With only a small basket of tomatoes from your garden (as well as some fresh garden herbs), you can easily whip up this garden fresh pizza sauce recipe and make enough homemade pizza sauce to make two pizzas. Bonus: your home will smell amazing, too!
Garden Fresh Pizza Sauce Recipe
One of my greatest joys in the summer is picking those first sun-warmed tomatoes from the vine. As I’ve mentioned before, summer is not my favorite season. HOWEVER, I absolutely love it when I’m starting to pick tomatoes, and I can start eating tomatoes on everything. We eat SO many tomatoes in the summer! Tomato soup, homemade salsa, bruschetta, and BLT sandwiches are among the most popular ways we eat garden tomatoes in our home.
This year, we are having an amazing tomato season. When I came inside recently with a basket of tomatoes, I was in a bit of a new predicament: I knew I had too many tomatoes to make my normal summer meals, however, it was also not enough tomatoes to preserve tomatoes via canning for the winter.
So I decided to make a batch of garden fresh pizza sauce so that I could make some homemade pizza. I ended up making my goat cheese arugula pizza recipe, with tomato pizza sauce instead of pesto sauce. It was delicious!
As I searched on pinterest for a good homemade pizza sauce recipe, however, I kept running into two different problems: (1) the pizza sauce recipe was a huge batch recipe specifically for canning (and included preservation ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, etc.); OR (2) the pizza sauce recipe was a “quick 10 minute recipe” that used tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Ugh. I wanted enough homemade pizza sauce for two pizzas and I wanted to use my garden produce.
My mini-rant about Modern society’s obsession with “quick recipes”…
Okay, am I the only one that is tired of the obsession with the “quick and easy” meal obsession?!? I recently went to my local library to find some cookbooks to inspire me in the kitchen. I am not exaggerating: the ENTIRE cookbook section was all about quick and easy meals! Instant pots, crockpots, 10 minute/15 minute/30 minute/etc. meals, etc.
It makes me sad that our modern life is focus on “quick and easy”. I know life is busy and it’s good to have some ‘quick’ cookbooks, but really, there is nothing like the delicious taste of a long-simmering pot of soup. Or a slow roasted chicken and vegetable dish. Or, in this case, the immense joy, complex deliciousiness, and intoxicating scents from a long simmering pizza sauce.
Dang it, I wanted my house to smell like tomatoes and basil all day long. I wanted to enjoy the slow pace of chopping vegetables by hand. I did not want a “quick and easy” pizza sauce. I wanted a long-simmering and delightfully complex and tasty homemade garden fresh pizza sauce.
So I made this recipe. If you want “quick and easy” pizza sauce, there are plenty of those recipes available on pinterest and whatnot. However, if you have the time and you feel joy in the kitchen while making a recipe from scratch with items that you grew in your own garden, then this pizza sauce will bring a smile to your face. 🙂
Garden Fresh Pizza Sauce
- 4 pounds tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- a few sprigs of fresh oregano from the garden, pulled from stem (see notes)
- a few handfuls of fresh basil from the garden, pulled from stem (see notes)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme from the garden, pulled from stem (see notes)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp. sugar (optional, see notes)
- Prep your tomatoes: cut out cores, cut off bad parts, and spoon out most of the seeds and liquid.
- Roughly chop up your tomatoes and then also roughly chop the onion, garlic, and herbs. No need to get fancy with the chopping because we’ll use an immersion blender later.
- Over medium heat, in a large pot, add 1/3 cup olive oil and onion. Saute for approx. 3 minutes, until the onion softens.
- Add the tomatoes, saute for another 3 minutes. The liquid might dry up, so stir constantly to avoid burning.
- Add the garlic, saute for 30 seconds.
- Reduce the stovetop to low heat.
- Slowly pour in the 1/2 cup red wine. Then add the bay leaves and garden herbs and a few dashes of salt and pepper.
- Cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for at least 2 hours.
- Stir occasionally to prevent burning. The sauce will slowly thicken up, so you might need to stir it more in the last 30 minutes.
- After about 2 hours, remove from heat, and carefully remove the cover, and take out the bay leaves.
- Blend up the ingredients with an immersion blender until it becomes a thick and smooth sauce.
- Put it back on the stovetop on low heat.
- Taste the pizza sauce and adjust it as necessary. Missing something? Start with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir, and wait 5-10 minutes. Taste again and decide if it needs more salt or pepper. If you think it’s too acidic, add 1 tsp. sugar. Wait 5-10 minutes and then taste again. Does it need a kick in taste? Add a few pinches of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Wait 5-10 minutes and taste. Too thick? Add a bit of olive oil. Keep tasting and adjusting until it is pizza sauce perfection for your taste buds. Enjoy!
**I have no idea how many garden herbs I used. I just grabbed the amount that looked right from the garden, and I slowly added it to the pot until it seemed like the right amount. If I had to guess, I used 3 sprigs of oregano, about 1 tbsp fresh thyme, and maybe 3/4 cup of loosely packed basil leaves.
**The acidicness of your tomatoes will vary, depending on the type of tomato you are growing, your weather, the amount of water your garden gets, etc. If you think your pizza sauce is too acidic, add some sugar to soften the taste. Start with 1 tsp. of granulated sugar, wait 5-10 minutes, then taste and see if it is better.
**Many recipes call for blanching the tomatoes before making a pizza sauce. Since I used an immersion blender, I didn’t mind keeping the tomato skins on. If you don’t like a little texture to your pizza sauce, you could blanch the tomatoes first and remove the tomato skins.
**If you do not own an immersion blender, you can technically use a blender instead. Slowly add some of the hot liquid to the blender, and make sure you only blend small batches at a time or you risk hot burning splatter all over you and your kitchen. After I did this to myself ONCE, a few years ago, I immediately bought an immersion blender. It is SO much easier to use that than a blender! Immersion blenders deserve a spot in everyone’s kitchen.
**This recipe made enough pizza sauce for two pizzas. I used half of it immediately, and then I poured the extra in a glass mason jar and put it in the fridge. It should store in the fridge for 1 week. You can also freeze the extra pizza sauce for about 4-6 months.
**Depending on the meatiness of your tomatoes, you might end up with more pizza sauce or less. The first time I made this recipe, it was barely enough for two pizzas. The second time I made it, there was extra sauce after making two pizzas.
**Don’t forget to take out the bay leaves before using the immersion blender! Also, read more about using bay leaves in the kitchen. It’s an amazing herb!
I love making homemade pizzas (like my goat cheese arugula pizza recipe) in the summer because it’s a great way to use summer seasonal produce and make a huge variety of clever pizza flavor combinations. I really love how this homemade garden fresh pizza sauce turned out and I plan to use it on my summer pizzas from now on.
Give this garden fresh pizza sauce recipe a try and tell me how you like it in the comments below!