Basic Red Sauce for Pasta or Pizza

Posted on Posted in Clean Eats, Recipes

Aloha! On Tuesday I shared with you about why we should all make the switch from jarred sauce to homemade, and today I have my tried and true, super simple red sauce recipe to share.

I’ve been making this sauce for years. I still love it even though I can’t really eat it. I taste it though….sometimes I even dare to dip a piece of bread in it…Mmmmm. I miss tomato sauce. Honestly, I miss all nightshades. When I first went nightshade free I missed spicy food the most. Now, 18 months later, I definitely miss tomatoes in all their incarnations, and potatoes. Especially french fries with ketchup….

Basic Tomato Sauce for Pasta & Pizza | EJL Blog

If you’re curious about nightshades, check out this post. I wrote it quite a while ago, but the info is still good. I just read on a blog post on another site that 38% of the population have some type of nightshade intolerance. Crazy! I would never have thought it was that high. I know I’ve been intolerant of them basically my entire life. I can remember having crippling pain as a child after eating spaghetti with red sauce. Although, in the past it wasn’t on every occasion that I would have issues, only sometimes, which is what made identifying my intolerance so challenging. Now that I have them so rarely that when I do, especially if I have more than one (like tomatoes and potatoes together), I really pay the price.

Growing up I just thought that stomach pain and the accompanying diarrhea was normal. Now, anytime it happens I’m shocked that I used to live with that amount of pain. I can’t believe I used to think that all that pain was just a normal part of life.

If this resonates with you, please reach out to me. You don’t have to live with pain, and more importantly, you shouldn’t. I would love to help you find and eliminate trigger foods from your diet. Click here to view my contact information. 

Now, on to today’s post!

Fresh Garlic is a delicious addition to any red sauce
Fresh Garlic is a delicious addition to any red sauce

Ingredients                                                                                                                                                                     Yield: ~3 cups

  • 1 – 28oz can Muir Glen diced tomatoes*see note
  • 1/2 medium white onion, small chop (heaping 1/2 cup)
  • 1 fat clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • scant tablespoon Italian seasoning, divided in half
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Heat olive oil in pot over medium. Once hot, add onion and turn down to medium-low. Cook until lightly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Stir often and season with salt & pepper while cooking. You can cook longer if you like, the browner they get, more flavor they’ll have.
  • Add minced garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Basic Red Sauce | EJL Blog
Onions & Garlic Cooking
  • Add the can of tomatoes and 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning, stirring well and scrapping the bottom of the pot.
  • Bring up to a low boil, cover and turn down to low.
  • Allow to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it isn’t burning.
  • Purée with an immersion blender or leave chunky, depending on your family’s preference.
Chunky & Pureed
Chunky & Pureed
  • Taste and reason. Add the additional half tbsp Italian seasoning, a bit of garlic powder, salt & pepper, or any other seasonings you see fit.
  • Replace cover and allow to cook an additional 10 minutes after reasoning.
  • Serve with pasta, as a dipping sauce for bread, or as a pizza sauce.

Other Optional Additions

  • sliced mushrooms
  • fresh basil, fresh rosemary
  • red wine (1/4 cup added after onions are done browning, but before adding garlic is divine!)
  • crushed red pepper
  • chopped bell pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Additional Notes

  • My daughter won’t eat chunky tomato sauce, so we always purée it. If you don’t have an immersion blender, this can be done by adding the sauce to a blender and blending until you reach your desired consistency. Be careful with the sauce if you blend while hot!
  • Seasonings added at the beginning of the cook time will lose a bit of flavor while it cooks, this is why I suggest to taste and reason as you see fit. This does not apply to salt and pepper, only herbs.
  • When we use this for pizza, I let it cook longer with the lid off so the sauce thickens. For pasta I leave it a bit thinner.
  • I prefer Muir Glen organic tomatoes for 2 reasons: 1) it’s organic and 2) the lining of the can does not contain BPA. It is especially important to pay attention to the BPA content in cans of tomatoes because the acid in the tomatoes eats away at the lining and leeches BPA into the contents of the can.
  • This freezes and reheats incredibly well! Let cool completely and place into smaller serving sizes and freeze so you can thaw only what you need.
  • Fresh tomatoes are lovely as well, but will have to cook longer. And, if you are cooking this in the middle of winter fresh tomatoes can be very hard to come by and/or very expensive!

Companion Recipes

Tried & True Pizza Dough

Homemade Rosemary Garlic Bread*publishing next week!

I hope you enjoy this sauce as much as my family does! Happy Eating♥

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