Simple Tomato Sauce

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I'll admit it.  I was beginning to get a bit conceited, believing I had completely evolved my husband's taste buds(within reason) from the days of only liking potatoes.  I got a little too comfortable, and because of it, this week has been one of great disappointment.

On Sunday, I baked up a cheesy casserole for Dayv to enjoy for lunch this week.  It also doubled as his dinner that night since I was going out and wouldn't have time to make him anything else.  When I got home, I asked Dayv how he liked the casserole, to which he responded, "Eh, it needed tomato sauce".  My husband doesn't like my food, I immediately thought.

On Monday, I had illusions of grandeur and decided to make Dayv a lasagna, with lentils.  I thought lentils would be the perfect addition considering how much he loves snobby joes.  I took my time, preparing the tomato sauce from scratch, something I had never done before, and made a big batch of my favorite cashew cheese.  It was so beautiful out of the oven, and I was really proud of it.  I placed a large slice of it in front of Dayv for dinner, and tried not to stare at him as he took his first bite.  "Do you like it?" I asked.  "Eh, I decided I hate lentils."  I was crushed.  My husband doesn't like my food.  


After a few days of feeling sorry for myself, I began to reassess the situation.  I allowed myself to remember that Dayv always requests tomato sauce as a dip for whenever I make him something cheesy, so it would totally make sense for him to say the casserole needed it.  And as far as lentils in lasagna, I guess we aren't there quite yet.  

Even though Dayv is my hardest, toughest critic whose opinions mean everything to me, I have to remember that I can be my own critic, too.  When the pickiest man alive tells me he doesn't like an aspect of something, it doesn't mean it's bad.  Hey, I happen to love lentils!  But, he's doesn't.  Luckily, we both love cashew cheese(but me more).

Aside from this great epiphany, something else great came out of making the lentil lasagna.  Homemade tomato sauce.  For some reason, I always thought it would be incredibly time consuming and complicated.  But, it honestly couldn't get simpler.  I loved it so much and, just like nut butter and ice cream, I will never purchase tomato sauce again.  The more I learn, the more I realize homemade is always better.  And cheaper.


Simple Tomato Sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 one small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
*optional add-ins: sliced olives, finely chopped mushrooms, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato chunks, etc.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add in herbs and salt and continue to saute for about 30 seconds.  Add in crushed tomatoes, stir, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour(or more), allowing the flavors to meld together.  Remove from heat and use immediately, or store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

*if adding additional veggies to the tomato sauce(which i recommend for a delicious, chunky sauce), add them to the pot after sauteing the onion and garlic.  Saute the veggies until soft, then continue with the herbs and salt.  Tomato chunks should be added to the pot with the tomato sauce, as they do not saute well.

28 comments:

  1. I always add a bit of honey (agave would work too) to my tomato sauce to help cut the acidity. And hot pepper flakes...lots of them.

    Beautiful photos! And I need to check out your recipe for vegan cheese!

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    1. thanks, kier! it's funny, i didn't think it needed sugar. but that's just me and my weird taste buds loving acidic stuff. once, i made a tomato sauce recipe that was basically olive oil, onion, and tomato paste. the recipe called for a few tbsp of sugar, but i didn't add it. i loved the way it tasted without it ;)

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  2. I love making my own sauce - I can a bushel a tomatoes each year just so I can have fresh sauce all winter long (and salsa!) Justin's taste buds are the same, some days he likes daiya some days not, or just on certain things - he is very much a texture driven eater and I never know what he will be in the mood for ....I had to laugh when you mentioned the Whole staring at Dayv when he took his first bite, I do that to Justin all the time :)

    Like Kier, I always add a bit of sweetener (even maple syrup) to my homemade sauces! and when i am all out of canned tomatoes I swear by san marzano tomatoes, they are INCREDIBLE!

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    1. you are so lucky with your huge garden and bushels of tomatoes. i can't wait to make sauce from scratch with fresh tomatoes in the summer ;)

      i'm glad you can relate to the weird and random taste buds. dayv's exactly the same as justin- very picky and very much texture driven.

      i'll have to try the maple syrup! like i said with kier, i loved it without any sweetener ;) and i'll have to check out san marzano tomatoes!

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  3. Homemade tomato sauce really is best! When tomatoes were in season this past summer I made a big batch of tomato sauce, and I only wish I'd made even more. I'd love to be pulling out sauce made from summer's sweetest tomatoes!

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    1. ahh..i'm sure it's so nice having the taste of summer in the middle of this cold, dry winter.

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  4. I love homemade tomato sauce! Haha, I kept laughing when reading about you and your husband's food interactions because I can SO relate to this! It's funny to be in a relationship with someone with different food preferences. :)

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    1. haha funny for sure! if i don't laugh about it, sometimes i could cry. luckily, it's not too bad anymore ;)

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  5. Homemade tomato sauce is definitely the best! I don't know why everyone doesn't just make it. Your version sounds simple, savory, and delicious. :)

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    1. thanks, eileen! i don't either. i think there's some ridiculous rumor going around that it's difficult to make ;)

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  6. Yum, I love homemade tomato sauce. I could eat it on everything! *hah* I feel the same way when I make something my boyfriend does not like. I can very much relate!!!

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    1. i could, too! i eat it like soup. a jar could be a meal for me ;)

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  7. I am starting to realize, that homemade sauces taste so much better than the store bought stuff. The great thing is, its so simple to make!

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  8. I ahem been making my own tomato sauce for ages now and I don't understand why anybody would buy it! It's so easy and tasty.

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  9. I made this sauce last night to accompany our whole whole pasta. It was delicious! It may be my go-to tomato sauce from now on - we love garlic :) Thanks for the recipe Caitlin!

    Your story is so funny because I can totally relate. My beloved isn't exactly vegan so it can be rather difficult to please us both. He devoured this dinner so I must be doing something right. Haha.

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    1. you made my day, katie! thank you ;) i'm glad both you and your boyfriend enjoyed it <3

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  10. I agree. i have not bought tomato sauce in like ages.. this sounds so easy, delicious, fresh and everything. i add a pinch of sweetener too:)

    I was laughing though all the dayv doesnt like my food anymore :). individual tastebuds i say:) vivek is much more open to taste than me. sometimes i will mke something and the taste or texture will be slightly off and i wont eat it . he gobbles it all up saying omg, this is so good and i keep looking at him like really, but the cookies are not cruncy, or the flavors in the sandwich are not working.:)

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    1. everyone with their pinch of sweetener! i guess that just goes to show everyone has indivual tastebuds ;)

      oh vivek. i long for a husband like that ;) i will pretty much eat anything i make for myself, even if it's a total failure. i'm a complete anti-food waster ;)

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  11. Homemade tomato sauce is the best! Making it is my favorite part of summer canning. Yours is so bright & vibrant, I'd be tempted to eat the whole batch just on bread!

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    1. i'm right there with you, lady! i love tomato sauce so much, i could eat a whole jar with a spoon!

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  12. This is totally my kind of tomato sauce! Most recipes involve boiling or roasting tomatoes and buying enough fresh tomatoes to make that kind of sauce can get expensive! This looks perfectly simple and delicious. :-)

    I know how you feel about wanting someone to like your food. I feel that way with the twins- their tastebuds are constantly changing so sometimes I'll feed them something that they liked two weeks ago, and suddenly they don't like chickpeas/peanut butter/lettuce/whatever anymore. My ego takes quite a hit when that happens, but Chris reminds me that they're pre-teens and they're going to be very hard to please at this age. And for the next 5-6 years. ;-)

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    1. i'd love to try a more complicated recipe, just to see how it tastes. but, for now, the tomatoes at the store are mostly not organic or don't look particularly fresh. i'll wait for the summer ;)

      that's the same thing i go through with dayv ;) although, he's a grown man. hopefully things will equal out this week- fingers crossed.

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  13. Your husband hates lentils?! GASP! For shame! Lentils just happen to be the best legume on the planet. I'm sad to say that I had that same epiphany about homemade tomato sauce and several months later, I have been buying it again. But I swear that when things are less hectic, I'm going to go back to making it. :) And I love that you suggested adding olives--my favorite kind of tomato sauce! :D

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    1. i love olives in tomato sauce, too! it's so easy to buy convenience items when things get busy- i definitely have been there. no shame ;)

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  14. This sounds so good! I love homemade tomato sauce, but I never end up making it myself. This recipe sounds too good and too easy not too though. I see spaghetti and tomato sauce in my future.

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    1. i hope you try it, rachel! it couldn't be easier and it's pretty delicious ;)

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