Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted Tomato Sauce

(…and other uses for Garden Goodies) Some of my favorite recipes to use up produce and all my garden goodies, like my fresh Roasted Tomato Sauce, that’s lower in sodium and sugar than store-bought sauce!

Tomatoes roasted in olive oil
roasted baby tomatoes with olive oil and herbs
Roast up some baby tomatoes in olive oil until soft and serve on garlic-rubbed toasted bread with fancy cheese.
tomato squash blossom crustini
Grill some baby tomatoes until soft and use on toasted bread. I used garlic-rubbed toasted bread, ricotta-filled squash blossoms, and grilled tomatoes for this lovely crostini!

If you’re like me, you are anxious for the garden to start producing mounds of fresh zucchini and tomatoes! I’m especially anxious to make extra to store in the freezer this year, especially with the cost of groceries skyrocketing! Sticker shock! Glad I keep some extra in the freezer!

zuchinni and tomatoes

When your friend asks for a reduced-sodium sauce recipe…

Have you ever thought about how much sodium and sugar are in pasta sauce? I was asked for a low/no salt added tomato sauce recipe. Since I usually toss whatever tomatoes and herbs I have available in a pot or pan and simmer it down, I decided to jot down the measurements and quantities and came up with this Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe! I use it in a variety of dishes. For a versatile sauce, only add oregano, or skip the herbs altogether and it’s perfect for stuffed peppers or even mousaka.

Jump to Recipe
pasta baked with fresh roasted tomato sauce
Baked pasta with boiled eggs

For more recipes to use up your produce or garden goodies, like my Copycat J. Alexanders Carrot Cake (with zucchini) or Spicy lime Shrimp Skillet with Zucchini click the link below!

Jump to Recipe
Copycat J Alexander’s Carrot Cake with Zucchini

Read more about my garden here in my Sriracha Sugar Snap Pea post.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Freshly roasted tomato sauce is so much better than jarred or canned sauce because you control the salt, sugar, and herbs. I make extra in the summer and freeze it in small batches for homemade sauce all year round. This is best when fresh tomatoes are in season!
*Alternate recipes: Purée the chopped tomatoes, onions, and peeled garlic together, then add the rest of the herbs and simmer until reduced. 
Omit the herbs and use plain roasted tomato sauce in other recipes, like mousaka, or stuffed peppers.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Pureeing/food mill will take additional time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 half cup servings
Calories 93 kcal



  • 3 lbs tomatoes At least 3lbs of tomatoes, preferably Roma tomatoes (or enough to fill a 13×9" roasting pan.)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil Plain or infused with garlic or rosemary.
  • 3 garlic cloves *Whole, unpeeled 3-4 cloves depending on the size and your preference.
  • ¾ cup onion Diced
  • ¼ cup water (or red wine)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp basil *Fresh, roughly chopped, or 1 -2 tsp dried. TIP: Go easy on the seasoning if you plan to use this for recipes other than speghetti, like mousaka.
  • fresh or dried herbs I recommend a few basil leaves, a small sprig of rosemary, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano. Remove stemmed herbs after roasting. Or a tsp Italian seasoning blend, or to taste. *Or omit herbs for use in recipes with tomato sauce.
  • tsp baking soda Optional (use to reduce the acidity of the sauce.)
  • ½ tsp sugar Optional


  • Preheat your oven or grill to 400-450°F, and add the olive oil, diced onions, and water (or optional red wine) to your roasting pan.
  • Trim stem ends off of tomatoes, cut in half, and add to the pan. No need to cut up small tomatoes.
    Roasting Tomatoes for Sauce
  • Nestle in the fresh herbs and toss in the garlic cloves
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is cooked through and garlic cloves are soft, between 1 -1½ hours while scraping the browned bits down from the sides of the pan.
  • Using a spoon or tongs, squeeze the garlic out of the cloves, discard the peels, and stir it into the tomatoes.
  • Taste then sprinkle and stir in a small pinch, of ⅛-¼ tsp baking soda, stirring until it stops fizzing/bubbling. Taste again. The sauce should taste a little less acidic, and a bit sweeter. *Do not add over ½ tsp total baking soda total, it will ruin the sauce and add sodium.
  • Remove from heat. When it has cooled down some, remove the herb stems. Either run the sauce through your food mill or press it through a mesh strainer to remove the skins and seeds. Food mills are a pain to use, but they do a fantastic job of removing seeds and skins.
    *Alternatively, you could use tongs to remove and discard the skins and break up any large tomatoes.
    *You could also puree it in batches in a blender or food processor once it's cooled.
  • If you are serving it right away, return the strained or pureed sauce to the pan and heat it, or simmer it until it has reached your desired thickness.
  • Add pepper (to taste) and, if desired, add a small pinch of sugar.
    pasta baked with fresh roasted tomato sauce


*Nutritional value does not include red wine or sugar. Also will vary depending on the size and quantity of tomatoes.
*Alternate Recipe: Puree fresh tomatoes, onions, and peeled garlic, roast or simmer with herbs until reduced and flavorful.
The sauce freezes well for several months. I use it all fall, winter, and spring!


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 93kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 36mgPotassium: 575mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1927IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 1mg
Keyword fire roasted tomatoes, garden vegetables, gardening, homemade, low sodium, lower sodium, marinara, no salt, pasta sauce, reduced acid, reduced salt, roasted tomatoes, sunday sauce, tomato sauce
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