Homemade Tomato Sauce in Under 20!

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Honestly, this recipe only takes fifteen minutes, or however long it takes for you to boil water and cook pasta. But, I wanted to play it safe.  I included time for grabbing food from the refrigerator and plating afterward : )

Now, for the last four weeks, I’ve been watching Maya Adams, M.D. cooking videos from her Coursera class: Just Cook or Child and Nutrition, 2.0. (You can still sign up and view all the videos this week, or it’ll be offered again starting on May 6th).  While I don’t have any children, I still love to eat kid-friendly food.  Plus, one of her children has Celiac Disease, so she throws in gluten free suggestions once in awhile

IMG_6889The purpose of Maya’s class is to help Americans make healthier food choices by cooking, instead of eating out or consuming too many processed foods.  (Her hashtag is #JustCook).  She also promotes eating foods with less preservatives, and one easy way to do this is to make your own pasta sauce.

So, despite loving the simplicity of prepared sauces, I set out to make my own.  The recipe below may not be the most elegant, but it takes the same amount of time as preparing pasta with a store store bought sauce.  Plus, it’s adaptable to any ingredients you have in your refrigerator (assuming that you have tomatoes)!  So go ahead, give it a spin, and make your own pasta dish today!

Tomato Sauce Recipe


  • IMG_6872Gluten Free Pasta
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic (1 clove)
  • Tomatoes (4-5)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Vegetables: Mushrooms, Summer Squash, Zucchini, etc.
  • Optional: Herbs and Spices (Basil, Parsley, etc.)
  • Optional: Cornstarch or Arrowroot Flour
  • For the Lucky Dairy-Consuming Folks: Mozzarella or another cheese!


  1. IMG_6874Boil water in a pot to cook your pasta.
  2. While the water is boiling chop ½ an onion and garlic into fine pieces. (You may also cut up any other vegetables at this point in time).
  3. In a second pot, pour in olive oil and begin cooking the chopped onion and garlic.
  4. If you have not already, cut up any remaining vegetables and throw them in with the onion and garlic.
  5. By now your first pot should have boiling water.  Pour the pasta in to your pot of boiling water.
  6. Chop 4-5 tomatoes into medium sized pieces (if you haven’t already).
  7. Once the vegetables are cooked (aka: your onions are translucent), add in the tomatoes and stir.
  8. Now it’s up to you, you can add salt and sugar to balance out the sour taste of the tomatoes. This is also the time to add in any herbs or other seasonings you like!
  9. Optional: If you like a thicker pasta sauce, add in a teaspoon of a thickener, such as cornstarch or arrowroot flour and stir.
  10. Once your sauce is to taste, pound down the remaining tomato chunks.
  11. Pour the sauce over your gluten free pasta, and you’re all ready to eat!

What are the best gluten free pastas? I can’t have tapioca flour, which eliminates quite a few.  But, my favorites are Schar (any type) or Wegman’s gluten free elbows.  Schar pasta includes multiple grains including quinoa, whereas Wegman’s brand is 100% corn. Do you have a different favorite? Let me know in the comments section!

Tips and Tricks

  • IMG_6894Place the leftovers in a jar in your fridge to eat throughout the rest of the week! Or if you have a seal tight container, place it in your freezer for much longer : )
  • If you like a smoother sauce, then you can puree your tomatoes before adding them to the sauce.
  • If you can have dairy, place mozzarella or another cheese on your pasta.  Then, pour the warm tomato sauce on top to melt the cheese!

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