When you want something quick and simple for dinner, this Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce stirred through some spaghetti is about as simple (and delicious) as it gets. No need for any extra ingredients, although a little parmesan and black pepper on top goes a long way. A herby passata pasta sauce with a splash of balsamic vinegar that freezes well too.
I think that many of us are guilty of over complicating Italian food. In Italy, their food tends to be much more simple, and I think it is tastier because of it. We have kept this pasta sauce really simple with just a good quality passata, some fresh and dried herbs, garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
There are plenty of other ingredients you could add to it, like vegetables, or meat, but if you want something quick and simple then this is a great base.
If you are looking for some other pasta recipes to try, then why not try our Leftover Chicken Pasta, Vegetable Pasta Bake, Sausage Pasta Bake or Smoked Salmon Pasta.
- Passata - A good quality passata is definitely required for this recipe. Cheaper ones can be a bit watery and tasteless. As this is a tomato sauce, you really want to taste the tomatoes.
- Onion and garlic - The base of the sauce. Use shallots if you would like a little sweeter taste.
- Basil and oregano - For that authentic Italian flavour.
- Balsamic Vinegar - Gives a lovely sweetness to the sauce and brings all the flavours together.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make tomato pasta sauce - Step by step
One: Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Gently cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Two: Add the passata, herbs and balsamic vinegar and season.
Three: Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
Four: Stir through cooked spaghetti and add Parmesan.
Watch our web story for a quick how-to of making this Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce.
Why should you try it?
- Super simple sauce with very few ingredient - You can make this passata pasta sauce with ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.
- Low in calories - There are just 70 calories a portion
- Healthier than a jar of pasta sauce - Jarred sauce has so many added ingredients. This is a simple sauce, without loads of added sugar and salt.
- Easy to adapt - We have given options for other ingredients to add.
- Freezable - Make extra and freeze for a quick and easy dinner.
This is an easy recipe, but of course it would be easier to just open a jar of store bought sauce. But, next time you are in the supermarket, take a look at the ingredients of some of those pasta sauces. Some (not all - there are some great options out there now) contain so much salt, sugar and unnecessary ingredients.
Making your own pasta sauce means you can control exactly what goes in to it and you can use just a pinch of salt to season it. The splash of balsamic gives it a little sweetness too.
What is passata?
Passata (or tomato puree as it is called in the US), is strained tomatoes (liquid tomato puree). It will come in a carton or tall glass jar and it is a store cupboard essential in our opinion, as it is the base of so many sauces that we make.
Passata is an uncooked tomato purée that has been strained of seeds and skins. If you can't find any passata, then an alternative would be to blend up a tin of tomatoes and then pass it through a sieve.
If you want to add something else to this tomato pasta sauce, then you could stir some spinach in just before serving. Also, some red chilli flakes is an easy way to add a kick of heat to it. If you wanted to hide some vegetables in to it, then you could blend some cooked carrots in to the sauce.
Store: You can store leftovers in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
Freeze: This freezes really well, but make sure it has fully cooled first. Put in freezer bags and lay them flat in the freezer and they will keep for up to 3 months.
Defrost: You can defrost the bags of tomato pasta sauce in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: Add the sauce to a saucepan and heat on low until piping hot.
Yes, this pasta sauce is vegan.
As long as you make sure there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
Yes, you can double the batch and it won't change the cooking time. Just make sure that you have a saucepan big enough for everything.
Yes, you can and then you can keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
If you wanted a creamy version of this, then you could stir in a heaped tablespoon of cream cheese before serving.
• You can use this simply stirred through pasta, as a spaghetti bolognese sauce or as a pizza base sauce.
• It freezes really well, so feel free to triple the recipe and batch cook it.
• This is a simple sauce, but you can use it as a base and add vegetables or meat to it. Cooking times will vary though.
• This is a vegan sauce, but some Parmesan or vegan alternative, is really nice sprinkled on top after cooking.
• If you like a smoother sauce, then you can blend it until smooth.
More sauce recipes
If you’ve tried this easy tomato pasta sauce, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce
- 0.5 tablespoon Olive oil
- 0.5 Onion - diced
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 2 tablespoon Fresh basil - chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dried oregano
- 250 g (9 oz) Passata
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Heat 0.5 tablespoon Olive oil and cook 0.5 Onion and 2 Garlic clove until softened.
- Add 250 g Passata, 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar2 tablespoon Fresh basil and 1 teaspoon Dried oregano.
- Season with 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir through cooked spaghetti.
- You can use this simply stirred through pasta, as a spaghetti bolognese sauce or as a pizza base sauce.
- It freezes really well, so feel free to triple the recipe and batch cook it.
- This is a simple sauce, but you can use it as a base and add vegetables or meat to it. Cooking times will vary though.
- This is a vegan sauce, but some parmesan or vegan alternative, is really nice sprinkled on top after cooking.
So good- we had terrible luck with our vegetable garden this year but I do have homegrown herbs and onions, shallots, garlic ( and a few other staples). With the recession and record inflation our favored jarred tomato pasta sauce has increased in price by over a euro/ per 500 gm jar ( current price 3.89 €).
The supermarket brand passata is 0.39 €/500 gm. We figured even with adding in the cost of balsamico, electricity and whatever growing our own veggies costs we are probably looking at 0,60€/ 500 gm of fantastic sauce.
Made a big pot as food prepping- add in 5 eurocent more /500 gm fir that and it is still a bargain!
I added ground cooked mild sausage, fried some mushrooms and onions with garlic, a little basil, and a 1/4 cup of red wine..YUM !!
I am barely ever on internet, was wondering if there's a substitute for the balsamic as I only have white vinegar or Apple cider vingegar, dien to try this, it looks amazing thank u.
I wouldn't use any other vinegar. You can just leave it out if you don't have it.
So quick easy and tasty! Will never buy jarred pasta sauce again!
This looks great! Simple and easy - perfect!
This really is the easiest pasta sauce recipe, and it tastes so much more rich and flavorful than typical jarred pasta sauces! So worth it to make it at home!
You can't beat a good homemade tomato sauce. Perfect for a quick and easy dinner and the kids love it.
You can never go wrong with tomato pasta and this one's touch of balsamic vinegar is such a great idea! This is perfect for busy weeknights :D
You are so right that people often over complicate Italian recipes! Many popular dishes here in Italy are super simple. It's the quality and the combination of ingredients that make them so good. Passata is a staple here and many Italians make their own. It's practically a summer ritual! However, homemade passata is usually cooked. Your sauce looks delicious. Love the idea of adding balsamic. Have to try it!
I love simple sauces and this looks great! Perfect comfort food that you can whip up really easily. Thanks!
I had some very hungry kiddos and then I noticed I had bought the wrong sauce: passata. I had never heard of it! Quickly looked for a recipe, and yours showed up. And just like that, everybody ate two full plates. Such a delicious sauce! I promised my son to make it again. Thank you!
So glad you all enjoyed it. Passata makes the best pasta sauce!
Easy, practical and delicious pasta souce...Thanks...
I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming back to let us know!
This is the only recipe I use for tomato pasta sauce, it's so simple yet so, so good. Thank you for keeping it simple and clear! Love your blog
That's so great to hear. We try to keep all our recipes as simple as possible, so I am glad that comes across :)
Loved it! I think I put a bit too much Oregon but it’s delicious all the same and super fast thanks :)
Absolutely delicious with linguine!Thanks for the recipe its perfect:)
So glad you enjoyed it!
Quick and easy. That's my kind of tomato sauce! Yum.
Love a good pasta sauce, thanks for all the tips!
This tomato sauce is lovely and so much better than any store bought version. :)
This was really amazing!! Quickly became a staple at my kitchen!