Best Quick Tomato Sauce
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This is the best quick tomato sauce recipe I've experimented with. Using pantry staples, this tomato sauce will simply and healthily elevate any pasta dish.
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more to taste)
  • 2 fresh vine tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 28 oz. can organic crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or one tablespoon of maple syrup)
  • zest of half a lemon (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the garlic, sea salt and red pepper flakes.
  2. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the fresh tomato, if using, and stir.*
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar (or maple syrup) and bring to a boil.*
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until desired consistency.*
  6. Remove from heat and add lemon zest if using.*
I often use fresh tomatoes in the summer, but omit in the winter. The sauce tastes great even without them.

While you may be tempted to omit the sweetener, don't. It cuts the acidity of the tomatoes, allowing their flavor to come through. For a sugar-free option, you could try stevia, though I haven't experimented with this.

After bringing to a boil I have cooked this sauce for as little time as 5 minutes and for as long as 20 minutes. I prefer it a thicker consistency (i.e. the longer cooking time), but the flavor is delicious regardless.

The lemon zest gives the sauce a much lighter flavor; I tend to add the zest in the spring and summer months and omit it during fall and winter.
Recipe by Our Four Forks at