Thick & Chunky Tomato Sauce from Scratch

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on September 6, 2013


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!


4.8 from 11 reviews

Thick & Chunky Tomato Sauce from Scratch

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


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


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.

Nutrition Information


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



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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

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Lindsay November 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Tried this recipe tonight. How do you serve your zucchini noodles? Raw? I tried both raw, and lightly sautéed- and both times they let out a lot of water which made my plate quite watery.


Reggie Francisco November 8, 2013 at 1:57 am

Hello! Love this recipe, I am definitely going to try this over the weekend. :) I was just wondering if you have the nutrition facts for this? Thanks so much!


G.C. December 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Had this tomato sauce with spaghetti squash (followed your post on how to bake one). Didn’t have fresh basil so added some of my mom’s canned pesto; added thyme instead of oregano. 1/4 tsp salt turned out to be too much for me so I had to compensate with a little honey. BUT all that done and said, this sauce was delish. Would love to try it to the T next time.

And the spaghetti squash? Oh my god. I don’t think I’ll ever buy gluten free angel hair pasta again. Ever.


vaseux January 14, 2014 at 3:08 am

I tried this out tonight… It was my first time having zucchini ‘noodles’ and I have to say, both me and my guy LOVED them! In fact, we liked them better than pasta! Thank you for the delicious and healthy idea! I’m also really glad that I found another use for my mandoline! :)


Anke January 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Yum!!! This sauce is awesome. And so easy!!! Thanx Angela. Also the Alfredo Sauce, which I tried last week. Yumyumyum!!!


ashley January 26, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I made the sauce last night and it was delicious! Thank you!


Sarah February 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Yum! Looks delicious. You’ve inspired me to work on a raw version of this tomato sauce.


Deborah May 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Another winner! This came out thick and delicious. I dried the finely julienned zucchini on tea towels while making the sauce. Everyone loved it. I’m a new fan!


janice wong August 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

Is there any reason why we should see them ? Is just for texture or will it alter taste ?
Does anyone use whole tomatoes for sauce without seeding them ?


jen grace September 15, 2014 at 8:37 am

yes- see post below


Susan September 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm
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Just had this for dinner. It was delicious!
I love zucchini noodles and this sauce goes perfectly.


Debbie September 14, 2014 at 10:51 am
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Always a winner!


jen grace September 15, 2014 at 8:36 am

sun dried tomatoes- great idea! am trying today with my own from this year’s great harvest. one thing i will do differently is use the whole tomatoes (seeds and all) because i just read last night in ‘On The Wild Side’ that the parts we usually toss away are actually the best for us- have the most lypocene etc.


Mira @ A Manner of Travel October 22, 2014 at 8:36 am

I love this recipe!
Has anyone tried to make a big batch and freeze it? Any tips for freezing this type of sauce?


ashsara January 3, 2015 at 10:04 pm

just made this now, ahhhmazing!


Elisabeth January 16, 2015 at 3:37 pm
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This is one of my all time favorite recipes from your blog. It tastes like something you would get at a great restaurant!


Karen Gentry March 9, 2015 at 2:23 pm
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I am so excited about trying this recipe! I actually have a spiralizer because I am gluten-free. I use the spiralizer for potatoes too, and it makes really good shoe-string fries!

I am excited to try this sauce mainly because my sauces are always a little too watery. They taste amazing and are so rich in flavor because I always use fresh basil, but I am excited to try to change up the texture. Thanks for posting this! I made a vodka sauce with lots of cheese and THAT sauce was the only thick sauce I have made.


Monica April 16, 2015 at 11:39 pm

I just made this sauce and am blown away by how good it is…. sometimes chunky is funky to me but man oh man this is delicious!! A quick question to anyone whos made this sauce before: how long does it hold in the fridge?


Zwaan May 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Hello (: How many people would this sauce serve? I’m thinking about making this for 7/8 people tomorrow. It looks really good!


Zwaan May 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm

I’m sorry I just now noticed the ‘yield’. Never mind!


kosher meat recipes June 24, 2015 at 5:58 am
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i found it easy to make! fantastic recipe for sauce & more


Blaire August 6, 2015 at 7:51 pm
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I made this tonight with zucchini noodles and it was the BEST sauce I have ever had. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!


Julie August 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm
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I’m new to this site and thought I’d try this recipe. OMG, this was absolutely delicious! It took a little getting used to the first few bites b/c we are so used to bottled spaghetti sauces, but the fresh and dried tomatoes made everything taste so much better. All fresh ingredients, and the pepper flakes gave it a little kick. I also added kidney beans to give it some protein. I used whole wheat spaghetti noodles instead of regular noodles. This is definitely a keeper!


E August 27, 2015 at 10:35 am

I never ever imagined I would be able to cook something that would taste this amazing. I lived in Italy these past two years and genuinely think this sauce is every bit as delicious as what one would be served in Italy!


Lane January 15, 2016 at 3:54 pm
Recipe Rating:

I just made this and it was delicious. I had it over some spaghetti squash. Do you happen to know the serving size for this as well as the calorie count per serving? Thanks so much for this amazing recipe!


Mary July 23, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Hi, just thought you’d like to know there’s a very annoying pop up add for ball park Angus beef burgers on this page which I was unable to get rid of to read your recipe. By the way love every recipe I have tried!


Angela Liddon July 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Thanks so much for letting me know, Mary! We do our best to moderate pop-ups like that, but sometimes they sneak through.


Karen December 8, 2016 at 5:03 pm

With my tomatoe harvest from summer, I made my own sun dried tomato powder in my vitamix by dehydrating and blending it in vitamix. Which omgod. … cuts down on how many tomatoes you have to store. And In sauces like this one, it is so easy to amp up the tomatoe flavour as well as help thicken the sauce.


Ranee Franti December 9, 2016 at 6:38 am

Wow! It is amazing! I really mouthwatering to see the pictures. I have been following your blog pages for many years. I desire to cook all of your recipes, but mostly I tried your several recipe. I have a question Angela you said that when you made this you completely discard the seeds but can I use it without discard the tomato seeds? Please reply me and then I will definitely make to my family. I asked you a question some days ago but you did not answer me. Please don’t mind may be you cant’ read that. Thank you Angela for sharing this.


Lauren August 5, 2017 at 3:49 am
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Nice sauce, with good tomato flavor. I used a mix of canned crushed tomatoes and fresh roma tomatoes, instead of 3 large tomatoes. I didn’t want to clean the food processor, so I minced the dried tomatoes really well before adding – I didn’t have a problem with that, plus the crushed tomatoes were already smooth. I changed the ordering of the ingredients a bit – delayed adding the garlic until the onion was slightly translucent to avoid burning it, and added the dried herbs to the sauce while it was still simmering, and reserved some of the

We ate with sauted kale, & barely sauted spiralized beets, carrots, and zucchni. It made for a really light summer meal. Next time I’ll definitely add a protein. Thank you!


Angela Liddon August 8, 2017 at 10:23 am

Thanks for the great feedback, Lauren! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe.


sohani patel August 31, 2017 at 1:22 pm
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Fantastic Job, Can’t Wait To Try This Your Thick & Chunky Tomato Sauce sounds very tasty and interesting.


alison October 2, 2017 at 4:19 pm
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YESSSSS!!!! THIS IS SOOO EASY AND IT TASTES AMAZING — says the person who always flubs up a recipe. I used canned organic tomatoes and it was done in a flash. I’m so happy I could dance in the streets!!! THANK YOU!


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