Learn how to make the BEST Fresh Tomato Sauce! This simple recipe is ready in minutes and makes a delicious, easy dinner when paired with spaghetti ... it's the perfect way to use fresh, summer tomatoes!
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Wondering what to do with fresh tomatoes? There are so many ways to use this yummy summer veggie, but this mouthwatering Fresh Tomato Sauce is one of my absolute favorites!
You are going to love this homemade Pasta Sauce! It really doesn't get any simpler or more satisfying, and I can't think of a better way to show off tomatoes fresh from the garden (or farmers market).
If you're intimidated by making homemade sauces, making Tomato Sauce from fresh tomatoes is a great place to start. The ingredients are minimal, the technique is simple, and the results are mouthwateringly delicious.
Best of all, this recipe is fast! You can cook the sauce and the pasta in about 30 minutes. Make it for busy weeknights or for a no-fuss summer dinner party ... either way, everyone at your table is sure to love it.
Ready to start cooking? Keep reading for all the details, then make it for dinner tonight!
This recipe uses simple, fresh, easy to find ingredients! Here's what you'll need:
- Tomatoes - Obviously, the best tomatoes you can find are a must. Fresh from the garden or farmers market is best, but store bought can also be used. Do they smell like fresh, delicious tomatoes? Are they juicy feeling, not rock hard? Then, you're good to go.
- Onions + Garlic - A combo of onions and garlic creates a savory base for your sauce.
- Olive Oil - You'll cook the sauce in extra virgin olive oil.
- Basil - Tomatoes and basil are one of those Italian summer pairings that's hard to improve upon. You'll add the basil at the end of the cooking time to preserve its fresh flavor.
- Pasta - I used spaghetti here, but other long, thin pastas (such as linguine) may also be used. Small shells (like conchiglie) work well at capturing the sauce, too.
This recipe is naturally vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free, which means that everyone at your dinner table can enjoy it!
You'll Also Need
You'll need a large skillet to prepare the Marina Sauce (this nonstick frying pan works perfectly), as well as a large pot to cook the pasta (I used my fave dutch oven). I'd also recommend using pair of tongs to toss the sauce with the pasta.
How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce
Making Tomato Sauce with fresh tomatoes is quick, easy, and so delicious ... it's all about simple, fresh flavors! You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Saute onions + garlic. You'll begin by sauteing the onions in olive oil. Season them with a little salt to help build the flavors in your sauce. Once the onions start turning golden brown on the edges, stir in some garlic. Cook that for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly ... it should smell garlicky and delicious.
- Add tomatoes. Stir the tomatoes to your onions and garlic, then bring your sauce to a simmer. Continue cooking your sauce until the tomatoes have softened and broken down, and it's nice and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Tip: Some Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce recipes call for peeling tomatoes, but that's a pain in the you know what. We're keeping things simple here, so no peeling required.
- Mix in basil. Once the sauce has thickened, season it to taste, then stir in the fresh basil.
- Cook pasta. Once your sauce begins simmering, cook the pasta in a pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta. Tip: I used spaghetti here, but other long, thin shapes (like linguine) work, too.
- Combine pasta and sauce. Add the pasta to the finished sauce and toss everything together (tongs work best for this), adding just enough of the reserved pasta water as you do to help the sauce coat the spaghetti. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan and extra basil (or skip the cheese to keep things vegan).
And that's all there is to it ... your homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce is ready to eat! You are going to love this easy recipe. It's the perfect way to use summer produce for a fast and delicious dinner!
Once you've mastered this basic Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce recipe, feel free to change things up a bit! There are so many easy ways to customize this recipe ... here are some easy ideas:
- Veggies - Saute other fresh vegetables, like bell peppers, zucchini / summer squash eggplant, and more, along with the onions. You could also stir in some spinach near the end of the cooking time.
- Olives - Add your favorite olives (briny Kalamata or milder Castelvetrano olives would both work well) along with the tomatoes for another layer of flavor. Capers would also be delish!
- Artichokes - Canned artichokes would also work really well in this sauce.
- Herbs - Change up the flavor by experimenting with other fresh herbs, such as oregano, thyme, Italian parsley, or rosemary.
- Spicy - Add some heat by stirring in crushed red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste along with the garlic.
For an easy summer dinner, this homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes makes a wonderful one bowl meal! For a more rounded meal, add an easy salad. I'd Try this Quick Chopped Salad, simple Green Salad, Easy Kale Salad, or this classic Garden Salad.
Craving more easy pasta ideas? Then, you'll love these recipes, too:
- Roasted Tomato Sauce (also made with fresh tomatoes!)
- Pesto Pasta
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Alfredo Sauce
- Roasted Tomato Pasta
- Marinara Sauce
- Pasta Primavera
- Baked Feta Pasta
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you still have questions about making this easy sauce? Here are a few frequently asked questions to help you out!
You do not have to peel tomatoes for sauce. While many recipes call for blanching and peeling the tomatoes first, it's not necessary for this sauce (nor for most sauces). As long as you use fresh, in season tomatoes, you can leave the skin on and save lots of time in the process.
Almost any kind of tomato works for homemade sauce. Look for juicy, super flavorful tomatoes for the best results (such as from the garden or farmers market). This sauce is cooks quickly, so any tomato you'd enjoy eating raw in a salad or sandwich is an excellent option.
You do not need to seed tomatoes for sauce. The seeds are surrounded by the juiciest (and often most flavorful) part of the tomato. If you remove the seeds, your sauce won't have enough liquid and may be bland tasting.
Do not put sugar in spaghetti sauce. You're going for fresh, bright flavors here, not a long-simmered, hearty sauce. If you feel that the sauce is too acidic, try adding a pinch of baking soda instead.
To thicken fresh tomato sauce, continue simmering it until you achieve the right consistency. Make sure to use a large, wide pan (like a deep skillet), which will help excess liquids evaporate faster. Cooking your sauce in a smaller pan will make the process take longer.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 medium tomatoes, diced (4 cups)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 pound spaghetti
- kosher salt
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion to skillet and season with a little salt. Cook until onion starts turning golden brown, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Mix in tomatoes. Simmer until tomatoes break down and sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Season sauce to taste with salt. Stir in fresh basil.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until al dente. Remove ½ cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta.
- Add pasta to sauce. Toss, adding just enough of the reserved pasta water to help the sauce coat the pasta evenly.
- Serve pasta immediately, topped with additional basil and grated Parmesan, if desired. Enjoy!