Homemade tomato sauce is easy to make and even easier to customize! In this variation on a classic, balsamic vinegar adds extra sweetness, acid and umami to the tomatoes, while the lemon adds balance with some fresh citrusy tang. The chili garlic gives it a little more of a kick if you want it on the spicier side! This is a great way to use up any old tomatoes that may be on the edge — I made this with some old homegrown tomatoes that were about to go bad, so I cut off any damaged parts and now have a sauce that will last for at least another week!
As a note, this recipe can be scaled up or down. It makes about 1 liter of sauce.
- 14-16 medium to large tomatoes
- 20 small or cherry tomatoes
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ small lemon
- 3 sprigs thyme (leaves only)
- 5 sage leaves (roughly chopped)
- 5-7 leaves basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce (optional, and also can be to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Wash tomatoes and cut off stems. Tomatoes can be left whole or cut in half. Smash 2 garlic cloves with the side of a knife and mince the rest. Slice lemon half into rounds.
- Heat a large pan or pot on low heat. Add olive oil and the smashed garlic cloves. Fry until lightly golden.
- Place tomatoes, cut side down, into the pan/pot. Cover and let boil in their own liquid until they are soft (15-30 minutes on low heat).
- Using a large fork, gently push down on the tomatoes to crush them. If some are still firm, leave them to simmer for longer. Add the lemon slices, thyme, sage, oregano, parsley, smoked paprika and sugar.
- Simmer until the sauce is thick and has reduced approximately halfway (1 hour), or until it reaches a preferred thickness. Occasionally mash the tomatoes with a fork and scrape down the sides and bottom of the pan/pot.
- Take off the heat and add balsamic vinegar and minced garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Add chili garlic sauce (optional). You can also add more lemon juice and balsamic vinegar to taste!
- (Optional) Immersion blend the sauce to get rid of tomato skins and the 2 whole garlic cloves (remove lemon slices first).
Feel free to modify this recipe and the quantities of any ingredients to taste! Add this sauce in any recipe where you would use regular tomato sauce, use it as a spread on toast or even eat it on its own! Enjoy!