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Quick Chunky Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 cups 1x


Grating a sweet onion for the sauce serves two purposes: the small pieces soften super quick, and it adds a touch of sweetness to the sauce, eliminating the need for added sugar.


  • 2 T olive oil (your best)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 1/2 C grated sweet onion, with juices (1 small)
  • 2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh herbs (optional; pictured: basil)


  1. Drain tomatoes and reserve juice for another use (such as a curry or for cooking rice). Gently squeeze each tomato to seed, then roughly chop or use your hands to squeeze and break up tomatoes into large chunks. You should have around 3 1/2 cups.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until onion is softened and starting to stick to the pan. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. As tomatoes soften, use your spoon to chop and press tomatoes against the sides of the pan, breaking them down further.
  3. Off heat, remove garlic and stir in remaining tablespoon of oil plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir in fresh herbs and serve or refrigerate.


Liberally adapted from Deborah Madison and Mark Bittman.

As written, the recipe is vegan and gluten free.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Italian