Summer is quickly coming to a close. How do I know? Fresh tomatoes abound. In our garden, at the farmer’s markets, as part of my CSA share, and local tomatoes are on sale at every grocery as well. Having too many fresh tomatoes is the best part of this time of year…..the chilly temperatures creeping in, not so much! Because I like to make summer last, I usually make roasted tomato sauce with these delicious tomatoes while they’re ripe and tasty. I freeze this yummy sauce in batches so when the winter doldrums hit, I can bring out a taste of summer anytime.
Making tomato sauce from real, wholesome ingredients is super simple and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never go back to the jarred variety. Jarred tomato sauce often has added sugar, to curb the acidic taste of the tomatoes. I prefer to add some sweet veggies to accomplish the same thing…..no sugar + the added nutritional benefits from more veggies…..no brainer in my book!
I like to make this roasted tomato sauce with Roma tomatoes, but any fresh tomatoes will do. If you only have cherry or grape tomatoes, my favorite way to use them is in this recipe, which is very similar.
One reason I had shied away from making homemade sauce for so many years was that I was intimidated about peeling the tomatoes….but roasting them whole or in large pieces has eliminated the need for blanching or other cumbersome methods. The skins will blister and once the roasted tomatoes are cool enough to handle, you can peel the skins right off. Super simple, and roasting the tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness.
A good tomato sauce has a ton of garlic….but roasting is not a great cooking modality for garlic because it can burn too easily. Leaving the papery skins on the cloves alleviates that problem and once the garlic cloves have cooled a bit, it is easy to “push” the tender garlic straight out of the skins. The roasted garlic gives off HUGE flavor, without the repeating after taste that sometimes accompanies dishes that use raw garlic. Seriously….all of the flavor, none of the side effects.
There’s nothing quite like the taste of a ripe summer tomato….but, did you know they are also very nutritious? Tomatoes are super stars when it comes to heart health because of their natural ability to prevent clumping of blood platelets. They are also very high in vitamin C, K, and biotin. Studies show that cooking tomatoes increases the availability of lycopene for absorption. Lycopene is a great source of antioxidants and has been shown to improve bone density. Roasting tomatoes helps unlock some of the nutritional benefits, and this roasted tomato sauce is such a tasty way to get your nutrition in!
My favorite way to enjoy this sauce is over spiraized zucchini or in veggie lasagna. I sprinkle with ground pine nuts, flakey sea salt and a bit of fresh basil…..YUM!! Hubby likes to cook rice in it, but Hubby likes anything with rice! It’s so flavorful, you can add some broth and a bit of nut milk and turn it into tomato soup. My daughter likes to use this roasted tomato sauce as the base for Shakshuka, and my son likes boneless breast of chicken slathered in this sauce and cooked in the crock pot. This roasted tomato sauce is sure to be a favorite of yours too, let me know in the comments how you like it best. Now, if we could only bottle up summer like we do this sauce!