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I never thought that I was a tomato sauce person. That is, until this past summer. My mom’s garden is overflowing with tomatoes of all shapes, sizes, and colors. My mom doesn’t really like fresh tomatoes, and neither do I. So when she ended up with more tomatoes than she knew what to do with, we began experimenting with making our own, fresh tomato sauce together. And I am in love. I’ve already had it twice this week. This easy tomato sauce recipe is as simple and fresh as it is tasty. Plus, it is made of fresh, real ingredients that are really good for you:
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Tomatoes: Did you know that tomatoes are loaded with health-promoting nutrients? They are high in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. They are also a rich source of lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant with many beneficial qualities. Lycopene is good for your heart health, reduces the risk for prostate cancer, prevents stroke, and more.[1,2]
Tomato sauce may also be one of the healthiest ways to eat tomatoes. When tomatoes are cooked into a sauce, the heat makes the antioxidant and nutrient availability even higher than that of raw tomatoes. The addition of olive oil also helps your body to have more access to these important nutrients.[3,4]
Garlic: Potent in flavor and odor, garlic doesn’t just give you bad breath; it is also a powerful health tool. Garlic is one of the best foods to fight high blood pressure, and it can even help treat gastritis.
Olive oil: One of the important components of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has some remarkable health benefits, too, like helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and protecting your heart health. It contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and good for your overall health.
In our easy tomato sauce recipe, these three main ingredients are joined by a handful of fresh basil and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, which add delicious flavor and a bit of zing to your dish.
Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe
1 ¾ pounds of fresh tomatoes, deskinned and chopped roughly*
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil**
4 cloves garlic, cut lengthwise into 1/8th inch thick slices
1/3 C fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly
¼ t red pepper flakes
¼ t salt
*Try a variety of tomato types, including heirloom, green, cherry tomatoes, and more.
** For help choosing a healthy, quality olive oil, read more here.
- Heat olive oil in a medium-sized fry pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until lightly brown, only about 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the salt and red pepper flakes to the pan, and continue cooking until the garlic is medium-brown, about one more minute.
- Carefully add your tomatoes to the pan. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently until tomatoes are cooked and a sauce has formed, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in basil, and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Serve over fresh, whole grain pasta (I like to use quinoa pasta); mix it with polenta; or use it in your favorite recipes.
Share Your Experience
How do you like to use tomato sauce? Do you have a favorite tomato sauce recipe of your own? Share it in the comments section below.
This article was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated.