When I was a swinging single girl, I used to eat the following things for dinner on a rotating basis: instant rice with steamed broccoli, popcorn, and pasta with jarred sauce. Regardless of the brand I purchased, the sauce never had quite the right flavour for me—it was always too sweet or too garlicky, too bland or too bloat-inducing. I wasn't much of a cook back then (obviously), so I didn't know how easy it can be to make a basic tomato sauce.
These days, I make most things from scratch, including this easy basic tomato sauce. Jarred sauces often contain a lot of added sugar and sodium, and don't always hit the spot, flavourwise. The beauty of this recipe lies in its versatility—I will frequently add chopped sun-dried, canned, or oven-roasted tomatoes to it for a different flavour and texture, depending on what I have on hand. Roasted red peppers or onions are lovely additions, as well. My meat-loving family loves this sauce with meatballs or chicken sauteed in olive oil and garlic, and topped with cheese. The possibilities are endless, really.
When you're stuck for a meal idea, what could be easier than boiling up some pasta and making this sauce? Not much! It's healthier, faster, and much cheaper than ordering a pizza. What are you waiting for? Make this tonight!
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the crushed garlic. Cook for a minute or two until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Pour strained tomatoes into the saucepan, add baking soda, and stir. The sauce will foam up. When it stops foaming, add Italian seasoning or basil and oregano. Add cracked black pepper to taste.
Cook over medium until heated through, then simmer until ready to serve.
If desired, add diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or caramelized onions and serve with your favourite pasta. For the meat-lovers, serve with sauteed chicken breast or meatballs. Top with shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese, if desired.
NOTE: This sauce makes a great base for lasagna! It also freezes well for an even more quick and convenient weeknight dinner.
See for yourself how easy this is. Watch me whip up a batch of Easy Basic Tomato Sauce in a under two minutes!
Looking for more easy weeknight meal ideas? Try my Savoury Oven-Roasted Polenta, my Creamy Avocado Linguine, or my Lemon Basil Pasta.