Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

I am a terrible menu planner. Sure, the concept sounds easy – pick what you want to eat for the week. However, I can never stick to the plan. There are days where I’m exhausted. Then there are days where I don’t feel like eating what I planned. Or days where I decide to eat the last two pieces of bacon for breakfast when I actually needed those for dinner. Or days where I don’t realize how overgrown my garden is and have a million tomatoes that need to be eaten. The most obvious thing to make for this Italian is tomato sauce, but who has 2+ hours to spend making that? That’s when I make my Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce. The sauce itself cooks in 20 minutes. 20 minutes! Of course you have prep time with peeling, seeding, and chopping the tomatoes, but I still say that’s quicker than traditional tomato sauce.

Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

I had no intention of sharing this recipe. After all, I’m all about sharing dessert. However, after making this sauce for the fourth time, I knew I couldn’t keep this secret much longer. For those of you who work full time and come home exhausted. For those of you who are new parents trying to get by or experienced parents running your kids to after school activities. For those of you who don’t have 2 hours to make sauce. This recipe is for you. See? It *is* still possible to have a fresh, healthy meal and not spend an hour in the kitchen (garlic bread not included). To speed up prep time, chop your tomatoes ahead of time. I did mine the night before.

Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce
Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

This Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce is very versatile. You can have it straight-up with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil. You can add jalapeno for a spicy kick. You can add mushrooms and zucchini for more substance. You can use your favorite herbs. You can even use red or white onion. The red onion was an accident because I ran out of white in my drawer. I actually prefer the red onion because it’s a bit sweeter when cooked. If you are a texture person, this sauce is still a bit chunky even after cooking down the tomatoes. If that bothers you, you can throw everything into a blender until smooth.

Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

I tried making big batches of this sauce to freeze, but then I always end up eating it for dinner. Imagine have fresh tomato sauce in the dead of winter. Total comfort food when served with spaghetti and meatballs.

Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

Quick and Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

Yield: 1 cup

Feel free to make this sauce your own by adding jalapenos for some kick, zucchini and mushrooms for a garden variety, or substituting red onion for white.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped*
  • Several basil leaves, torn (or chopped) into small pieces
  • Few dashes of salt and sugar


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil. When hot, saute the onions for a few minutes or until starting to brown. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds.
  2. Carefully add in the tomatoes (the juices may cause the hot oil to sputter) and stir together.
  3. Turn the heat down to low and throw in the basil. Cook for 15 minutes (it should still be slightly bubbling when cooking).
  4. Add salt and sugar to taste. Serve with pasta.


*To peel tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut an X into the bottom of each tomato then carefully drop them into the water. Boil for 30 seconds then remove and quickly run them under cold water. The skins should peel right off.

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