Chunky Tomato Sauce

Chunky Tomato Sauce/Salsa de Tomate de la Abuela

This chunky tomato sauce is so versatile that you can use it for pasta, pizza, vegetables, or even a chili recipe. It’s basic and while most basic things can be thought of as boring, this sauce is anything but boring, it has a ton of flavor.  With that said, I make a lot of it, and I keep in the refrigerator at all times. On busy weeknights, this recipe helps me prepare dishes very fast.

Chunky Tomato Sauce/Salsa de Tomate de la Abuela

I like to keep the sauce chunky, for serving with pasta, and when I add it to a pot of chili, but when using it as a pizza sauce or on an eggplant parmesan sandwich, I tend to blend it to get a smooth consistency.

Chunky Tomato Sauce/Salsa de Tomate de la Abuela

You can easily change the flavor of this sauce, by adding swapping out the basil for cinnamon and anise star for a Moroccan style sauce or add some ancho or chipotle chili, and cilantro for a Mexican dish. Just eliminate the basil, add the spices and herbs that work best for the dish you want to use it with and you’re done, that’s why I love starter recipes, they help you become a more adventurous cook, by giving you a baseline and being delicious on their own, they help to ignite your creativity.  I hope you try this recipe, it’ll elevate all of your tomato sauce dishes.

Chunky Tomato Sauce/Salsa de Tomate de la Abuela

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Chunky Tomato Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A vegan chunky tomato sauce, full of Italian flavors, perfect for pasta, pizza, and vegetables. Just like grandma used to make, with onions, tomatoes, garlic, basil and bell peppers.
Recipe type: Vegan Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 cups
  • 1 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 - 28 oz (796 ml) can Italian peeled tomatoes
  • 1 - 5.5 oz (162 ml) can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 fresh basil leaves OR 1.5 tablespoons of dried basil
  1. Finely dice the onions and the bell pepper.
  2. Mince or thinly slice the garlic.
  3. Open the peeled tomato can, and the tomato paste can.
  4. Measure out the olive oil and set aside.
  5. Get your blender out and set it aside.
  6. To start the sauce, heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat.
  7. Then add the oil, onions and the peppers.
  8. Next, add a pinch of salt and let the onions gently cook until they soften and just begin to turn a slight golden color.
  9. Once they’re ready, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute or so, just until softened.
  10. While the garlic is cooking, add the contents of the canned whole tomatoes into your blender and the 8 fresh basil leaves. Blend until smooth.
  11. Empty the contents of the blender into the pot and then stir in the tomato paste, and the water, let it gently cook for a few minutes until it becomes a shade darker.
  12. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, to taste.
  13. Stir to combine the tomato paste well and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
  14. Once the sauce has finished cooking, turn off the heat and enjoy.
1. Once the sauce has cooled, it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days or it can be frozen for several months. However, it may be a bit watery once it thaws, so it will need to be cooked down slightly when reheated.
2. I usually double this recipe to get 8 cups of sauce and I freeze half of it.

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