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Basic Tomato Sauce

gluten free
wheat free
kid friendly
quick meals, fast feeds
cheap as chickpeas

 

 

freezable
low fat low sugar, diabetic friendly
1 spoon difficulty rating

25-30 minutes - but make in advance if possible, as flavours develop better over time. Or see above for slow cooker tip.

Serves: 3-4 per batch

Basic Tomato Sauce

One of those standards that is very adaptable. Once you have made it a few times you can throw the recipe away and improvise! It's particularly good if you ever get a glut of ripe fresh tomatoes - or when tinned ones are on offer. Once cooked, it lends itself to many dishes - as a basis for a pasta dish; in a casserole; in a rice dish or with stuffed vegetables - lots of things. Making a big batch means it can be frozen in smaller portions.

How to cook

  • A slow cooker is the best method for this because it creates a richly flavoured and thick sauce - or just simmer on a heat diffuser on a very low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Cooking the sauce the day before is another good method as it lets the flavours party.
  • For a quick fix, simmer for at least 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

 

Reduce or omit the oil if you want a low-fat/diabetic-friendly or 5:2 low calorie recipe - use a couple of squirts of oil spray if necessary.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (reduce this to 2 tsp if you want a low-fat version)
  • 2 tins whole plum tomatoes OR 500g/1lb 2oz fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs other than above - eg, parsley or tarragon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp brown sugar or a tiny drizzle of agave syrup
  • Other options:
    • - chopped olives of any colour
    • - red wine, 60-120ml (1/4- 1/2 cup)
    • - chopped red pepper cooked in with the onion and garli
    • -  chopped mushrooms ditto
    • - capers (rinsed and drained)
    • - cooked pulses - eg haricot beans/chickpeas/whole lentils - you get the picture! These can be blended in to make a smoother sauce
    • - Aurora Sauce: half tomato sauce mixed with half vegan cheezy sauce (see recipes elsewhere on the VRC)
    • - Sicilian/Middle Eastern-style. Add 2 tsp cinnamon - fry it in after the onions and garlic are softened and add a large handful of raisins or chopped apricots
    • - chilli, fresh, crushed dried or powder, to taste
    • - smoked paprika
    • - regular paprka
    • - allspice
    • - other fresh herbs, eg basil; oregano; thyme; sage

Method: 

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Gently fry (saute) the onion and garlic in the oil over a low heat until soft and translucent.

2. Stir to prevent sticking and add a little juice from the tomatoes if necessary. Add the cinnamon now if using (see options)

3. Add rest of tomatoes and chop them in a pan with a knife. They should be chunky but not too large, to retain some texture.

4. Stir in herbs and sugar/syrup - and red wine if using. Add the raisins/apricots now if making the Sicilian/Middle-Eastern style sauce (see above).

5. Choose your cooking method - see the recipe introduction. If you prefer a smoother sauce, it can be blended partially or entirely. Add other things that you fancy - see the list above - and blend again if appropriate.

6. Season to taste before serving.

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