Simple 5 Minute Tomato Sauce

I love, love, love this recipe.  I found it at the beginning of summer, and have been making it every week. I do not miss the overpriced, way too sweet, pre-made jar sauces AT ALL! I love that this is not much more work than opening a jar, but makes the house smell like I have been cooking all day!

I found the recipe here at 101 Cookbooks.  She writes an excellent post about this simple sauce.  She explains that this is not the sauce you are looking for if you are wanting a meat-filled hearty sauce.  This is a fresh, light, pure tomato sauce, and IT IS GOOD!

I usually buy whole -grain pasta because it is full of fiber, protein, and iron,(the brand I used in the pictures below has 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber in a 2oz size serving) which is very important when eating a meat-free meal, and it keeps my family full much longer than the white stuff.

There is nothing worse than kids begging for food a half hour after dinner! Ugh!  My BIGGEST pet peeve is when I am just finishing up the dinner dishes and I have little ones asking for food because they are HUNGRY!

I use this recipe when we make homemade pizza, it is so fresh and yummy. I grew herbs this summer and the pizza we made with fresh mozzarella and this sauce and shreds of fresh basil….mmm… to die for.

I have also made pasta dishes with this sauce and added a splash of heavy cream at the end with some peas and parmesan cheese, and turned it into a whole different, super creamy, luxurious dish.

The last time I made this sauce, I accidentally bought a can of diced tomatoes, so that is why I got out the hand blender, my family does not like chunks!

I make a few other changes to the recipe.   I go easy on the red pepper flakes, as my girls don’t like spicy.

If I have lemons on hand, I’ll use them, but if I don’t I’ll add a splash of lemon juice from the bottle, it is amazing how just a touch of acid really brightens up the flavor. If I do use zest, I find the zest of a whole lemon is a bit too much lemon flavor for me, so I half it.  I also add about a Tbls of sugar if my tomatoes are too tangy.

Depending on how much water the tomatoes have in them, you may need to simmer the sauce down a bit if it looks a little watery, which turns the 5-minute sauce into a 10-minute sauce- no big deal.

I make sure I keep an eye out for canned, crushed tomatoes on sale and stock up when they are.  As she says in the recipe below, the brand of tomatoes is VERY important.  There is a huge difference in taste, so go for the good brands.  I think the same goes for the olive oil, buy the best you can afford, the more expensive Italian brands are so worth the extra money because they are sweet and have no aftertaste.
Give this sauce a try!  It may become your go-to, always- have- the- ingredients- on- hand, simple meal as it is ours!

           Five Minute Tomato Sauce

I’m very particular about the tomatoes I use in this sauce. Look for canned crushed tomatoes, some cans you will come across will say “with added puree” – this is also fine. I avoid diced tomatoes, pass on pureed, and skip whole tomatoes as well. Avoid the crushed tomatoes with added herbs, seasonings, etc. You want pure crushed tomatoes if possible. I also look for organic crushed tomatoes which can be tricky, I often come across the Muir Glen brand, it has added basil in it – that one is actually fine. The San Marzano crushed tomatoes are great as well. Any leftover sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for three or four days.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
zest of one lemon

Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste (you don’t want to burn your tongue)…If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Stir in the lemon zest reserving a bit to sprinkle on top of your pasta.

Makes about a quart of tomato sauce.


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  • Melanie
    October 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Yum! This is so delicious and easy!

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