A truly delicious gluten-free tomato sauce perfect for spaghetti. This savory sauce, simmered with flavorful herbs and aromatics, is easy to make and gets better with time! Simmer for as little as 30 minutes or let it go longer for a deeper flavor.
This recipe is what happens when you buy the giant can of San Marzano tomatoes from Costco. When I saw those beauts and the unbelievable price, I wasted no time plopping those cans into my cart! I knew right away I would use them to make some homemade gluten-free tomato sauce.
What's crazy is that this tomato sauce is very easy to make, more cost-effective, and far surpasses the flavor of any jarred sauce from the store. All it takes is a little of your time!
I've been making this recipe for years but I had admittedly been a little lazy lately. Instead of making my own sauce, I'd been buying jarred sauces. While I thought everyone was ok with it, Christmas then rolled around and I found out I was wrong!
I made my gluten-free lasagna for our Christmas dinner, which includes a homemade sauce. When my family tasted and remembered what they were missing, they all implored me to start making my homemade spaghetti sauce once again. Since I aim to please, of course, I obliged and here I am to share this delicious recipe with you!
Aside from that giant can of San Marzano tomatoes, which you could also substitute with four smaller cans, the ingredients for this basic tomato sauce are very easy to come by, most of which you may already have, which I suppose is the beauty of making this from scratch. Simple ingredients coming together to make something truly delicious, truly special.
We start with a base of flavor coming from carrots, onion, and garlic. Carrots add a touch of sweetness, so no need for refined sugar here. Then we add tomato paste to add a depth of flavor and dried herbs and spices for ease. I also like to add in some fresh herbs, like basil, oregano, or thyme, if I can get my hands on them. They impart a flavor that makes people wonder just how you did it.
San Marzano tomatoes are often a little more expensive than regular tomatoes. Surely, you can make this sauce with any whole peeled tomatoes, but if you can get your hands on true San Marzano tomatoes, it really is worth it, as they do have better flavor. If you're a Costco member, get them there. They are a fraction of the price when compared to the regular grocery store.
Making the Sauce
To make the sauce, start by sautéing the vegetables in a large pot until they are tender. Then stir in the tomato paste, dried herbs and spices.
Finally, add in the San Marzano tomatoes, juices and all. Also, now would be the time to stir in any fresh herbs. Let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes, but honestly, the longer the better. I simmered my most recent batch for over two hours. This makes it the perfect Sunday dinner. The tantalizing aroma will have your family ooh-ing and ah-ing all day, excited for dinnertime to finally arrive.
As the sauce simmers, the tomatoes will break down and the sauce will thicken. The resulting sauce is homestyle and chunky. If you'd like a smoother marinara-style sauce, you can use an immersion blender or blend in batches to reach your desired texture.
After that it's time to pull up a chair, enjoy your delicious creation, and marvel at how you could so easily create something so superior to anything you've tasted from a jar.
- Meat Sauce: For years, I made this sauce with Italian Sausage. If you'd also like to make a meat sauce, you can adjust this quite easily!
First sauté your preferred meat (Italian sausage, ground beef, or even ground turkey) until browned. Then remove the meat and drain the fat. Continue with the recipe, adding the browned meat back in at the end when it's time to simmer the sauce.
- Meatballs: Another way to add protein to your spaghetti would be to simmer some meatballs in the sauce before serving. Try my popular gluten-free baked chicken meatballs!
- Veggie Sauce: Feel free to 'sneak' in some more veggies if you'd like! Celery, more carrot, bell pepper, or even zucchini would be great additions. Bear in mind, the finer you grate or chop your veggies, the less they will be noticeable in the final sauce.
Since this makes such a large pot of sauce, you'll likely have some leftover. Just fill up some mason jars and place any unused sauce in the freezer. You can also keep some in the refrigerator for about a week.
As the classic children's books go, if you give yourself a pot of spaghetti sauce, you're going to want some pasta to go with it, so...
If you want to be extra special, you can make homemade gluten-free pasta to go with your sauce. If you don't have quite that much ambition or time, you can certainly buy some pretty good gluten-free pasta from the store.
My favorite brands of gluten-free pasta are ones that taste like regular pasta and don't easily fall apart. They are:
There are others I have liked as well, such as Pamela's and the Aldi pastas but the above have been my favorites.
Please note that all gluten-free pastas are a little different. Keep an eye on them as they cook. They go from underdone to overdone in what seems like an instant. Treat them gently because they do tend to fall apart easier than regular pasta.
Please let me know if you enjoy this gluten-free tomato sauce recipe! I would be so appreciative of a five-star rating below. As always, sharing is caring, so if you found this post enjoyable, please share on Pinterest or Facebook!
Gluten-free Tomato Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sweet onions, finely diced
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 3 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, or 1 large (106 ounce) can
- 1 bunch fresh basil, optional
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano, optional
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
- Over medium heat, warm olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onion, carrots, and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
- Stir in whole peeled tomatoes with their juices. Add in fresh herbs, if using.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Simmer loosely covered for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours or more. (The longer you simmer, the better the flavor will be.) Stir occasionally, breaking up tomatoes as they cook.
- When the sauce has cooked, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Use an immersion blender or blend in batches if a smoother sauce is desired.
- Meat Sauce: First, sauté 2.5 pounds of your preferred meat (Italian sausage, ground beef, or even ground turkey) until browned. Remove the meat and drain the fat. Then continue with the recipe, adding the browned meat back in at the end when it's time to simmer the sauce.
- Veggie Sauce: Feel free to 'sneak' in some more veggies if you'd like! Celery, more carrot, bell pepper, or even zucchini would be great additions. The finer you grate or chop your veggies, the less they will be noticed in the final sauce.
- Fill mason jars with leftover sauce and freeze.
- The sauce can be refrigerated for about one week.
This looks INCREDIBLE!!!!
Thank you for this wonderful recipe & your website! My son recently learned he needs to be on a GF diet, so I’m just learning about how to cook for him. Question- are the fresh herbs typically free from cross contamination? I had packaged ones in my cart, would have loved to use them, but wasn’t sure if they were safe. Also, do you chop them up at the end in the sauce, or discard the big herb chucks? TYIA 🙂
Katie | Wheat by the Wayside
I've never had a problem with any fresh produce, including herbs. I always wash everything first with just water, so feel free to use the packaged herbs! If you puree the sauce, you can leave the herbs in and blend it all up. Or you can just pull them out and discard them since the flavor is already in the sauce! Hope that helps!