Tomato sauce

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 50 mins


Makes 8 portions (enough for two meals)
A good tomato sauce has countless uses. Make a big batch, then use in other dishes throughout the week

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal103
  • fat6g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre3g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.29g
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  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 carrots, finely chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 4 x 400g/14oz cans chopped tomatoes


  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the vegetables and bay leaf. Stir in the sugar with some salt. Gently cook for 10-15 mins until the veg is tender. Stir in the tomatoes and 150ml water. Simmer very gently for 30 mins until the sauce has reduced by two-thirds and is very thick. (If you have doubled or tripled the quantities, this may take up to 1 hr.)

  2. Stir occasionally, particularly towards the end of the cooking time, so that the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom. If you like your sauce a little thinner, add a splash of water. Serve half with pasta and chill or freeze other half in 1-2 batches for later use (see 'Goes well with' for ideas of how to use up your sauce).

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Comments (33)

carenscookin's picture

Lovely! I only used 2 cans of tomatoes to feed 4 and when cooked I added half a tub of mascarpone and some choritzo, very tasty, will definately be making this one again.

Annie17's picture

A really tasty sauce. I halved the recipe (apart from the teaspoon of sugar) and still found it a bit tart, so might use more next time. I do have a sweet tooth mind you. What did others think?

VicParis's picture

Make this sauce regularly and freeze half. Easy to rustle up as ingredients are staples. I found it a little too sweet so left out the sugar and since then has been better.

whats4t's picture

when really well reduced, this sauce is very good when building your own pizzas, makes a perfect base.

SamoodleDoodle's picture

Wonderful basic sauce that can be used for anything. I cut the ingredients by half because I didn't want to make too much (no room in the freezer) and it still worked perfectly, and tasted delicious! Will definitely be using this recipe often!

aprzybysz2's picture

Great recipe. My lot is so fussy about any sauces, but they loved this one. Definately going to be a staple in my kitchen from now on.

bowdenei's picture

Made this today in a frying pan to hasten the cooking process and grated the carrots like someone suggested As I had passata in the fridge I used that and made up the rest with about half a can of chopped tomatoes. I made half the quantity. And then used half that for the bean and sausage hotpot. It worked out well and the veg was nicely cooked doing it that way. I've learned from similar recipes to keep the veg small and cook it in a wide pan or you end up with carrots that won't soften and crunchy onions.

tizabella's picture

Great, love it, so simple.
Used it in the bean sausage hotpot

andycrofts's picture

Made this a few times - great standby. I prepared a bagful of dried chickpeas and froze them a couple of months' ago. Girlie got them from the freezer, thinking it was my 'pea-and-ham soup' (To die for, by the way!).
Think I'll lob them in to add a bit of 'je ne sais quo' - it'll be an experiment. If we can't actually eat it, the dog can. (Note to self: Go buy a dog tomorrow....)

Zootfruit's picture

Nice and easy to make and great that it can be frozen. Going to try it with the sausage and bean casserole, then blitz it to use with pasta. I added some balsamic vinegar and a little chilli powder.

dorotamakota's picture

The sauce came out really good! I used half of it for meat (baked chicken) and half of it with white fish, and surprisingly (for me at least) I liked it more with the fish! Gave it a really nice flavour.

annieprophett's picture

I love this recipe and usually add a couple of roasted, skinned and de-seeded red peppers, freeze it in my own portion size to take out when needed.

scottishlassie's picture

Charliepud I've just noticed your question. I used part passata and part tinned toms and just went with the weight equivalent as the passata packs are sold in grams.

scottishlassie's picture

I've just made this and it was a real store cupboard and fridge clear out special using up whatever I had. I blitzed all the veg in my processor as I didn't want identifiable chunks of carrot etc and I used a mix of passata and tinned toms and red onions as that's what I had to hand... oh and rose wine instead of water. I also chucked in a red chilli. I reduced the sauce for an hour and a half because I wanted a deeper flavour it tastes yummy - sausage and bean stew for dinner tonight and two pour and store bags leftover to freeze.

chaliepud's picture

If I wanted to use passata instead of chopped tomatoes would it be the equivalent amount?

andycrofts's picture

"A good tomato sauce has countless uses"


William Shakespeare invented countless words...

"Countless" is one of them!

Seriously, I omit the celery, as a couple of folks are very allergic to it.

patyna's picture

Excellent. It's one of those recipes that you can use up with akmost any dish. i use passata rather than canned tomatoes. its easier and cheaper.

flirtinflight's picture

a useful recipe to have as a guideline. I adjusted the sugar, seasoning and garlic to taste.
The main thing for me is that my toddler ate it which makes it good in my book. And as I've put a couple of containers of it in my freezer I've got meals ready and waiting.

ejb303's picture

this recipe is great as a base....even better with some roasted peppers :O)

lindawpl's picture

this is the recipe i've been looking for....practical and tasty. can always adjust here and there to suit personal preferences. Thanks Good Food!


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