Goes With Everything Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce is so easy and cheap to make.  It is a fantastic staple – serve it with pasta for the kids, use it on pizza or use it to make meatballs or aubergine bake.  It freezes really well so make a big batch and freeze a load for later.



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Skills covered

Knife skills, Seasoning, Sauce Making, Simmering, Cooking a Meal

Tomato Sauce

By: Chloe Coker

This is a really versatile tomato sauce.  It is made with store cupboard ingredients, you can add hidden veg for fussy kids and it can be jazzed up with extras like chilli, capers and parsley for adults.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 fresh tomatoes diced
  • optional: 1 carrot grated
  • 1-2 garlic cloves crushes
  • pinch of salt
  • 400-600g passata / tinned tomatoes
  • lemon (squeeze of) 
  • 1 tsp sugar / maple syrup
  • optional extras: pinch of chilli flakes, 1 tsp dried oregano, torn basil 


 Step 1

Place the oil in a large pan and add the onion, tomato (and carrot if you are using it). Add 2 tsp water (this stops the onion from burning) and simmer over a med-low heat for 5-1o minutes until the vegetables have softened

Step 2

Add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Then add the passata / tinned tomato, sugar, lemon juice (and chilli flakes / oregano / Italian herbs if you are using them).  Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Simmer for 30 minutes, take off the heat to cool slightly.  You can blend it at this point if you would like it to be smooth.  Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

Step 4

Optional: Stir through some torn up fresh basil to finish

Tips, Tricks and Teaching Info


Tomatoes are acidic so adding a small amount of sugar or maple syrup helps to balance the acidity.  Salt brings out the flavour.


This sauce is simmered on the hob for 30 minutes so that it has time to reduce – the liquid evaporates which concentrates the flavour and thickens the sauce.

Use this sauce to make

– pasta and tomato sauce
– pizza
– meatballs
– chicken or aubergine parmigiana
– roasted vegetable lasagne 

If you can cook this you can also make

puttanesca sauce, tomato soup, tomato curry sauce