Aromatic Tomato Sauce Recipe

Aromatic Tomato Sauce Recipe

This aromatic tomato sauce recipe has more character than your average tomato sauce. If you like spices, you’ll love this recipe. I created it some years ago, by adding fresh spices that I like to pair with tomatoes.

A perfect base for many dishes…Great to have at hand!

The aroma comes from…

  • Balsamic vinegar which adds a little bit of acidity and a lot of flavour.
  • Strawberries give fragrance and sweetness. 
  • The touch of tarragon results in a round aftertaste. 
  • The garlic; half crushed and half whole, gives the right amount of garlic in the palate.
  • The quantity of spices in the recipe (cumin, turmeric, tarragon,) make the sauce more interesting without covering the tomato flavour.

My advice is to keep the homemade tomato sauce in a closed container in the fridge. Use it as a base for several recipes.

In some recipes that I’ve published, I make the tomato sauce at the last minute and therefore, adjust the ingredients, quantities and instructions to the recipe. However, when I make a batch of this aromatic tomato sauce, I want the taste and texture to be versatile and to easily blend with many other ingredients or dishes. Therefore, this is the recipe for one litre of aromatic, beautifully orange and smooth tomato sauce.

Tips for the perfect aromatic tomato sauce

  • I add chilli because I love a hint of spice in my food. However, if you don’t like spicy food, omit the chilli or add a mild version.
  • It is a good idea to blend and strain the sauce in order to have a smooth texture.


Makes: 1 litre

1 ½ kg Tomatoes

3 Garlic cloves

1 Red onion

3 Strawberries

1 Fresh birds eye chilli pepper

3 Bay leaves

2 Stems of basil

1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

½ tsp Cumin

2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

A pinch of Turmeric

½ tsp Dried tarragon

¾ tsp Coarse sea salt


How to easily peel tomatoes?

  1. Remove the core, make an incision in the shape of a cross at the other end,
  2. Dip in boiling water for eight seconds and peel pulling the skin from the cross incision. It should peel off easily.

Prep work:

  • Peel tomatoes and cut in six pieces, once lengthwise and twice across,
  • Peel onion and cut thin strips lengthwise,
  • Cut garlic cloves in half lengthwise and remove the germ,
  • Chop chilli,
  • Rinse strawberries, remove the stem and cut in four pieces.

How to make the tomato sauce:

  1. Sweat onions in olive oil with sea salt at medium heat until soft and translucent,
  2. Add garlic cloves (½ crushed and ½ whole,) and the chopped chilli,
  3. When the crushed garlic starts to smell smoky, add strawberries, mix for a minute and reduce the heat,
  4. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, set the heat to medium and cook for five minutes,
  5. Add the spices (cumin, turmeric, tarragon,) the basil stems and mix,
  6. When tomatoes are soft and disintegrating, add balsamic vinegar and cook in low heat for 30 minutes revolving from time to time,
  7. Remove from the heat – almost all tomatoes should be pureed,
  8. Let cool down uncovered in the saucepan for at least 15 minutes,
  9. Remove basil stems, bay leaves and blend until smooth,
  10. Strain and taste,
  11. Adjust seasoning if necessary and store in the fridge in a closed container.

How to use this tomato sauce for dishes on the go?

  1. Grill round thick slices of aubergine, place on a baking pan, brush a generous amount of tomato sauce on top, add mozzarella cheese, and bake in the oven until the cheese melts. Top with basil leaves, olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar/glaze. Serve on a bed of green salad.
  2. Make cous cous, add some tomato sauce, mix well and top with avocado slices and salt flakes to add some freshness. This is a quick meal to make and low in calories, especially if you use whole wheat cous cous.

Tomato sauce may be used as a base for:

  • Risotto, 
  • Meatballs, 
  • Sautéed rice, 
  • Cous cous, 
  • Quinoa, 
  • Lentils,
  • Your favourite pasta,
  • Topped with with herbs, seafood, vegetables or your favourite ingredients.

Be creative and make good use of a flavourful sauce ready made from scratch. Remember that all the flavour comes from spices, herbs, fruit and vegetables therefore, eat without guilt!

Let me know what you mix it with…share your ideas in the comment section!

You may also like to read more recipes with tomato sauce:
Tomato and red bell pepper risotto
Spicy spaghetti with tomatoes
Meatballs in tomato sauce with a twist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.