Fresh Tomato Sauce

Updated June 2014

Making a tomato sauce from scratch takes a few hours, but it's well worth the effort, for both your health and the environment.  This is a great weekend project that can easily supply your needs for the month.  We make a batch of sauce and store it in the refrigerator, in canning jars.  It’s great for quick pasta meals during the week.  We use it on homemade pizzas, lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli or other Italian dishes.  It can also be frozen for longer keeping.

WedMD's identify tomatoes as one of their Top 10 Synergy Super Foods"Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids, which have synergy as a group. Few fruits and vegetables can say that! Tomatoes also contain three high-powered antioxidants thought to have synergy together (beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C) as well as lycopene, which has synergy with several food components."

Cooking tomatoes with the skin and olive oil provides additional health benefits.  “Ninety-eight percent of the flavonols (powerful phytochemicals) in tomatoes is found in the tomato skin, along with great amounts of two carotenoids. Absorption of these key nutrients is much greater when the tomatoes are cooked and when you eat some smart fat (like olive oil) along with the cooked tomatoes”

We like the sauce with the tomato skin and seeds in it.  If preferred, you can removed them by running the sauce through a food mill.

Reasons that this Recipe is Eco Friendly

  • No meat or dairy which are the highest carbon producing foods.
  • No disposable packaging to recycle or throw away.
  • No heavy jars or cans of sauce transported across the country.

Reasons that this Recipe is Healthy

  • A very wide variety of fresh vegetables provide for the highest vitamin and antioxidant content.  Tomatoes are rated as an excellent source of vitamins C, A and K.
  • No preservatives or pesticides if using organic ingredients
  • No toxic BPA lined cans or jar lids.

¼ cup olive oil
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
5 lbs. Roma tomatoes, small cubes
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped           
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 large bay leaf
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
½ cup dry red wine
1 Tbsp. salt (or salt to taste)
ground pepper, to taste

Recipe Summary:
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Makes 4 pints of sauce

You will need a large pot,
a hand (stick) blender or food mill, and canning jars

Warm the pot on medium-heat for a few minutes.  Add olive oil.  When oil is hot add carrots, celery, onion, bell pepper and parsley.  Stir to coat with oil.  Continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The vegetables should be soft.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, basil, oregano, rosemary, bay leaf and red wine.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove the lid and cook for an additional 20 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Remove from heat, remove the bay leaf, and puree the sauce with the hand blender until smooth or run it through a food mill.  Add salt and pepper, to taste. 

This tasty sauce develops an orange-red color from the carrots and celery.  Don’t be concerned that it’s not catsup red like many bottled sauces.  Store the sauce in canning jar in the refrigerator of freeze for longer keeping.

Tomato Sauce Pasta Jars.jpg