Homemade spaghetti sauce is my favorite thing to make with fresh, garden tomatoes. This rich, hearty sauce is an instant favorite with anyone who tries it!
Spaghetti Sauce with garden tomatoes
Anyone else have tomatoes growing in their garden right now? Fresh garden tomatoes make THE BEST spaghetti sauce EVER. I am so excited to share this recipe with you! I promise, you will never go back to store-bought sauce again (at least not when tomatoes are in season).
Substituting canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes
Ok, so it is true that fresh tomatoes are THE way to go with homemade spaghetti sauce, but what if you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand? What if tomatoes are out of season? Don’t worry, I have got you covered. You can use 2 (28oz) cans of crushed tomatoes. If you can find San Marzano canned tomatoes, those work GREAT.
If you want to add some extra flavor from your garden, you can add diced red bell pepper, diced green bell pepper, and/or fresh chopped carrots. You can coarsely chop up these veggies and add them when you are sautéing the onions. You will love the fresh taste of these additions! If you like a “chunky” homemade garden spaghetti sauce, just coarsely chop the vegetables and sauté to the size of your liking.
Homemade spaghetti sauce with meat
You will find that this sauce tastes rich and “meaty” as it is. My husband actually remarked that it almost could pass for a meat sauce because it is so thick, rich, and hearty. If you are wanting to actually add meat to it, you totally can! Add some ground beef or chopped smoked sausage when you are cooking up the onions and proceed with the recipe as usual.
How to thicken homemade spaghetti sauce
The slow and steady way to get it to thicken up more is to let it simmer longer. Last time I made this I had it simmering for 8 hours (uncovered, stirring occasionally). Trust me, the longer you can let it simmer, the better! If you are finding that the water isn’t evaporating as quickly as you would like or it isn’t thickening up how you want it to there is an easy fix. Just add some tomato paste, about a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the consistency you are looking for.
How to can homemade spaghetti sauce
If you have loads of tomatoes and you are wanting to can some spaghetti sauce to use later, we have the perfect recipe for you! It is one of the top recipes on our site and one of my favorite canning recipes of all time! Click HERE for our canned spaghetti sauce recipe.
Can you freeze homemade spaghetti sauce?
Yes! You can freeze it in a freezer safe Tupperware-type container, a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag, or even a glass just. Just be sure that if you are using a glass jar, that you leave an inch or two of space at the top of the jar so the sauce doesn’t expand and break. When freezing, make sure to cool the sauce completely in the fridge before freezing.
How long does frozen spaghetti sauce last in the freezer?
Ideally about 6 months. You can go a bit longer than that but you will start to lose freshness.
How long will homemade spaghetti sauce stay in the refrigerator?
3-4 days. If you want to go longer than that, you may want to freeze it.
Is homemade spaghetti sauce gluten free?
Yes, BUT only if you use gluten-free soy sauce or if you leave the soy sauce out. Other than that, this recipe is completely GF!
Why soy sauce?
Ah, I knew you were going to ask this. Ok, really, I asked it for you because I knew you were wondering. Adding soy sauce to chopped mushrooms is an old trick that a chef in Utah taught me. When you add soy sauce to mushrooms when they are cooking it gives them a rich, meaty flavor that is unparalleled. I ALWAYS add a splash of soy sauce when I sauté mushrooms. I promise, it doesn’t make it taste weird or soy sauce-y at all. It just brings out the flavor SO much more. You have GOT to try this trick. And trust me, don’t leave it out of this recipe!
How to make homemade spaghetti sauce
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes
- 12-14 tomatoes (fresh, garden tomatoes work best- appx. 8-10 lbs)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 8 oz mushrooms fresh, chopped
- 2 tsp soy sauce (see notes above)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 10-12 basil leaves chopped
- 1 Tbsp oregano finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp Kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp pepper (or to taste)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place tomatoes a few at a time in the water and remove after 10-15 seconds.
Immediately place tomatoes in an ice-water bath and remove skins and stems. Cut tomatoes into fourths and place in a food processor or blender.
Process tomatoes a few times, you want them to be the consistency of crushed tomatoes (don't over process). Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they become soft and transparent.
Add mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce and garlic and continue to cook until mushrooms become soft.
Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for at least one hour. The longer the better! Ideally 2+ hours.
Serve over cooked pasta.