Search

Best Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce

The best tomato and basil pasta sauce is a simple but fresh sauce made with tinned tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil. Full of flavour but low in calories.

best tomato and basil sauce mixed through penne

BEST TOMATO & BASIL PASTA SAUCE


Best ever?

I would say so. 

I started making fresh tomato and basil sauce for pasta when I was a student. 

It was an easy sauce I could make to feed myself and my friends.

Over the years the sauce has been tweaked to what I like to think is the best version of it. 

Back in my student days, I would never have added red wine to a sauce as it was too much of extravagance and I had to watch my pennies, but it does make a big difference to the favour. 

Originally I would have used dried basil, but of course, adding fresh basil gives such of pop of flavour to the sauce.


Try this sauce with Vegan Chickpea 'Meatballs'


A bowl of pasta coasted in tomato and basil sauce

HUSBANDS IN THE KITCHEN



I have to tell you a story about this sauce. 

It's fair to say my husband isn't confident in the kitchen, but he does occasionally make this sauce, one of the few recipes he can make from scratch.

My son and I have now banned him from making us pasta.

The last time he made pasta with this sauce for us was a disaster.

It looked and smelled great but my first forkful, then my second confirmed something was wrong. It tasted soapy, really soapy. 

We've come to the conclusion he must have drained the pasta too quickly into a soapy sink after doing some dishes and the soapy water filled up through the pasta before it drained away.

To say we are too nervous to let him make us pasta again is an understatement. 



Best Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce. A simple but fresh sauce. Full of flavour but low in calories. It's a real family favourite and suitable for a vegetarian, vegan or dairy free diet.

BASIC INGREDIENTS


This sauce is really easy to make and is full of flavour.

There are no fancy ingredients and it's cheap to make, so great if you are on a budget.

It's also so much nicer than shop-bought pasta sauce.


WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE


To make this delicious sauce you just need a few simple ingredients.

  1. olive oil
  2. onion
  3. garlic
  4. tinned tomatoes
  5. tomato puree
  6. balsamic vinegar
  7. sugar
  8. red wine
  9. fresh basil
  10. salt and pepper

A BUDGET VERSION OF THIS SAUCE?


This sauce can be made even simpler. 

You can reduce the ingredients even further and still have a delicious, fresh sauce.

  1. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  2. onion
  3. garlic (or garlic puree)
  4. tinned tomatoes
  5. dried basil
  6. salt and pepper
Use the same method and just a teaspoon of the dried basil will be enough in place of fresh basil.


WHY DO YOU ADD SUGAR TO A TOMATO SAUCE


A small amount of sugar is added to a homemade tomato sauce.

It's not to make it sweet, just to counteract any bitterness in the tomatoes and you only need a little,

Shop-bought pasta sauce can have a shocking amount of sugar added. We're not doing that here, it's just a little to balance the flavour.

Much healthier for your family.


basic tomato sauce for pasta


HOW DOES IT TASTE?


This sauce is delicious. 

It's rich with the flavour of tomatoes, but has a subtle flavour of basil too.

As you can see I'm generous with the sauce to pasta ratio. 

What can I say, it tastes so good and it's a healthy sauce too.




tin of chopped tomatoes

HEALTH BENEFITS OF COOKED TOMATOES


Did you know tomatoes are even healthier when they are cooked? 

It's true. 

Tomatoes are low in calories and high in antioxidants, dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. 

Once they are cooked the lycopene (which gives tomatoes their gorgeous red colour) is increased as are the vitamins and minerals. 

Usually, when you cook fruit or vegetables some vitamins and minerals are lost, but tomatoes are an exception to this rule, the lycopene. vitamins and minerals are increased and more easily absorbed by the body. 

Cornell University explain that lycopene is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.


LOW CALORIE SAUCE


This sauce is also low calorie and great for the 5:2 diet 

132 calories -  4 portions 
105 calories - 5 portions 
88 calories - 6 portions 

If you haven't heard, the 5:2 diet or fast diet as it is also known, has been updated this year (2017).

With the new 5:2 diet there are more calories to play with

Even though this sauce is low calorie you can really add those calories on fast with the pasta.

So remember to weigh out your pasta and go easy on that sprinkle of veggie or vegan parmesan.



HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE?


To cool this sauce quickly, remove from the pot and spoon into an airtight contaimer.

You can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days and re-heat when you are ready to serve.



CAN TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE BE FROZEN?


Tomato and basil sauce freezes really well.

Once cool, portion into an airtight, freezerproof tub or freezer bags and keep in the freezer for 3-4 months.

To defrost, pop in the fridge overnight, then heat when you are ready to serve.



pin it for later

Easy & low calorie tomato and basil tomato sauce


Follow me on PinterestFacebookTwitter and Instagram

Join my Facebook group Living on the Veg? It's a very friendly community with lots of recipes and chat. I'm in there every day chatting to group members.

Remember and say hi. I'm always happy to chat and answer questions



WHAT TO SERVE TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE WITH


Tomato and basil sauce is fabulous with pasta (I like it with penne or spaghetti) but it's also a good all round sauce to serve with other dishes. 

Here are a few recipes tomato and basil sauce work well with:


WANT NEW RECIPES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX ?


Sign up for my Tinned Tomatoes newsletter and my new and latest recipes will be delivered to your inbox (just links, no photos). Check your spam folder if it doesn't arrive.

Or you can subscribe and the latest recipe will be sent to your inbox with a photo.

Sign up for my Vegan Lunch Box newsletter for lunch ideas and recipes straight to your inbox when they are published.

tomato sauce, low calorie tomato sauce, pasta sauce, low calorie pasta sauce, tomato and basil pasta sauce, tomato sauce for pasta, vegan pasta sauce, dairy-free pasta sauce
dinner
Italian, vegan
Yield: 4-6
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Best Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce

Best Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce

The best tomato and basil pasta sauce is a simple but fresh sauce made with tinned tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil. Full of flavour but low in calories.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz) tins chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a generous glug of red wine
  • a generous handful of fresh basil, finely chopped or torn
  • a good grinding of salt & black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic until it is soft and translucent. Take your time with this, you don't want crunchy onion in the sauce.
  2. Once the onions are soft add the tomatoes, tomato puree, wine, balsamic vinegar and sugar and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  3. Add the fresh basil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve over freshly cooked pasta.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes:

Once cooled this sauce can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Once cooled, this sauce can be kept in the freezer for 3-4 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before heating.

For a nice change add chilli to this sauce to make a tasty arrabiata sauce with a kick.

Calories

131.61

Fat (grams)

3.98

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.55

Carbs (grams)

16.36

Fiber (grams)

3.55

Net carbs

12.81

Sugar (grams)

9.46

Protein (grams)

3.10

Sodium (milligrams)

164.08

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00

28 comments

  1. Yum. Your tomato basil sauce looks scrumptious! I didn't put wine in my sauce when I was in college either! I like your description - a generous glug of red wine! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Elaine, it's just a rather generous pour, but we often use the term glug here.

      Delete
  2. This pasta sauce sounds delicious! Made just the way I like it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tomatoes are so good for you, we eat a lot in our household. This recipe is fabulous, the simplest recipes are often the best and it can be used as a base for other Italian recipes too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes we do too although Cooper can be persuaded to eat uncooked tomatoes, but he does love pasta.

      Delete
  4. I think you're right. This may just be the best pasta sauce. I've added a glug of red wine before but never balsamic. It really sounds delicious and I will be making this recipe to the T in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good, do try adding the balsamic, it is subtle, but tastes great.

      Delete
  5. what do you mean by 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I mean two tins (cans) of chopped tomatoes. The tins here in the UK are sold in 400g. You basically need 800g tinned chopped tomatoes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yum I love a homemade tomato sauce and I bet adding red wine and balsamic adds tonnes of flavour. Will make this for my girls next week!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is one of those recipes which just 'does it', perfect. Bless your lovely husband and his soapy pasta!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love simple recipes like this - definitely upgraded with the red wine + fresh basil! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes do try adding them they do make a difference.

      Delete
  10. I cannot wait to try this lovely recipe! We adore a great pasta sauce and especially one with a big glug of wine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes me too, especially with a good glug of wine!

      Delete
  11. This pasta looks really beautiful - and I love that you suggest serving it with nut roast - I made pasties last week and they would have been great with some of this sauce too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes it is good with nut roast, I have served it with that a few times before, although I rather like my lentil and veggie haggis nut loaf with a creamy whisky sauce.

      Delete
  12. Simple is good! Especially with a glug of red wine - I agree it adds the best flavor!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such a good recipe for a simple, yet delicious everyday supper. Does remind me very much of student days.
    I would recommend making with the soap, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Back in my student days, I didn't use wine either... because I'd drink it instead! I still don't use it in my tomato sauces though - but that's because I'm not fond of red wine in cooking.

    There, I said it!

    (Hey, I'm Venetian, not French! LOL!)

    I did chuckle when I read about G's soapy poison pasta. Maybe he was just ahead of the clean eating curve!!

    In my younger days, I'd make a similar tomato sauce, lovingly taking my time over it... only to chuck in a tin of Sainsbury's mince when it was done. I even invited friends over for 'spag bol', and no one ever complained. It fair makes me shudder now! Ha ha!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love a good pasta sauce! This looks great!

    ReplyDelete
  16. There is nothing better than some lovely homemade tomato sauce simmering away on the stove!

    ReplyDelete
  17. This recipes has it all to be delicious! Hope I can get it right the first time!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x