Homemade Stovetop or Roasted Tomato Sauce (Pasta Sauce)
Enjoy homemade stovetop or roasted tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes (regular or cherry tomatoes) in as little as 20 minutes, with 5 ingredients, then freeze or can for later. This fresh tomato pasta sauce is rich, flavorful, versatile, and makes for a delicious and healthy sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan tomato sauce!
Clean the tomatoes. If using large tomatoes, you can cut them in half.
Add the herbs to the bottom of a large baking dish and place the tomatoes on top of them (this will help them not burn) together with the garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil.Feel free to remove the tomato stalks or leave them on for now. The same goes for the garlic - you can leave it with the peel on or peeled, whole or minced.
Step 2: Roast the Tomatoes
Roast the tomatoes in the oven at 400ºF/200ºC for about 20 minutes. The tomatoes will begin to shrivel up and burst.If you keep them attached to the stalks, they tend to hold their shape better while cooking. However, as soon as the stalks are removed, the tomatoes will "fall apart" - this is completely normal as they are super tender and soft.
Step 3: Blend the Roasted Tomato Sauce
Allow the roasted tomatoes to cool for a few minutes (until you're able to handle them) and then remove the tomato stalks and garlic skin. Then add everything from the pan (herbs, juices, and all) to a food processor and blend into a smooth tomato sauce consistency.You may also be able to mash them by hand for a chunkier sauce - with or without the skins.
Taste the fresh tomato sauce and adjust any seasonings to taste. At this point, you can use the sauce as is, jar it for later use, or go one step further and simmer it on the stovetop.
(Optional) Step 4: How to Thicken Tomato Sauce
Pour the homemade tomato sauce in a large saucepan and reduce over medium heat for at least 15 minutes (up to 30 minutes even). This will reduce and thicken the sauce and concentrate the flavors.
The Stovetop Method
Mince or grate the garlic and chop the tomatoes in half (if using cherry tomatoes, quarters for larger tomatoes).
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the tomatoes. Cook for several minutes (3-4), stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are beginning to soften. Then cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook for several minutes until the tomatoes have burst and are very tender. Then remove the lid and add the garlic and a few basil leaves and allow to cook and infuse for a few more minutes.
Use either a fork or potato masher to gently mash the tomatoes in the pan. Alternatively, you can use a blender, to blend them until completely smooth. You can optionally remove the tomato peels. However, I usually don't as I blend the sauce and they aren't noticeable at all. If the sauce is too thin, return it to the skillet and heat over medium-low until slightly thickened and reduced to your desired consistency.Before using the tomato sauce, optioanlly add a ladle-full or so of pasta water to the sauce and mix well. Then use and enjoy!
How To Store
Store: keep any leftover homemade tomato sauce (of either version) in a sterilized jar/container in the fridge for up to 7 days.Freeze: it's very easy to freeze tomato sauce. Allow the fresh tomato pasta sauce to cool and then transfer to Ziplock bags (in portions is best), flattening and squeezing out any excess air. Then freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge or on the counter. Alternatively, place the bag in a bowl/container of hot water or under running hor water, to give it a headstart. For advice on canning the cherry tomato sauce, refer to the FAQs in the blog post!To reheat: you can reheat the fresh tomato pasta sauce from frozen or chilled either in a microwave or on the stovetop. Add an extra splash of liquid (water/broth/milk) if necessary.
Use fresh, ripe tomatoes that aren't too green or firm. The more flavorful the tomatoes, the better the tomato sauce!
This recipe makes for a perfect "base" homemade pasta sauce. While it tastes DELISH on its own, there are tons of ways to experiment with even more flavors and add-ins. Check out the Ingredients Section on the blog post for tons of ideas on how to take this sauce further! (It'll be a great healthy spaghetti sauce!)
There are two ways to enjoy this roasted tomato sauce: enjoy this sauce in under 30 minutes by roasting and blending. Alternatively, feel free to simmer and reduce the sauce further for thicker, richer results.
You can, optionally, remove the tomato skins. I don't find it necessary since they blend up well and don't create any bad textures. However, if you prefer to remove them, wait until they're cool enough to handle (post-roast). They should peel easily.
Check the blog post for tons of ways to adapt this recipe as well as answers to top FAQs!