Cherry tomato sauce with pasta, basil, and parmesan cheese

Homemade Tomato Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes

A fresh and quick chunky sauce bursting with flavors, this homemade tomato sauce made with cherry tomatoes is a breeze with wholesome and simple ingredients. Ready in 15 minutes, you’ll love it over your favorite pasta or veggie spirals and grated cheese.

WHY THIS WORKS

  • Simple and easy-to-find ingredients
  • Deep flavors with just a few fresh ingredients
  • No special equipment needed
  • No chopping is required if you choose to use jarred minced garlic instead of fresh (see notes on the recipe card)
  • Customizable to suit your taste
  • A great recipe for using up tomatoes that are about to turn.
  • Enjoy it with other foods besides pasta…read on!

INGREDIENTS FOR HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE WITH CHERRY TOMATOES

Ingredients for cherry tomato sauce: basil, salt, pepper, garlic cloves, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, cherry tomatoes.
  • Olive oil – Start this sauce right and buy the best quality olive oil you can afford.
  • Tomatoes – According to WebMD, the nutrients and antioxidants in tomatoes may help boost immune function and eye health and may protect against heart disease and stroke. Use fresh cherry tomatoes or any small tomato such as grape, baby Roma, or small garden tomatoes.
  • Garlic – Contains compounds with anti-inflammatory effects. Fresh garlic is more flavorful. But if you prefer not to deal with chopping garlic, jarred minced garlic will do, too. You could also look out for peeled whole garlic cloves.
  • Fresh Basil – High in vitamin K, contains other nutrients such as vitamin A and calcium, and antioxidants. A classic slightly peppery herb added to tomato sauces.
  • Dried Oregano A strong herb that works well with all the other flavors.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – Just a bit to add some heat.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

STEPS

Start with coarsely chopped garlic if you’re using fresh garlic. If you need a quick lesson on chopping garlic, click this wikiHow article.

Chopped garlic cooked in olive oil in a pan.

In a large skillet or wide saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped fresh garlic and cook for about a minute. If you’re using jarred minced garlic, cook for about 20-30 seconds.

Tomatoes, dried oregano, salt, and pepper added to skillet and cooked.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir occasionally, allowing the tomatoes to burst. This will take about 6-8 minutes.

Use a wooden spoon, fork, or potato masher to smash some of the tomatoes. This will release the tomato juices some more.

If you are cooking pasta, now is a good time to get that started.

Fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes added at the final step and mixed in with tomato sauce.

Add the basil and crushed red pepper and stir to combine with other ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If the taste is too acidic for you, add a little sugar, starting with half a teaspoon.

Remove from heat and serve over cooked pasta along with grated Parmesan cheese if you’d like. Try this chunky fresh tomato sauce with crusty bread and other foods. See FAQ for more serving suggestions. Enjoy!

FAQ

What to serve with homemade tomato sauce made with cherry tomatoes?

  • Your favorite type of pasta and topped with shredded cheese if you’d like. You can’t go wrong with Parmesan, Pecorino, and Aged Asiago cheeses with pasta dishes. Fresh mozzarella would also work and give a milder flavor with a “melty” texture.
  • Try it with veggie noodles or spirals instead of pasta
  • A topping for crusty bread, naan bread, or garlic bread
  • Add some to toast and cheese or avocado toast
  • Spoon over eggs
  • With roasted or air-fried potatoes and other vegetables
  • Spoon over grilled chicken or fish and rice or other grain

Can I use dried basil or other herbs?

Yes. The key to experimenting with different herbs is knowing when to add them to the cooking process. Dried herbs need to be added in the beginning, so their flavors have time to infuse the dish.

The taste will be different but still delicious. You can add dried basil at the beginning along with the tomatoes. Dried thyme or marjoram would also work well.

You could also swap out the basil and oregano altogether and use an Italian seasoning blend.

Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of whatever dried herb you choose when you cook the tomatoes. As always, taste and adjust!

If you’d like to try other fresh herbs, like parsley or chives, add them at the final step.

Can the sauce be blended?

The sauce is supposed to have a chunky consistency. But do what works for you and blend away to the consistency you want.

How to store the sauce?

Allow the sauce to cool off before storing. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat the sauce in a skillet on the stove or in the microwave.

Store the sauce in an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer. Frozen cooked tomatoes can retain their quality for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat the sauce, defrost and reheat.

Cherry tomato sauce with pasta, basil, and parmesan cheese

Homemade tomato sauce with cherry tomatoes

Johna Burdeos, RD
A fresh and easy chunky tomato sauce bursting with flavor and made with simple ingredients: cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve it over pasta, veggie spirals, crusty bread, or toast and cheese.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 273 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large skillet or wide saucepan
  • 1 utensil for mashing tomatoes – wooden or heat-resistant spoon, fork, or potato masher
  • knife and cutting board for chopping garlic if you're using fresh garlic

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves coarsely chopped (or 3 teaspoons of minced garlic – see notes)
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (other small tomatoes will also work) 2 pints = 4 cups
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper 1/2 teaspoon each or to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil – torn or roughly chopped
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • optional: 1/2 – 1 tsp sugar if the sauce is too acidic for your taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or saucepan. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. If you're using jarred minced garlic about 30 seconds will do.
  • Add tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until tomatoes burst and release juices. About 6-8 minutes. Using a heat-resistant or wooden spoon, fork, or potato masher, smash some of the tomatoes for a chunky, rustic sauce.
  • Add the fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes and combine with sauce.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If the sauce is too acidic for your liking, you may add the sugar at this point.
  • Serve with pasta and optional grated cheese, veggie spirals, crusty bread, toast, eggs, or a grain bowl.

Notes

Fresh garlic is more flavorful but jarred minced garlic will work, too, if you prefer not to chop garlic at all. Use 1/2 teaspoon of jarred minced garlic for every clove of garlic. Feel free to up the amount if you want a little more garlic flavor. 
*Nutrition information is an estimate based on the ingredients used. 
Keyword cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce

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