Tomato and Basil Sauce

Simple but delicious.

This sauce is an Italian classic, made using sweet onions, garlic, basil, and good-quality tinned tomatoes. Though it doesn’t contain many ingredients, it’s full of flavour. The best thing about this sauce is that it’s incredibly versatile. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can make lots of different variations. You can add grilled veggies, chicken, meatballs, or even seafood – the possibilities are endless!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Vegan, Vegetarian


  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 x 400g tins good-quality whole or crushed tomatoes (I use Mutti)
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 tsp sugar, optional
  • 20 g fresh basil leaves, divided


  1. Heat a splash of extra-virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, then add the tinned tomatoes, water, sugar (if using) and half of the basil – I leave the leaves whole, but feel free to roughly tear them. Season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat. Tear in the remaining basil leaves and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve with your favourite pasta.

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