I really, really LOVE a good tomato sauce – it brings me right back to childhood.
My love for homemade tomato sauce comes from my mom – she made it all the time growing up, taking her time to crank canned tomatoes through a hand-operated food mill and then simmering all the ingredients over the stove for hours. I remember her letting me taste it, teaching me how to know if it needed more salt or herbs, and when to know when the sauce was done. The smell through out the house was intoxicating – garlic, tomatoes, fresh herbs. If only they made an all natural cleaning spray with a similar scent…
For me, I don’t always have the time (or commitment) to invest my day in such a big activity, but I still like to enjoy that delicious sauce from time to time. Thanks to canned tomatoes and some direction from my mom, I can now whip up something similar in about 30 minutes.
You will need:
1 can of organic, peeled tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen Organic, Whole Peeled Tomatoes)
4 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flake – more or less depending on the spicy level you enjoy
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of fresh black pepper
Dried/fresh herbs – oregano, basil, thyme and/or parsley are some of my favorites
optional – 1/2 cup chopped spinach (because why not add some extra greens in when you can)
Empty all contents of canned tomatoes into a blender or food processor and pulse until chopped well and the consistency you like is reached. If you like chunky tomato sauce, you will pulse it for a shorter amount of time, and if you prefer a thinner sauce, you will processes it for a little longer.
*Be careful not to over blend/process – if the tomatoes get too much air it can affect their flavor.
In a large, unheated pot, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom) and toss in your chopped/minced garlic and red pepper flake.
Turn the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes, until garlic begins to brown and becomes fragrant.
Once hot, add it your tomatoes, the remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, and whichever dried herbs you are using. *NOTE – if you are using fresh herbs, wait until the end of the sauces cooking time to include them.
Stir everything together and continue to cook over a low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often (about every 5 minutes). The longer you cook the sauce, the thicker it will become.
Taste the sauce and see if you need anymore of anything… Salt? Black Pepper? More herbs?
When your sauce is about finished, add any fresh herbs you are using along with the chopped spinach.
You can enjoy this sauce over fresh veggies, sautéed leafy greens, roasted chicken, turkey meatballs, gluten-free pasta (this brand is my favorite), spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, gluten-free grains, or even as a chunky tomato soup by adding a little veggie broth and homemade cashew milk!
To save time and for last minute meals, I will often double the batch and freeze the leftovers in portion-sized containers so it is ready to go when I am in the mood for something savory, delicious and healthy!
with love and childhood classics,