Garden Tomato Sauce Recipe with Fresh Basil

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Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce Recipe by Angela Roberts

Did you know that tomatoes can teach you about life? This is especially true when you decide to make a garden tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes.

If you struggle with perfection, the tomato can teach you that the most imperfect tomatoes, especially those called ugly tomatoes, are often the sweetest, most delicious, like the Pink German Tomatoes. A tomato with a bruise can often be salvaged and do more with its good parts than a processed, perfect tomato which can never offer that same sweet taste and texture that a ripe, garden tomato can. Tomatoes teach you to  grab your opportunities while you have them. If you procrastinate, tomatoes don’t wait for you. They ripen and need attention.

There is a crazy and disturbing story to the tomatoes in this sauce. I shared this very same basket with Retro Rose (my mother). She is prone to a temper and not seeing things as they really are. She threw all the tomatoes out, deeming them unfit and took it personal. Not only can she not deal with imperfection, she deemed the overly ripened tomatoes as reason enough to stop talking to us.

Caught completely off guard, although, this is common behavior, it wasn’t the joy it could have been making this sauce. Derailed by a tornado of a phone call with a threat to throw the tomatoes into my yard, I waited a few days to use the sauce, as it takes me that long to recover.

We all have difficult people in our life. I argued with myself as to whether to share this, but around here and amongst my friends and all the friends of my whole entire life, everyone knows of these outbursts. The phone rings, the f word flies and the relationship is cut off.  At some point, months to years later, she will call and act like nothing ever happened. She missed my wedding due to one of her storms, just to show you how severe it can get. I made a video for her making this sauce, but I had to delete it, because it reminded me too much of the outburst, and that stress showed on my face. I’m just keeping it real. I have a pretty blog. I make pretty food. But, my life is not always pretty.

The good news here is that a few days later I saved the sauce for a big dinner with my closest friends, and in spite of what had happened, it didn’t spoil that evening. In fact, those evenings make life worth living.

The tomatoes used for this sauce I used three varieties including German Pinks which are very sweet and dense, great for helping to make the sauce think. Eventually the tomatoes in my own garden will ripen all at once and I’ll use those too.

You can make the sauce as thick or thin as you like, smooth or chunky. This is a smooth version, using an immersion blender. I cook the tomatoes first in big chunks in a crock pot.

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce 2 by Angela Roberts

The only ingredients will be tomatoes, onion, olive oil, salt, pepper and a sprig of basil. I may add in squeeze of honey or sugar if I feel the tomatoes need sweetened.  I blend my sauce at the end after the onions are cooked down with an immersion blender.

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce with Fresh Basil from Angela Roberts

I was making eggplant parmesan, braciole and spaghetti. I wanted a fairly smooth and thick sauce. One trick that I use to thicken up a sauce is to make it a few days ahead and refrigerate. Even one day will make a lot of difference.

Another thing to know about making garden tomato sauce is that it will always turn out a little differently. You have no control over the tomatoes. Some will be very watery. Others will be just right. I cook my tomatoes with chopped onion which will practically melt down into the sauce. The basil also adds wonderful flavor.

More Italian Recipes from Spinach Tiger

Some of my Favorite Italian Recipes are below:

Sheet Pan Pizza

Eggplant Parmesan

Summer Garden Spaghetti and Meatballs

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

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4.67 from 3 votes

Garden Tomato Sauce Recipe with Fresh Basil

How to make fresh garden tomato sauce
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 20 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 5 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 onion peeled, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
  • fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons butter optional
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar optional


  • Cut a x on bottom of each tomato (to be able to peel).
  • Put into boiling water, just enough to fit, usually 4 - 6 at a time. Once water is boiling again, cook for about 8 seconds. Remove. Cool.
  • Peel tomatoes.
  • Hold over a bowl and squish a little bit to get some liquid out of the tomatoes. No need to remove all, but some tomatoes have more water than others.
  • Chop roughly, put in slow cooker.
  • Add onion, salt, pepper and basil.
  • Cook for 6 hours on low in slow cooker or 2 to 4 hours in a pot on stove. The important thing is to reduce a lot of watery liquid from the tomatoes.
  • Taste sauce and adjust for sweetness and salt and pepper.
  • Blend with immersion blender or blender.
  • You may choose to add in some butter and stir to make a very smooth sauce after you have blended it.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo

Most times of the year I use canned San Marzano Italian tomatoes for this tomato sauce recipe. It’s a quick sauce, basic and balanced. But, in the summer time, at least a few times a year, I make a fresh garden tomato sauce.

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  1. Pingback: Best Tomato Sauce Recipe With Fresh Tomatoes And Reviews - Trending Yum - Trending Recipes and Food 2018 2019
  2. I just experienced a similar blowout involving my four sisters, some who are no longer speaking to me. I had to cancel a party to celebrate my getting a big promotion, but ended up with a small, intimate evening with close friends, and “in spite of what had happened, it didn’t spoil that evening. In fact, those evenings make life worth living”. One of those friends gave me a huge basket of tomatoes as a gift…I was looking up a recipe to use up the tomatoes and found this,lol – totally relatable. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    Angela, Searching for a tomato sauce recipe and came across yours. I cooked my tomatoes in pressure cooker, but still too watery. Will use the crock pot to thicken….we have a farm so I am usually outside a lot of the time, so the crock pot is a great tip.

    As for your Mom, I understand completely. My godmother is full blooded Italian and she could go from 0 to 60 in a heartbeat. But, most of the time she was very loving. If your mom has been like this always, she may have undiagnosed mental health issues, possibly being in the bi polar spectrum. You do not have to endure the berating. If she chooses to speak with you ok, but the minute she starts chastising and screaming, just say, “Mom, I have to go”….it is a shame that people cherish being right over a healthy relationship.

    Best of all she doesn’t live with you. I had a mother in law that hated me and moved in with us (even though my father in law was living) and lived with us for 20 years. You talk about a perfectionist….she and your mom were cut from the same bolt of cloth. Nothing ever pleased her that anyone else did, especially me, so I empathize.

    Just be your positive self….we can only control what we do and no one else. It is a shame your Mom doesn’t realize that God is never going to ask if we created the perfect sauce, grew the perfect tomato, or had the perfect job, or kept a perfect house. He is only going to ask how much we loved….it is that simple and that hard.

    God Bless,

  4. I used 12 red tomatoes and one small onion and it turned out bright orange, just like Max’s. Didn’t have basil so added bay leaves. I love the colour but it lacks the red intensity I’m used to with Tomato paste! Then again, it still turned out wonderful – sweet, tangy and very fresh! Thanks Angela!

  5. Okay…I MUST try this. 🙂 We LOVE tomato sauce, but have yet to venture into making our own yet. I took my first stab at homemade tomato salsa last Summer and it was SO easy! And I don’t think this recipe could get any easier. What a perfect Summer recipe. Mmmm. Thanks Angela!!

  6. all I can say is WOW. so stressful! also, I can see how God has used the family you’ve come from to make you softer to Him and to let you see things they can’t see, and man that encourages me so much, even in a sad story. I mean, at least there was tomato sauce, yes, but still it stinks. I read this article a few weeks ago and I thought it was so, so, so good and exactly what I needed to read, so even though it can be annoying when people say “You should read this article!” I’m going to link it here just in case it helps you, too:

  7. What a fun story Angela! I was laughing as I read it….the end results is that your sauce is just perfectly wonderful looking and tasting no doubt. I love odd ball tomatoes, the little imperfections and all. And growing tomatoes can be a humbling experience indeed. All this made me think. Which is a good thing.

  8. Hi Angela, oh I am so sorry about your mother, I don’t really know what to say…But your sauce looks and sounds amazing. Pinned!

  9. The sauce looks very fresh and delicious. Sighs…I don’t even want to mention my tomato plants..the weather is just not on my rains and rains and rains..I am not a perfectionist, so I would be very happy if I had some…cracked, or overripe…to harvest.

  10. 4 stars
    I was scrolling through Feedly and this post came up. I clicked to read and suddenly found someone who was in the same boat I am in regarding our mothers. You can make your family. Remember that. Nobody, not even the woman who birthed you is worth stressing over. My advice: cut her off now before thongs get even worse and keep making this delish sauce. Keep your head up!

  11. Oh Rust
    Thanks for that support. It’s hard for people to understand unless they’ve been there. Yes use ALL of your tomatoes. Some may have a lot of liquid. Just hold over a bowl or just cook down as much as you can. Look forward to hearing from you.

  12. It’s so interesting how we can feel an instant bond and affinity for people we meet who have similar life experiences. I too, have [had] a mother like this in my life and finally, in my 50’s, said no more. It’s too crazy for me.

    This morning I picked at least 5 pounds of tomatoes from my garden [it is my first garden of this size in many years] …and I have been thinking I needed to find the perfect sauce recipe and then voila! …yours – out of the blue – landed in my inbox today!! And …it sounds perfect! I love the slow-cooker method and I even have fresh basil growing I will use! Perfect!

    Oh – and my harvest was about half San Marzanos, too. 🙂 I have cherry and grape tomatoes, and Beefstake and a few other varieties. Do you think all together would be ok?

    They are ripening in a sunny window now and will need a couple of days before they are bursting with redness but I will come back and let you know how it turns out. Thank you very much for this beautiful recipe …and the sense of kinship I feel with you for your story. Your attitude is lovely. 🙂

    I’m not a frequent commenter but I do love your place. 🙂

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