A couple of weeks ago, I shared a commercially prepared tomato sauce that my family tried and enjoyed. Some of you let me know that prepared tomato sauces contain just way too much salt for you to enjoy. If you subscribe to my email newsletter you might know a few weeks ago I had to take a family member to the hospital for an angiogram, during the procedure, or shortly after he had a heart attack, not his first. In fact, I have a strong family history of heart disease at a young age. I get where you were coming from when you told me prepared sauce isn’t so awesome.
The American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure eat less that 1500mg per day, or less than 3/4 of a tablespoon of salt. The average 1/2 cup serving size of spaghetti sauce contains 500 mg of sodium, nearly 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance.
But I do have an alternative to store bought jars of sauce, and it is pretty awesome at the end of the growing season when you are harvesting a ton of tomatoes. I really don’t like to call this a recipe, it is more of a technique, that a friend taught me years ago, and it is really very simple, in fact, the amounts need not be exact. I’ve made this sauce many times without an exact recipe, and it has always turned out great! It is simply a guideline for make a delicious sauce using what you have harvested from your garden.
A few pointers
When deciding what you want for your sauce here are a few thoughts from my experiences:
- Carrots, when added to tomato sauces, they add a hint of sweetness and cut acidity levels. My husband has a hard time with the acidity for tomato sauces, this helps and is more nutritious than sugar!
- Dense tomatoes with fewer seeds will be your best bet for sauce making, although any tomato will work.
- I like my tomato sauce on the more substantial side, so I like to thicken it with tomato paste. We use Contadina in my family. My mother uses it, her mother used it, so I use it. It is just a given Contadina will be used in my house, it turns out it is actually pretty low in sodium also. But use whatever will not cause your mother to question where she went wrong with you 🙂
Fresh Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
- 3 pounds tomatoes (Amish paste or Roma are good)
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
- Use a sharp paring knife to core the tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half, I used the back of a spoon to scrape out the seeds and watery membrane, but this is purely preference; transfer tomatoes to one large (or two smaller) rimmed baking sheet; add onion, carrots, garlic, and thyme.
- Toss tomato mixture with oil; season with Homemade Pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.
- Spread in a single layer. Roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If vegetables begin to brown too quickly, push them toward the center of the sheet.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using tongs or your fingers, peel off tomato skins; discard. Transfer mixture (including juices) to a blender; pulse several times, until chunky.
- Add a few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and enough tomato paste to help reach desired thickness. Taste your sauce and see if it needs any further seasoning.
- Let cool completely; transfer to an airtight container.
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In place of heavy salting, I finish my sauce off with balsamic vinegar, it adds a nice rounded flavor, but red wine would also be a good addition. Like I said, this is just a guideline, play with it and make it your own!