against the side of the pot- watch out, they might squirt!
  • Cook. Let simmer and reduce your sauce for about 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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