Everyone needs a go-to recipe for tomato sauce in their repertoire. This recipe is quick, easy and packs a ton of flavor. It can be used in so many dishes; amps up pizza, pasta and even cheese and crackers.

Classic Tomato Sauce | Zestful Kitchen

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Classic Tomato Sauce | Zestful Kitchen

Classic Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Zestful Kitchen


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • ⅛teaspoon celery seed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent and tender.
  3. Add fennel seed and celery seed, sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes and bay leaf and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you prefer your tomato sauce to be a little sweeter add another tablespoon of honey.
  8. Top with fresh chopped basil right before serving.


Store refrigerated in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

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Classic Tomato Sauce | Zestful Kitchen

I love this sauce; it is a great go-to for any night of the week. This recipe is a product of the years spent hovering over my mom’s shoulder in the kitchen. This sauce is not identical to my mother’s because, like many, she has never written it down. I do believe that some of the greatest dishes do not come from recipes. As cliché as it is, great food comes from love and history.

Classic Tomato Sauce | Zestful Kitchen

Treat this recipe as a starting point, mix it up and add spices and seasonings to make it your own. If you want to use the sauce for pasta, puree half or all of the sauce for the consistency you are looking for.

Pile tomato sauce on toasted bread with some basil and a drizzle of balsamic for a fresh bruschetta.

Serve this sauce alongside cheese and crackers or baked brie for a perfect appetizer.

Classic Tomato Sauce | Zestful Kitchen

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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