Perfect Tomato Sauce

Nothing beats a good homemade tomato sauce. No, sir. No, ma’am. I know there are many recipes out there but this one is my favorite. My mom’s is really my first favorite and this one somewhat stems from it and is therefore a favorite as well. A good tomato sauce can take any dish from average to fabulous. It can make a world of difference in pasta, soups, casseroles, pizza, beans, marinades, fish, rice, dips, and much, much more. Well, you get the idea… it can be used in everything! — except, debatably, desserts. I hope you like this one; it is perfect.




Yield: 2 1/2 CUPS

Prep Time: 5 MIN

Cook Time: 25 MIN


4 large ripe tomatoes (1.75 to 2 pounds)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon harissa or other hot sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons tomato paste


Halve the tomatoes and grate them using the large holes of a box grater into a medium saucepan. Alternatively, you could peel and puree them in a blender or food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the tomato paste. Bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce until it looks thicker, 20 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional 2 minutes.



8 Responses to “Perfect Tomato Sauce”

  1. 1

    Monique — 06/04/2012 @ 5:45 am

    I like the white vinegar and honey.I will ahve to try:)

  2. 2

    Bria @ WestofPersia — 06/04/2012 @ 7:22 am

    This looks elegant and simple, Nisrine. Love the addition of harissa. I will be trying this.

  3. 3

    Oriane — 06/04/2012 @ 2:00 pm

    Bonjour Nisrine,

    It is tomatoe harvest at my house. Your timing is perfect. I’ve been looking for a good and easy recipe and will try yours. What type of tomatoes do you typically use for your sauce?

    Comme toujours, un grand merci :)

  4. 4

    Nisrine — 06/04/2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Bonjour Oriane,

    I like to use standard globe tomatoes because they are fleshy. Roma tomatoes are also great for sauce. Whichever tomatoes you choose, you will need 1.75 to 2 lbs.

  5. 5

    Oriane — 06/04/2012 @ 5:07 pm

    All right, thanks for the info.

    Happy cooking everyone!

  6. 6

    Eha — 06/04/2012 @ 6:02 pm

    Oh, it is so easy to be lazy and reach for a bottle in the store ;( ! But this recipe seems so easy, is not for too large an amount and will be filed for when we have new season’s tomatoes. Love the touch of the harissa and honey :) !

  7. 7

    Mouna — 06/23/2012 @ 4:40 am

    Hello Nisrine,
    I’m discovering your wonderful blog. It makes me finally want to try all these traditionnal moroccan recipes! I’m tired of my mother telling me “iwa inek mizanek a benti” (litterally “well, your eye is your scale my daughter!”). Your recipes seem precise, and I love your fusion between moroccan cuisine and… well, everything else :)
    I just wanted to ask if this tomato sauce froze well? I’m relieved it doesn’t contain parsley or cilantro! ;)

  8. 8

    Nisrine — 06/25/2012 @ 6:05 am

    Mouna – tomato sauce freezes well in a hermetically sealed container.

    Glad you enjoy my blog. Thank you.

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