Easy, delicious Tomato Sauce. Roast ’em!

I’ve discovered many, many, many, many things about myself over the years.

Things like my weird love of the word many.

But the most important thing I’ve learned about myself is that I will always take seconds. If I make dinner, I will get up for seconds. If I go out for dinner to a friend’s or relative’s house I will get up for seconds.

It doesn’t matter how side splittingly full I am after the first plate, I want more.  My stomach could be so stretched out from food that I’m screaming in pain and I would still fart my way over to the casserole and take another helping.

I’m fun like that.

Once I understood this interesting fact about myself, I conspired to trick myself. It was kindda hard. I’m clever, but  on the other hand … so am I.

I came up with a plan a couple of years ago and I’ve fooled myself with it ever since. Think this whole fooling myself thing is dumb? How many of you out there change the time on your bedside clock and yet every single morning you wake up too stupid to know what time it really is.

So what I do (knowing I will NO MATTER WHAT take a second serving of food) is make my first serving smaller. Yeah. It was that simple. Instead of my regular end of the day lumberjack sized serving, I take a little less. So when I get my second serving, I’m really only eating the amount of food I would normally eat (not necessarily *should* eat).

I’m a profound overeater at dinner. More than once the neighbours have found me rolling around on the front lawn with a fork in one hand and a bottle of Gaviscon in the other crying incoherently about a tumour in my stomach which is really 17 meatballs.

Did somebody say meatballs? I have a great sauce for those!

This summer I swore I wasn’t going to waste a single vegetable I grew. That didn’t come true. I wasted all kinds. It’s almost impossible to use every single thing you grow, or even give it away. You go up to the garden and a watermelon you thought wouldn’t be ripe for a few days got ripe overnight and rotten within a few days. Tomatoes are bitten by bacteria riddled raccoon monsters or a cucumber sits on the kitchen counter with good intentions of turning it into something. Which you do. You turn it into a rotting mess.

So when all of my 15 tomato plants started to produce ripe tomatoes at the exact same time I knew I had to formulate a plan or forever think of myself as the tomato waster.



Last year I roasted all of my extra tomatoes and froze them. Which was great. They were delicious. But you still had to make them into a bit of a sauce once you took them out of the freezer. Boil them down a bit, add some liquid, some more seasoning … that sort of thing.

So this year I went another route. I roasted my tomatoes but I added a few more things to the roasting pan and added one more step.

This is really easy so feel free to use only a portion of your brain to read this post.

I forgot to mention to drizzle the bottom of the pan and the top of the tomatoes with olive oil. A pretty good glug.




Just throw everything on the pan.   The only thing you really have to remember is only having a single layer on the pan, and allowing space in between the ingredients.  This will stop your tomatoes from steaming instead of roasting.

One pan like this will get you around 3 servings of sauce.




Roast everything in the oven at a lowish temperature, (around 300F) for a few hours.  You just have to keep checking on them.  You only need to stir them 2 or three times to make sure they’re evenly roasted.



Once all the ingredients are roasted and your kitchen smells like you really know what you’re doing, pull the tomatoes out and let them cool a bit.  Remove the bay leaf.  If you don’t like a lot of heat remove one or both of the peppers.

Now you have 2 choices.  

Use the roasted tomatoes on your pasta as is, which is rustic and delicious.  Or blend them into more of a sauce.

To make them into a sauce, put everything else in your blender and blend until you like the consistency.

I did one batch completely blended so there was no trace of tomato skins or seeds, and another batch I left more rough, with bits of tomatoes and skin visible.



Then I spooned serving sizes onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and froze them. Once they’re frozen you can just pop them off the waxed paper and put them in a freezer bag or tupperware and return them to the freezer.

I ended up pulling one out right away because I wanted to make chicken parmesan.I always want to make chicken parmesan, but I don’t because I can never be bothered to make a whole batch of sauce for the 3 tablespoons I need for the recipe to top the chicken. This sauce, always on hand in the freezer, solves that problem.

It does not however, solve the always taking a second serving problem. At all.



  1. Jacquie Gariano says:

    I started a small garden this year but due to health issues, it died and was over grown by weeds. But I go the local farmers market for my veggies and get wonderful tomatoes, etc. This is a great recipe to make this year for my annual tomato sauce canning. Thanks so much for this new sauce recipe. I’m looking forward to having this around when I need it. I frequently cook for only 1 or 2 and this is ideal.

  2. Barb says:

    Well Karen I can’t believe it and you won’t either. I scurried home from work, ran to the garden and I have my tomatoes, hot peppers, basil and oregano roasting away. After all these years you have finally moved me to action!

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Barb!!! Good job, lol. Let me know how they turn out. If you have them in at 275 it’ll be about 4 hrs or so. ~ karen!

  3. Ellen says:

    Well I will be busy today…thanks to you. And I do mean THANKS!!!! I’m another reader who is trying not to waste food.

  4. Paula says:

    I discovered roasted tomato sauce last year when I had a bumper crop of heirlooms which were too strong tasting for me. It didn’t occur to me to blend them and I didn’t want the seeds and skins so I smooshed them through a sieve. Yep, you are so right! Roasted tomato sauce has spoiled me for all others!

  5. Linda says:

    Of course, I like to do stuff and swear, even drink a little, and have fun doing it all

  6. Kim says:

    First you make me throw up in my mouth with the chicken eggs…now you make me want to try this lovely sauce….you are just a lil charmer….thanks Karen!

  7. SarahP says:

    Thanks Karen. I have 4 tomato plants flourishing in my garden and I’m the only one that eats fresh tomatoes. I’ll be roasting a batch (or 2) this week.

    • Karen says:

      I’m so glad you’re going to do this SarahP! I vowed that THIS was the year I didn’t waste a single tomato. A tough challenge when there’s only me against 35 or so tomato plants, lol. ~ karen!

  8. Lori Jones says:

    Hey Karen , do you add any liquid to the blender??
    going to have to go get me a few tomatoes to try this, looks sooo good.
    OH you ask why go get tomatoes?? well my tomatoes either got taken or did not ripen. In fact i have a tomato bush from hell that have not ripened and they have been on the vine( vine?? or plant) for months!!
    i have taken them off and put them in a window and they still are Green!! or rolling around the house cause the cats think they are their new toy.
    thanks for the recipe!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori! I don’t add liquid. With the tomatoes it should come out the perfect consistency! But if you maybe roasted them a bit to long and they don’t have enough liquid left, just add a bit of water to the blender. No big whoop. ~ karen!

  9. Margaret Bouniol says:

    I’ve been trying to get the word out about how easy roasted tomato sauce is with not a lot of success. Obviously you’ve been reading my mind clear out here on the west coast! Did I mention that I freeze mine so I have it all year. Along with butt loads of pesto too.

  10. Margaret Bouniol says:

    You stole my idea!!! Yeah! I’ve been making tomato sauce this way for years with excess garden tomatoes. It’s almost a roasted ratatouille (sp ?). Try over ripe fruit in the mix too. I started making tomato sauce this way when I got tired of cooked tomato sauce sploops all over my stove. Straining it with the food mill also sucks.

  11. Mindy says:

    We are overeating kin folk. I have the exact same disease. Only I like to go in for thirds quite often. Feeling like you’ll explode isn’t quite painful enough for the likes of me. I like to add on the chance of vomiting. Then, 30 minutes later, I’m rummaging around for something salty. It’s a sickness. A food whore’s sickness. I just love all the foods. Hence, the reasoning behind being crowned the craziest Pinterest food hoarding lady. Yeah, I read the comments of people talking smack about my boards on your post. They’re just jealous they weren’t invited to dinner. ;)
    As for THIS post, I have two GIANT bowls of tomatoes in my fridge as I type. I really need to do this tomorrow. I’ve always frozen slow roasted tomatoes, but never pureed them first. Not a bad idea.

  12. I need to try this! I love recipes where the oven/slow cooker/something else does the majority of the work. great post!

  13. Jess says:

    Oh I am so doing this for the weekend.
    I was planning on canning, but I just end up feeling overwhelmed with the cleaning and the boiling of stuff. For this weekend this seems totally doable :-D Thank you for the inpiration ♥

  14. Diane Amick says:

    Just put my tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs in the oven. I am so excited!!! Never in a million years would I decide to can those little buggers, but roasting I can do. Thank you so much for this idea. Can’t wait to see how fabulous this tastes.

  15. Linda says:

    My hubby brought home a flat of hothouse tomatoes – what to do? I saw this and thought oven dried tomatoes turned into sauce – no slaving over a hot stove taking the skins off the tomatoes, seeding them, chopping them and making traditional tomato sauce. Thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Excellent! Since you won’t be adding any cherry tomatoes, add about a tablespoon of sugar. Just add it into the blender while you’re mixing everything. The hothouse tomatoes won’t have very much sweetness to them so it just cuts the acid a bit. And don’t forget to roast them, not dry them. Enjoy! ~ karen!

  16. Sandra says:

    I discovered that zebra tomatoes are ripe with they have a yellow cast to them. So, I’ve had ONE ripe one. After the snow earlier this month, I’ve picked a bowl full and they’re on the counter, slowly ripening. I had some tomatoes (chopped) in the freeze (since last year), then a friend gave me some fresh ones, so I made salsa out of them yesterday – got almost 10 pints.

    Wow, from tomato envy (your tomato taste post), to freezer envy. I could never be able to freeze 25 quarts of tomatoes! No room.

    Now I guess I’ll read the crappy post from yesterday, lol.

  17. Jane S says:

    We trick ourselves into eating smaller portions by using smaller plates. Except when we eat corn on the cob, gotta have big plates for corn.

  18. Julie says:

    there’s nuttin’ like the smell of roasting tomatoes!

  19. Susan Robinson says:

    I have gallons of ripe tomatoes (rare occurrence here western WA) Yum!! This is so good!!! I don’t think I’m sharing any more tomatoes. Thank you Karen. Next I try the pizza dough.

  20. Jackie says:

    Great post, Karen. I just wish it would have come a few weeks ago. Out tomatoes are pretty much done for the year. I was concerned too about wasting good food. I blanched a bunch of ours – peeled them & cut them up in chunks & froze them in baggies to use this Winter for soups & stews. Wish I would have known about roasting them. But – this post is a keeper for future reference. There’s always next year. We did eat our way through a number of bacon – tomato & lettuce sandwiches this year. Yum…

  21. Sandra says:

    YUM my mouth is watering. Much more appetizing than yesterdays lash egg.

  22. Shauna says:

    Great and easy idea – just up my alley.

  23. Leslie says:

    That’s it??? Really? It’s really that easy? Oh how cool! I’m so going to do this!

  24. Ev Wilcox says:

    I JUST got my oven fixed, which was not working for TWO MONTHS! Made meatloaf, bread and a cake the same day! And now I can take care of the tomatoes finally trickling in to ripeness. Strange summer in my garden this year…. Anyway, this recipe arrived in a very timely manner–thanks Karen! Will be recovering from the “lash egg” any day now.

  25. Marie says:

    Karen, will I get amazing sauce if I use store bought tomatoes for this recipe? I think mine are done growing, we’ve been waking to temps in the 40’s (F) and the farmers market is sold out by the time I get there after work.

  26. isabella wigrenini says:

    great recipe. I make it almost identical but we roast carrots ( cut up small enough to be done when the onions and garlic are) as well. It adds a lot of sweetness and a lot of authentic Italian sauces use carrots as I discovered from an Italian friend. I love that you freeze small dollops for smaller servings or recipe needs. You are indeed clever. Thank you for being that way and always bringing a smile to my whole face.
    We are a family of five and three generations, have a huge third of an acre in garden and we now have over 25 quarts of this roasted sauce in our freezer. Bon appetit.

  27. Barbie says:

    I have had the same obsession with this years garden. In that I have not wanted to waste ONE tiny thing! Which means I have been canning for about 2.5 months now ….I have run out of room to store everything and also never in my wildest dreams did I EVER think I could use all my canning jars. I have so many in the attic I could start a store with them. I actually had to go out and buy more even after I was given a whole bunch from friends. I am finishing up my tomatoes today. I’m exhausted with it all. I hate to lose ONE tomato! We always have to pick all tomatoes out of the garden before the frost and we got a really hard frost about a month ago and even with the tomatoes covered it got a lot of them. :( However I have many buckets ripening in the house between newspaper layers. I love this idea of roasted and blended! Then freezing instead of canning. I canned a bunch of our sweet 100 cherry toms last year for a pasta sauce I saw on youtube and it was the most disgusting sauce I have ever eaten. I figured that cherry tomatoes just aren’t good for sauce. Who knew? However you say they are good….perhaps it’s the roasting of them that makes them good in the sauce? Because they were actually bitter in the sauce I made and canned last year. I had to throw it all out.

  28. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    That sauce looks amazing..I love recipes that are good and so easy..my tomatoes are done but for a couple getting red..but I can still get home grown from the Amish..I’m thinking at least a couple batches for Winter..Thanks for another great one Karen..

  29. Patti says:

    Haha, Karen, I am EXACTLY the same. I LOVE seconds. It’s like.. the best part! I would rather have seconds than dessert, any day!

    I have also taken to the trick of putting much smaller portions on my plate the first time around – you’re absolutely right – this is the best trick! Except Thanksgiving. At Thanksgiving, there are just too many good things to not load up my plate when I take little bits of everything, and then the second plate is just as full. But it’s eaten off of fine china, so I think that cancels out the calories. Just saying.

  30. Diane Amick says:

    Can’t wait to harvest the last of my tomatoes – chop them up and have a go at this fabulous way to savor all that hard work during this past spring/summer next February when we’re under two feet of snow. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

  31. jainegayer says:

    Today’s post totally makes up for the “lash egg, breakfast barfing” post from yesterday.
    Can’t wait to try roasting my tomatoes.

  32. SuzyMcQ says:

    Looks incredible, Karen, and I’m off to the garden, in the pouring rain, to see what’s out there to throw in the oven. I did want to ask about olive oil…no olive oil on these?

    • Karen says:

      omg! Yes there is! I totally forgot to mention that. I’ll amend the post right now! I drizzle the bottom of the sheet, then drizzle the top of the tomatoes. ~ karen

  33. BethH says:

    I can hear the concertina wheezing in the background as a baking sheet of perfectly seasoned tomatoes gently roasts in a slow oven even as I type. Now, how about an interesting recipe for a million green cherry tomatoes besides tomato relish? Something different. Something savory. The chances of me letting all these ripen without rotting is as thin as a witch’s lip.

  34. zoe says:

    I was about to ask a question and I just answered my own question by actually using my brain….

    This sounds delicious though :)

  35. Mary Werner says:

    Karen – I think many of us would be willing to pay a fair price for a cookbook of yours. You could then give the proceeds to a charity that you support like community gardens. What a great way for us to give and get. I’m thinking a homey, self produced cookbook that has plastic coil binding and lays flat many, many, many churches produce.

  36. Erin says:

    I love this post! The going back for seconds thing – that’s something I had to figure out too. Except for pizza. I always eat way too much, but I can’t stop myself. It’s like I think its the last time it will be available…forever.

    I will try the roasted sauce today. I have been roasting some heirloom Principe Borghese tomatoes (small like for sundried tomatoes) but have just been cooking down the big ones for sauce. Duh! It’s time to be happy.

  37. Su says:

    Genius! wish I had some tomatoes to do this….. darn muskrat… may have to go beg some somewhere

  38. Kim says:

    Oh you guys and your WIT! And Karen….geez, I just got to yesterday’s post and threw up a little. But you redeemed yourself with that beautiful sheet of tomatoes.

  39. Tigersmom says:

    Excellent! A new food to add to my roasting bender.

    My oven has never seen so much action. It says “thank you” between long drags off its cigarette.

  40. Madhu Ramakrishnan says:

    i can’t wait to have that

  41. SeaDee says:

    Doooo doo doooo doo. Get outta my brain! I just sat down after putting my pan #5 of all those ingredients in the oven (it’s 12:30am)! I had a ton that were on their way to rotten and I hate to waste. And it’s sooo easy and yummy. I figure I’ll end up with about 45 cups of sauce!

  42. Jamie says:

    Ohhh thank you! Sadly my tomatoes weren’t overly prolific, but my brother in law’s were and he just dropped off a ton. Now I have a plan :)

  43. Bobbi says:

    My pitiful tomato harvest just gave me enough for tomato sandwiches. No tomatoes left at all. You are correct, though…roasting is the way to go for great tomato sauce.

  44. Erika Collins says:

    I was so inspired I just chopped up all the recommended ingredients and they are roasting away in the oven (as we digest our second helpings of dinner….. ) Our house smells like what I imagine Italy smells like at dinnertime…cannot wait to sample the paste! Thanks for the great idea!

  45. Sue T. says:

    Sounds and looks wonderful ! Don’t suppose you would consider making one of your printer friendly versions of your recipe ?…………Please and Thank you!

  46. Rosey says:

    Mmmmm! I do this too but I add a splash of balsamic. So yummy!

  47. Laura says:

    There were so many brilliant little humorous bits in this post… My favorite thing was my mental image of you gracefully farting your way back in the direction of a casserole. I laughed out loud!

  48. Louise says:

    Mmmmm. . . . looks yummy! Is that a bowl full of the rustic sauce, or is it topping something? It looks so good that I might actually make this recipe!

    • Karen says:

      It is indeed a bowl of the sauce Louise. I have to say it’s not the most appetizing thing in the world, lol, but the sauce is SO great, I can’t say enough about it. I’ve made 3 batches of it and I’m going to have to make more because I’m going through it like crazy. I’ve used it for homemade ravioli, and the chicken I mentioned, and just plain old store bought dry pasta. It makes everything taste like you spent hours on it! Because you did, but really it was days, weeks or months ago and you really didn’t have to do much more than stick some tomatoes in the oven. :) ~ karen

  49. Jamieson says:

    This post was like going back for seconds! It was like two, two, two posts in one. I’m going to credit you with doing that slyly on purpose!

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