Italian Tomato Sauce

A perfectly balanced, intensely flavorful red sauce that I use as the foundation for all kinds of recipes like lasagna, baked ziti, spaghetti, spaghetti pie, and more.

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

This is one of those recipes that acts as a foundation for all kinds of great dishes. Lasagna, baked ziti, spaghetti, spaghetti pie. It’s even delicious as a breadstick dipping sauce.

About once a month, you’ll find a giant pot of Italian Tomato Sauce bubbling away on my stove, making the house smell scrumptious.

Usually when I make a big ol’ vat, I spoon some over spaghetti for an easy dinner that evening. Then I scoop the rest into labeled freezer bags to freeze and use later on.

It’s a terrific red sauce – I’ve found none better. It’s perfectly balanced – not too acidic, not too sweet – with loads of flavor thanks in part to lots of Italian seasoning, green peppers, garlic, and parsley. And when you make it with fire-roasted tomatoes … yes.

Sometimes, after it’s all done, I’ll add some to a pot of browned hamburger and spicy sausage, where I let it simmer away for another 20 minutes or so, and voila – Italian Tomato Sauce for the vegetarian converts to Italian Meat Sauce for the meat-eater.


Italian Tomato Sauce

Yield: 4 cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

A perfectly balanced, intensely flavorful red sauce that I use as the foundation for all kinds of recipes like lasagna, baked ziti, spaghetti, spaghetti pie, and more.


  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 – 28 ounce can whole fire-roasted tomatoes (diced fire-roasted tomatoes will work too)
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Several turns fresh-ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion and bell pepper in the olive oil for a 2 - 3 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning and salt, then cook for about 8 more minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and black pepper. If you're using whole tomatoes, break up the tomatoes with a spoon. Continuing to cook over medium heat and stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the parsley, then remove from the heat.
  4. Note: If you'd like to add meat to half, brown 1/2 pound each ground beef and sausage. Drain the fat, then add a little less than half the sauce to the meat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve over pasta, in lasagna, or use it as a dipping sauce.

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

8 Responses to “Italian Tomato Sauce”

  1. Yuuuum! I love making homemade sauces too! What’s the best way to store/freeze tomato sauce? And how long does it last in the fridge vs the freezer?

  2. I can’t wait to try this one. I’ve always used the quick tomato sauce recipe that I’ve gotten off of the America’s Test Kitchen site. The only addition that my son loves to the sauce is that I sautée fresh mushroom slices and/or zucchini slices with olive oil, garlic, salt and oregano. Sometimes my husband would ask for shrimp mixed in with the pasta.

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  4. This sauce was delicious! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  8. I used this recipe in a food roundup on my blog, DashandaPinch! Thanks so much for letting me link to your blog.

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