Sugar Free Tomato Pasta Sauce

Recently with all this talk of SUGAR on everyone’s lips, I’m starting to look at not just the obvious treats containing sugar like cakes, sweets, desserts, etc., but also the hidden sugar in things like ketchup, bread, Chinese takeout, chicken nuggets! Do you know what are you really feeding your kids?

Here’s a scary fact: A 500g jar of Dolmio Bolognaise sauce has more than 6 cubes of sugar in it… the same amount as a Mars Bar and marginally less than a can of Coke! Wow. And I thought doing a nice simple Spaghetti Bolognaise for the kids was a great way to hide some vegetables and give them a filling dinner. Well, think again!

Sugar is contributing to obesity and diabetes and with the rates of childhood diabetes on the rise in the UAE, it’s time to take some simple steps to reduce the hidden sugar intake for you and your kids. Sugar is unnecessary in something like bolognaise sauce in my opinion! [On a side note, a lot of homemade tomato sauce recipes have a teaspoon of sugar in them, but I’ve found if you peel the tomatoes it reduces any bitter or acidic flavour and makes the sugar unnecessary.]

Having a simple tomato sauce on hand can then lead to a number of quick fabulous summer dishes, some of which can keep the kids busy in the kitchen with you. Think homemade pizza, simple pasta sauce, lasagna, right through to mussels marinara, eggplant parmigiana and shakshuka! The sauce can be frozen or canned depending on your needs. You can also add some chopped or pureed vegetables to this base sauce if you like.


Reap the fruits of summer and make your own simple tomato sauce and control what you are feeding your family! The tomatoes at the moment in the supermarkets are spectacular. By that I mean big, plump, juicy, tomato-ey (rather than cardboard flavoured winter tomatoes), bright red and everything a tomato should be. And if you are lucky enough to find a local organic farmer still growing, their harvest will be worth its weight in gold! In all honesty though, if you want to skip a few steps and cut down the time in the kitchen, then you can easily use whole peeled tinned tomatoes or I’ve even done this with a packet of Pomi crushed tomatoes with great results.


An important first step to note when making this sauce is to bring the olive oil up to temperature very slowly with the garlic, herbs, and spices, and cook for about five minutes to brown the garlic. This slow heat-up process allows the oil to be infused with the seasonings providing a really delicious base to your sauce.



Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: requires a little technique
  • Print


  • ⅓ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano, divided, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, divided, or ½ tablespoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10-12 large fresh tomatoes or 2 x 800g cans of whole peeled tomatoes or 2 large packets of Pomi crushed tomatoes (total weight of tomatoes is just approx 1.8 – 2kg)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


If using fresh tomatoes – start at step 1. If using whole peeled tinned tomatoes skip to step 5 or if using Pomi crushed tomatoes skip to step 6.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Using a sharp knife make a small cross ‘x’ in the bottom of each tomato just deep enough to cut through the skin, but not cut too deep into the flesh of the tomato.
  2. Once the water is boiling add the tomatoes to the water for approximately 60 seconds (you may need to do this in smaller batches), or you see the skin on the bottom of the tomato at the ‘x’ start to peel away.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes from the hot water and plunge into an ice bath for a further 60 seconds.
  4. Peel the skins off starting at the ‘x’ where the skin is already lifting. It should come off easily in large pieces.
  5. Put the tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hand. You want large chunks so don’t worry about being too finicky with this step. Squeeze them and squish them and this is a great time to involve the kids!
  6. In a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid, on a burner with no flame, pour in olive oil and add red pepper flakes, garlic, onion, most of the oregano, basil and mint (save a little bit of each for the end), salt and pepper. Turn on the burner and slowly bring up to hot. If you have a gas stove that heats up quickly, you may need to start on a low setting, gradually increasing the heat along the way. When the onions and garlic start to cook, stir and heat for five minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium high and stir until they start to boil. Then reduce to simmer, partially cover and simmer 90 minutes. [If using Pomi crushed tomatoes then you can reduce this step to 15-20 mins.]
  8. After 90 minutes, remove from heat and add the reserved herbs and Parmesan cheese. Add the butter to round out the flavours. Stir again and either serve, freeze or store.

From our fresh kitchen to yours. Enjoy.

One thought on “Sugar Free Tomato Pasta Sauce

  1. Pingback: Fingers or Fork? | Kurth Kitchen

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