Tomato season – aka my favorite season – is finally here! Isn´t it the best time of the year when there is red, yellow, orange, and green balls in every size around? Every restaurant offers fresh tomato dishes and there is no excuse needed for snacking on small tomatoes all day long? Yep – it is the best time of the year.
Tomatoes are my favorite fruits (Yes, they are fruits! Berries to be exact)! have been eating them every day since I have been little. My mom used to buy baskets of small cherry tomatoes at some point in the morning, and by the time she wanted to prepare dinner they were all gone. I don´t know how often it has happened that I´ve snacked all the tomatoes away that we would have needed for dinner. Too often!
Tomatoes do not only taste ah-mazing!, but they are also super healthy. Unlike other fruits or vegetables tomatoes do not loose nutritional value when being cooked. They do loose vitamin C, but their content of their beneficial trans-lycopene increases immensely when being cooked. They offer a great spectrum of vitamins and antioxidants, are heart healthy and reduce your blood pressure. They are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. They are super hydrating and contain about 95% water. They are also super skin-healthy and can help to prevent sunburns. I loved eating them before I knew all of those nutritional benefits but now I love it even more to in cooperate them into my diet!
This sauce recipe is pretty traditional as you would find it in Italy. It is made with celery and carrots, as done in the home country of tomato sauce, but I believe that this also is a great way to sneak in more vegetables. You cannot taste the celery or the carrot in the sauce but it still adds a nice earthy note to the sauce.
The fresh oregano and basil add a fresh flavor and the chili, which is optional, give the sauce a spicy kick. But be careful with the amount you add in, and the spiciness of the chili as you can easily go overboard with it. When I made this recipe I added a whole lot of chili flakes (which I have stupidly never tried before), and the sauce turned out sooo spicy. My family and me were sweating quite a lot when eating it hahaha, so be careful!
Some people like to add sugar into the sauce to make it sweeter but I do not think that this is necessary when using the right tomatoes. If you buy the tomatoes make sure to ask which ones are best to use for sauces as different tomatoes have different qualities. Another tip of mine when cooking with tomatoes is salt! Salt is the key to bring out the flavors in tomato sauce. Best to use is salt that is very little processed such as Himalaya salt or sea salt.
I decided to use fresh onions and garlic in this recipe as I always prefer the fresh products over the powder. I believe that the powdered spice version is a great substitute when only cooking a small amount or when wanting to spice something only a little but I personally prefer fresh vegetables. They just add more flavor and texture into the dish.
This tomato sauce could be served very well traditionally, with pasta or I do really like it with meatballs to. It can also be used to make a shakshuka or even in an Indian curry, like Tikka Masala. I like to prepare a rather big batch of it, so I can freeze it easily and just heat it up whenever I need it or am in a rush. Simply stored in the fridge it would last for about 1 ½ to 2 weeks.
Italian Tomato Sauce (V, SF, S)
This is a very easy recipe for a traditional recipe for our loved tomato sauce. Only a few ingredients and packe with flavor to make use of the delicious red fruits that are in season right now. (Vegan, Sugarfree, Seasonal)
What you will need
- 1,5 kg tomatoes about 4 medium to big ones
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 1 carrot
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp salt at least! Preferably sea salt
- chili flakes as desired
- 1/2 tbsp pepper
- 1 handful oregano
- 1 handful basil
Start by removing the green stem from the tomatoes. Then turn the tomato around so that the top side, where the stem has been is facing down. Take a sharp knife and carefully slice a small cross into the skin. This will help you later when cooking and peeling.
In a pot bring water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Place the tomatoes into the pot and let them simmer for about 30-45 seconds. Flip them around and simmer for another 30-45 seconds. Take them out and transfer them into an ice bath so they cool quickly.
While the tomatoes are cooling, finely peel and chop up the onion and the garlic and set them aside. Peel the carrots and chop it up along with the celery. Heat up the olive oil in a big pot. When hot add the onion and garlic and let sweat for about 2 minutes on medium heat.
Take the tomtatoes out of the ice bath and you will notice that the skin has taken off a little where you have cut the tomatoes before. You can now easily peel of the skin, you wont need it anymore. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and add them to the other vegetables in the pot. Let that simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
When the liquid has reduced and thickend pour the cooked tomato-vegetable mix into a blender. If you prefer to have some tomatoe chunks in you sauce, then reserve some of them and set them aside. Blend the rest until smooth and pour back into the pot along with the chunks if you reserved some. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, and chili.
Let the sauce simmer at low heat for another 45 minutes at least. The longer the sauce simmers, the more the flavor will come out, this can be simmered for several hours if the time is available.
A few minutes before chop up the basil and add into the sauce. The sauce can be served with pasta, rice, meatballs or anything you like. The sauce can be stored in the fridge for about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. It can be kept in the fridge for several months, just thaw before using and heat it up again.
I hope that you will enjoy the recipe!