Thick & Chunky Tomato Sauce from Scratch



At the end of August, without fail, I get this crazy urge to organize, declutter, and donate things. The rest of the year I’m usually content to overlook my own chaos and disorganization, but once the back to school season hits, I turn into that domestic goddess I always wanted to be. I can do anything! Even if it doesn’t last very long, it feels good to start a new season with a clean slate.

Eric has always been the tidy, organizer in our relationship, so whenever he sees me tearing stuff apart he follows suit creating an equally large mess on the floor beside me. A natural born organizer can never pass up the chance to organize, you know? So this past weekend we spent a full day giving our office an overhaul, which led to furniture reorganization, which led to an Ikea trip to buy a cabinet. Why does organization always seem to lead to an Ikea trip? And more importantly, why do we insist on going the busiest weekend of the year? We are suckers.

Feeling on top of the world after our office clean-up, we went through the bedroom closet and donated a bag of clothing and then we semi-solved my kitchen storage issues. Total organizer’s high. I can see why some people become addicted to organizing. If only it would rub off on me a bit longer.

This is the year I change for the better and stay organized. I say this every September. Oh well.


In food related news, I don’t know why it took me so long to make my own tomato sauce from scratch. Shame on me! I don’t want to jinx it, but I feel like my kitchen mojo is back now that I’m only creating recipes for the blog again. It’s such a great feeling not to be zapped of creativity. I just have all this renewed energy to create, create, create.

The secret to this sauce? Sun-dried tomatoes. Gosh, I love them so. They turn a run of the mill fresh tomato sauce into a rich and creamy concentrated sauce with so much depth of flavour. I really couldn’t believe the difference in taste before and after adding them in. Instead of just stirring the chopped sundried tomatoes into the sauce, I decided to puree them and emulsify their flavour throughout. Oh my lanta. Once I stirred the sun-dried mixture back into the sauce it was transformed into something only dreams are made of. You really have to try this!


Thick & Chunky Tomato Sauce from Scratch

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free


4.9 from 7 reviews

A few simple ingredients can create the most delightful homemade tomato sauce! The secret to this recipe is blending sun-dried tomatoes with a scoop of sauce and then stirring it back into the pot. The result is a thick and creamy tomato sauce with a ton of flavour unlike any other tomato sauce. There's no need to skin the tomatoes for this recipe, but I like to quickly discard the seeds before using. Chop the tomato into 4-5 large wedges and then push the seeds out from both sides and discard. Proceed with dicing as usual. If you don't have oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, feel free to use dried - but be sure to soak them in water until soft and drain before use. You might want to bump up the olive oil to 1.5 tablespoons to make up for the reduction in oil. Lastly, this batch only makes 1 & 1/4 cups - I would suggest doubling it because it doesn't last long!

1 large or 2 small servings
Prep Time
Cook time
Total Time


For the sauce (makes 1 + 1/4 cups):
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion or 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3 cups diced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 6)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
For the noodles:
  • 1 medium zucchini, spiralized or julienned or 1 serving cooked pasta or 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash


  1. Add the oil, onion, and garlic into a medium pot and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Stir in the diced tomatoes and increase heat to high-medium to bring to a low boil. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, until most of the water cooks off. Watch closely, reducing heat if necessary and stirring often.
  3. Add sun-dried tomatoes into a food processor along with a ladle of the tomato sauce. Process until mostly smooth. Stir this mixture back into the tomato sauce in the pot.
  4. Stir in the minced basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, and optional red pepper flakes to taste. Continue cooking until thickened to your liking and then remove from heat.
  5. Serve sauce over a bed of pasta noodles, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash noodles.

Note: For how to julienne or spiralize zucchini (and the tools I use for the job), see this post.



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{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren @ The Highlands Life September 6, 2013

Yum! I can use up some of the rest of my tomatoes from
My garden for this! Looks so delicious!


Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon September 6, 2013

I love that you spiralized the zucchini- and this sauce looks delicious! I love making my own sauce and adding whatever fresh herbs I can get my hands on, pureed veggies, and ground up almonds for that meaty texture I sometimes miss from red sauce!


Erica { } September 6, 2013

I’m a sucker for a good marinara sauce. I haven’t made any in years but I’m going to make this up and freeze a few pints to use throughout the next few weeks!


Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat September 6, 2013

There’s nothing like fresh homemade tomato sauce! My grandma used to make it all the time and it was the best. I prefer making my own rather than eating out of the jar. I can’t wait to try yours!


Sara September 6, 2013

Whenever we have fresh tomatoes on hand, we make fresh tomato sauce, nothing can beat that. I’ve never tried adding sun dried tomatoes though, so I’ll make sure that your tip gets some follow-up ;-) Since I love pesto made of sun dried tomatoes, I think I’ll love it in regular tomato sauce to!


Coach Heather Cates September 6, 2013

I love this!! I will try it next week in place of pasta for carb loading. Thank you so much for sharing.


Penniless Veggie September 6, 2013

Ooh, love the combination of fresh and sun-dried tomatoes! The texture of that sauce looks amazing too!


Lisa C September 6, 2013

Love, love, love sun-dried tomatoes! On a salad, in your Goddess Bowl, in tomato sauce, etc.! Had something like this the other night, straight from the garden, complete with some additional sautéed eggplant, topped with some nutritional yeast and toasted walnuts – superb!


Alexandra @ Lean Green Healthy Machine September 6, 2013

Loving the daily posts :) So exciting to see a new delicious recipe that I can’t wait to make every day! So many store bought tomato sauces are loaded with unnecessary ingredients…homemade really is the best (especially with this recipe!!).


Shundara@SavyNaturalista September 6, 2013

Every artist goes through a block especially when they need lots of content; but at least your back! I thought I was the only one still obsessed with tomatoes I love a good homemade sauce especially a chunky one my favorite.


Lisa September 6, 2013

Any chance I could use the sun-dried tomatoes in a package instead of the oil-packed ones? I just so happen to have only the dried variety on hand and I bought a ridiculous amount of tomatoes at our farmer’s market yesterday and this recipe is calling my name today.


Amanda September 10, 2013

I made this recipe yesterday using the dry packaged sun-dried tomatoes instead of oil-packed ones. It worked really well! I rehydrated mine by pouring boiling water over them and letting them sit for about 10 minutes. I would have actually left them longer to soften them further, as they were a little tough to blend. But the sauce was really delicious.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 6, 2013

Oh my gosh, I haven’t had sundried tomatoes in SO long! This sounds lovely! And awesome that you’re back in the recipe creation/cooking groove. It’s amazing (and kind of annoying) how the ideas can sometimes just dry up at the most inconvenient times, isn’t it!? As for fall cleaning, I’m totally the same way. It’s sort of like spring cleaning a few months too late, but I love doing it because I totally get that cleaning high that you described! I’m kind a sad that my summer clothes will be going away soon, but a closet clean-out always feels good too.


Lisa September 6, 2013

Never mind I just read your note at the top of your recipe. off to start cooking!


Ashley September 6, 2013

Delicious, I’m sure! I just went to Ikea (we have one about an hour and a half away in Sacramento) for the first time a couple of months ago on the way home from Napa Valley. We were there for hours and I wanted to buy everything!


Andrea September 6, 2013

Out of curiosity, what spiralizer do you have? I got a cheap-o one online and it broke after only a few months because I use it so much!! :/ Looking for a good brand that will last more than a few months!! =)


Abby @ The Frosted Vegan September 6, 2013

Sun dried tomatoes just take it to the next level! Love the zucchini noodles too : )


kelly September 6, 2013

You are on a roll! Got some tomatoes from my garden (love the ease of the skins on) !


Geosomin September 6, 2013

Looks tasty.
For some reason all I could think of was Marge Simpson saying “the secret ingredient is salt!” :P


Averie @ Averie Cooks September 6, 2013

Your pasta sauce looks so thick and full of texture and I love tomatoes so I know I’d love this. And on spiralized zuke noodles. Haven’t broken out my spiralizer in far too long. Thanks for the inspiration to dust it off! Have loved all your Mofo posts this week!


Maria Tadic September 6, 2013

I love making my own sauce! I use a lot of tomato paste in mine – really gives the sauce a big hit of flavor!!


Maria September 6, 2013

Where do you find organic sundried tomatoes packed in oil?


Nicola September 6, 2013

I’m the same! Except this time it was my boys who suffered the brunt of my turn of the seasons organizing and they had to tidy their rooms! ;-)


Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe September 6, 2013

This looks amazing, as usual. You really are a domestic goddess!


Anele @ Success Along the Weigh September 6, 2013

My Italian food craving passed yesterday…low and behold…it’s back! Your fault! ;-)


allie September 6, 2013

I always make my own sauce, as taught by my Nana. Biggest secret? A tsp of sugar into the takes away the acidity of the tomatoes that some people struggle with. I suppose any sweetener (except chemical) would work. She always liked a smooth sauce so she pureed the tomatoes, celery, parsley in the blender first. I like a chunkier sauce so I use diced canned tomatoes or fresh..whatever i have on hand. I also sautee as many veggies as i have on hand…mushrooms…peppers…zucchini’s…eggplant…’s very forgiving. I have even pureed broccoli and cauliflower and poured it in..also the white cannelini bean is divine in a tomato sauce and adds some protein…whole or pureed. You pick :0) We serve over spaghetti squash or wholegrain noodles :0) I often make a huge batch and morph it into lasagna too


Stynerbot September 4, 2014

I love your comment! I make sauces and groups and chilli’s much the same way. Good way to get rid of the last bits and pieces I have in the pantry. I have also never thought of adding a bean for a kick of protein. Do you leave them whole or puree it into the sauce?


Amelia September 6, 2013

Yum! I love spiralized zucchini in place of pasta. I also like it in combination with gf mung bean or black bean pasta for extra chew. Great recipe! Nothing beats homemade. :)


Annie @ Natural Sweet Recipes September 6, 2013

This is so beautiful! What a lovely dish. This really illustrates how delicious and beautiful fresh, whole foods from scratch can be!


nan @ lbddiaries September 6, 2013

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve have been needing a homemade sauce because we don’t eat store bought anymore. So many I’ve tried were just… yuck. This one looks amazing and I just happen to have some fresh vine tomatoes. AND you solved my pasta problem (as in, we don’t eat it) – I totally forgot about spaghetti squash or that I could julienne zucchini! This learning to cook a new way isn’t that easy without someone to guide you – thank you for being a guider!!


Catherine @ Chocolate & Vegetables September 6, 2013

Funny, I never thought of putting sun-dried tomatoes into my sauce. I’m going to have to give it a try the next time we need some tomato sauce!


Ashlee@HisnHers September 6, 2013

Thick, fresh sauces are my favorite! I really need to invest in a spiralizer too :-/


Christina @ The Beautiful Balance September 6, 2013

Fresh tomato sauce is the best! The fact that you made it thick and chunky makes me want to run home and make this asap.


Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} September 6, 2013

I love making my own tomato sauce, especially when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes! I love the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, what a genius idea.


Marissa@ohhhsolovely September 6, 2013

this looks so delicious! i am a naturally organized person and it just gives me such a sense of calm and peace when things are organized & clutter free.


Ana September 6, 2013

Angela, this tomato sauce recipe is incredible! I made it for dinner tonight and we loved it!!! I could not stop dipping spoons (clean of course) into it and eating it pure. The addition of the sun dried tomatoes makes it!
I love making my own tomato sauce and this will definitely be repeated many times around here.
Thanks for the amazing recipes, your blog is the best!!


Angelina September 6, 2013

Hi Angela,

I just wanted to take the time to reach out and say I think you’re amazing-Even better, you’re Canadian!!!! I’m a proud Canadian girl and I just love your simple, beautiful, down-to-earth style. I’m on the west coast, but if we lived in the same region, I’d want to hang out for sure:O) I love reading your blog and many of your recipes have become a mainstay in our home! I’m currently in the process of completing an M.A. in Counselling Psyc. as part of my goal to work with people with eating disorders. I’ve found that eating whole, organic, unprocessed foods has been beneficial in my own recovery. So THANK YOU!!!! for the work that you do. I so appreciate being able to access such amazing recipes and to share them with my family.



Electra September 6, 2013

You are a genius! This is so simple and delicious!


Cristal Porter September 6, 2013

Is it bad that I (almost) make one of your recipes every day. Yikes. I’m slightly obsessed.

This looks delicious. I’m thinking this will be on the menu next week :).

Thanks again for your posts. Grateful to have you as a resource!


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2013

Not bad at all!! hah. I’m so happy to hear that Cristal. :) Totally makes my efforts worthwhile.


Lindsay September 6, 2013

Love the idea of adding puréed sundries tomatoes! I’ve got a Costco bag of them I’ve been wondering how to use up.
I’m quite new to this vegan thing, and am looking to your blog quite frequently for recipe ideas. Everything is so good! Now that there’s things I can’t eat anymore though, they seem to be the things I crave. Two suggestions if you’re ever short on recipe ideas: vegan versions of fish tacos, and cauliflower crust pizza… I dream of these things!!!


janet @ the taste space September 6, 2013

I welcome the return of your cooking mojo. I love sun dried tomatoes pureed as a sauce. I actually just shared a similar recipe, although it is no-cook. It is too hot to cook here. :-)


DRAMA September 7, 2013

Looks good!)
Love your photos=)


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