Tomato Pasta Sauce – Better (and healthier) than canned!

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce This may come as a shock to you but there are nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. [Gasp!!!] I don’t feel like chopping or washing dishes. Boiling water seems like too much effort. But the kicker is that these same nights neither my fiancé nor I feel like making the effort to go out to dinner either. Quite the predicament isn’t it? What do I make every time the laziness hits? Pasta with meat sauce. Mmm pasta sauce.

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce I used to just crack open a bottle of my favorite brand of pasta sauce and dump it in a pot, but have you looked at those ingredients lately?! It’s horrifying. Is all that sugar and salt really necessary? And don’t get me started on “natural flavoring”. So several weeks ago I made it my mission to create my perfect homemade pasta sauce: a little sweet, bursting with flavor and super tomatoey!

I started with the recipe from The New York Times Cookbook (1961 Edition) that I picked up from The Strand Bookstore in NYC. If I lived in NYC, I would be broke and there would be no blog because all of my pocket money would be spent in this store. True story.

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce

Want to know another true story? When I was younger (like last week) I used to eat pasta sauce straight from the pot. In High School my mom caught on to this penchant for pasta sauce and she would make a pot of pasta sauce with ground sirloin just for me! No noodles, just sauce. Isn’t she the greatest?!

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce

Anyways, enough tangents Lindsey! I know you’re here for the sauce. This sauce is darn good. It even has my fiancé’s sticker of approval, which is harder to get than the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It’s bursting with flavor and you can either can or freeze it to have on hand when those lazy days strike!

You can (and should absolutely) try this addictive lasagna or this vegetarian lasagna or pour it over homemade Italian meatballs for a hearty meal!

Tomato Pasta Sauce – Better (and healthier) than canned!
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


A healthy, homemade, low-sodium tomato sauce for pasta, lasagna, and so much more!
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian

  • 2 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ½ cups canned Italian-style plum tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth (An amazing recipe here) or water, if you must
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried sage

  1. Gently saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until onion is clear and begins to brown, stirring often.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered about two hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the herbs and continue cooking about 15 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf. The sauce should be thick. Add browned meat of choice, pour over pasta, use in lasagna or chicken parmesan, or just eat it with a spoon!

Let me know what is your favorite thing to do with tomato pasta sauce. The options are endless!


19 thoughts on “Tomato Pasta Sauce – Better (and healthier) than canned!

    • I love it – Let me know what you think if you try it!

      Lol! I believe it! Part of me is super jealous that you could pop by The Strand anytime and part of me is still relieved for my wallets sake. Have you visited Kitchen Arts & Letters on Lexington & 93rd? Yeah, a bookstore devoted to cooking. Heaven on Earth.

  1. Great photos!I can practically taste that chunky, tomatoey (?!) sauce… must make it soon. Love it plain too! Perhaps you could provide an option using fresh tomatoes?

    • Yes, I made that word up! Tomatoey. Just filling a gap in the English language ;)

      I’d love to try it with fresh tomatoes! The tomatoes around here haven’t been looking that great…

    • Right now I freeze mine too, but I would love to try my hand at canning it to free up space! My freezer is groaning as it is :-)

      Sigh – The Strand…Atlanta is so far away

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    • You didn’t miss it! I’ll update the recipe now! It makes about 3 pints, but it will ultimately depend on how much you cook it down. I like my sauce thick!

  6. How much does this recipe yield? (Approx how many jars/cans). I need to make enough sauce for meatballs and chicken both in separate crock pots. Thanks!!!

    • It makes about 3 pints but that ultimately depends on how much you cook it down. If it get too thick, you could always add more broth. Without knowing how many meatballs or chicken, I couldn’t tell you if it makes enough.

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