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Canned Spaghetti Sauce – or Basic Tomato Sauce with Extra Nutrition

September 5, 2014


Tomatoes. Here in the Shenandoah Valley, most heavy-duty gardeners are still swimming in tomatoes. We’re running out of cans, running out of recipes, almost running out of patience. For something I crave so strongly the rest of the year that I buy pathetic hot house imitations, I am tired of having them every meal. And I’m not really bragging or complaining, just stating facts.

Or maybe it is just me. Some of us are ready to put away the canner.

But not quite yet.

So I hustled up a recipe for canned tomato sauce and made a small batch. One daughter called me last night to say she and her housemate were cooking up a shared dinner of fresh eggplant from her garden, mozzarella, and my canned sauce. That sounded wonderful to me and I’m so glad the kids branch out from my cooking that tends to be more traditional as in meat, starch, vegetable, salad.


My very traditional meal


My daughter’s meal: sautéed eggplant rounds (egg and flour breading), with parmesan, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, & basil sprinkled on top if desired. Better Homes and Garden’s Cookbook. Yummy even if the “presentation” could be improved. 🙂

So here’s the recipe to use any way you can. Mary Beth Lind, co-author of Simply in Season says with the recipe, “I use this for spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or any time I need a marinara-type sauce. I really like the added nutrition of the carrot.” Mary Beth is a registered dietitian and nutritional consultant, so it is not surprising to find her squeezing in Vitamin A into this Vitamin C-and-antioxidant-rich sauce. (This link has more about the healthy lycopene in tomatoes .)

I doubled Mary Beth’s recipe, to make a batch yielding 6 pints.

Basic Tomato Sauce

2 onions (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
Sauté until soft in 4 tablespoons olive oil


4 carrots or 1 cup (shredded)
1 green pepper (chopped)
4 bay leaves
½ cup fresh parsley (chopped; I used dried)
4 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped, or 4 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried)
Add. Stir well.

12 cups fresh plum or Roma tomatoes (peeled or skins slipped off, and chopped)
12 ounces tomato paste (I didn’t have any and subbed in a 12 ounce can of store tomato sauce)
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


Add and season to taste. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve or freeze. Or, to can, ladle into hot sterilized pint jars to within ½ inch of top; add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar per pint to assure acidity; seal with sterilized lids and process full jars in boiling water bath for 35 minutes.

From Simply in Season, Herald Press, 2009. Adapted from Mary Beth Lind and Ellen Miller.



Are you tired of tomatoes? Or what’s your newest favorite way to serve them?    

Do you have a copy of Simply in Season?


It has great ideas and recipes for seasonal foods, all year.

  1. Ema Jones permalink

    I’m adding some garlic salt instead of garlic cloves, hope it’s fine, as I don’t wanna use garlic here directly…

  2. I would say that’s fine, but watch not adding too much other salt then. I usually use garlic powder if I don’t have or don’t want garlic cloves, so it doesn’t add too much salt.

  3. No, I’m not tired of tomatoes. I wish I had your problem!. I could eat a fresh lightly salted tomato sandwich right now with a touch of mayonnaise.

    I’ve heard that tomatoes cooked or baked are more nutritious than fresh ones. Maybe your link explains that. Your photos look cookbook ready, in my opinion.

  4. I felt a little guilty, maybe a lot, even saying I was tired of tomatoes. I’ve heard the same about tomatoes and the lycopene. And thanks for your comment on the photos. I’m working on them!

    When we lived in North Florida 50 miles west of Tallahassee, my parents raised some tomatoes but those came earlier in the season, so we didn’t have the same associations: no big onslaught at the end of summer, not much canning that I remember in Fla., etc. Instead, we went to the beach!

    I’ll envy your close beach access!

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