How to make canned tomato sauce taste homemade

Combat canned tomato sauce fatigue with this quick fix that’s fast, easy and simple.

Canned tomatoes

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One of the quickest and simplest tricks I’ve learned in cooking for my picky-eater children (grrr) is how to freshen-up and improve the flavour of one of their favourites — canned tomato sauce (grrr). Pasta dishes are a staple of family weeknight dinners, and store-bought tomato sauces are often over-seasoned and tinny tasting. Yet, they are what my children want and are often what we turn to when time is tight and fresh tomatoes are out of season.

When tomatoes aren’t in season, canned tomatoes are a life-saver. Picked when perfectly ripe and processed quickly, they preserve the flavours of summer all year long. Adding these tomatoes to a canned tomato sauce balances the seasonings of the sauce with the freshness of the canned tomatoes with little effort. For best results use a canned tomato sauce that is relatively plain and good quality canned tomatoes. San Marzano seem to have the best flavour, but any will do.

So, to combat canned tomato sauce fatigue I’ve developed this signature move, what I like to call my tomato sauce trick. What’s great about this quick-fix is that it’s fast, simple and requires no chopping at all. Here’s what to do:

Heat one 680ml can store-bought tomato sauce in a pot over medium heat. Add one 796ml can diced or whole canned tomatoes with the liquid. Bring to a simmer.
Puree using a stick or immersion blender (chunks are the devil for my kids). Add five or six fresh basil leaves and a two-inch slice of orange or lemon rind. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove rind, and basil leaves if desired (“leaves” are also the devil). Taste for seasoning, add in a pinch of salt or pepper if desired. Serve over pasta and enjoy!


3 comments on “How to make canned tomato sauce taste homemade

  1. I thought we weren’t supposed to be using canned foods because the lining of the can contains BPA – “Cut back on cans. Reduce your use of canned foods since many cans are lined with BPA-containing resin” This is especially true, I understand, in acidic foods like tomatoes. Is there an update on this information? I haven’t bought canned tomatoes for a very long time and I certainly miss the convenience.


    • In response to, ‘Musing’….I know how you feel. That is why I buy my tomato sauce in glass jars. There’s a really good one I buy under the label of, ‘Simply Natural’….they have different types of tomato sauces and they are all 100% Organic ingredients. I find these sauces at my local Independent grocer. I have noticed one company are now using cans for their beans BPA Free!!!! The name of the company is called, ‘Eden Organic’….so far in all the companies I have seen using cans…they are the ONLY ones who are using BPA cans….(and so far it’s just for their beans, but still, that’s a step in the right direction!!!) People need to really know that they have options…..and although it may cost a little bit more….in the long run, they will be saving themselves from poisoning themselves and getting sick, and paying for it healthwise!!!! Wake up people,… the facts out there, People need to read all food labels, beware of what they are buying and putting in their bodies and their children’s bodies….The food industry along with the pharmaceutical industry are trying to harm you,…if you don’t inform yourself!!! People please check out the movie…’Forks Over Knives’ and also visit the website…’EWG’- Environmental Working Group….they list every year the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and the ‘Clean 15′….fruits and vegetables that are safe to eat and the ones that you should buy organically. It’s a great site for information for people to inform themselves. Happy Earth Day everyone!!!!


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