Tomato Sauce

Growing up, tomato sauce (aka gravy, which my Italian father and Pop-Pop call it) was a staple in our home every Sunday. I can recall waking up on Sunday mornings when every other family smelled maple syrup and pancakes in the kitchen – but oh no, not our family. I could smell the fresh basil and natural sweetness in my father’s tomato sauce, which is starting making in the early hours of the morning and let it simmer throughout the day until dinner.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you create a tomato sauce that takes 12 hours to make. Who’s got time for that? Besides my retired father – no one. Ha.

Sun Dried Tomatoes

So, this is a spin on my father’s tomato sauce. He always added a spoonful of white sugar, until his inflammation spiked through the roof and I had to get him off of refined sugar and white flours, cheap vegetable oils, etc.

So, I gave my father’s sauce a makeover and tossed in dried fruit in place of the sugar, which I’ve been doing for years. I was taught this trick from an old roommate of mine who loved to add dried fruit to her sauces and we started adding a little bit of dried fruit to tomato sauce together for natural sweetness because the dried fruit become soft and releases its natural flavors when it is in the warm sauce, so over time the sauce becomes naturally sweet from the fruit – without having to add any sugar at all. Pretty exciting, right? I thought so.

I’m a huge fan of making tomato sauce and I still like to make a pot for myself on Sundays, just like my father, and I often put on Frank Sinatra (like he did) and dance around my apartment. It’s cozy and fun and I love it.

So, today I’m sharing with you how to make the best tomato sauce. In my opinion, the best sauce always includes sun-dried tomatoes. In my cookbook, I didn’t use sun-dried tomatoes in oil (I used the dry variety) but here I’m using the ones in a glass jar with olive oil for extra creaminess and flavor.

Tomato Sauce Paleo

My suggestion is to start this sauce by sauteing the peppers and onion and on the stove top in olive oil until they are super tender, then adding them to the food processor with the remaining ingredients to whirl around a bit before you transfer everything to a large pot on the stove top.

This is the easiest and BEST way to make tomato sauce and I’ve been inspired over the years by my father and my Pop-Pop on how to make the best sauce.

So, I guarantee this recipe will keep you very, very happy whether you choose to put it over zucchini noodles, my grain-free crackers or my grain-free pizza crusts in my cookbook, Eating Clean. Take time on Sunday to make this sauce… I assure you, your taste buds will thank you. Plus, leftover sauce is delicious over roasted veggies and my chickpea socca in my cookbook.

Dried Cranberry Tomato Sauce



Vegan Tomato Sauce Recipe

And if you haven’t had a chance to check out my new cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body, you can order it now!

Eating Clean Mark Hyman Cookbook

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The Best Tomato Sauce {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo}
Serves: 8
Tomato Sauce
Vegan, Paleo. Free of gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, eggs.
Author: Amie Valpone
Recipe type: Entree



  1. In a large skillet, saute the bell peppers with the olive oil and onion until the peppers and onions are tender and the onions are translucent. Set aside.
  2. In a large food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, sauteed bell peppers and onions, cranberries, basil, parsley, salt and pepper; cook over medium heat and bring to a boil.

  3. Lower heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is naturally sweetened from the cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts
The Best Tomato Sauce {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 63 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 84mg4%
Potassium 374mg11%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 1913IU38%
Vitamin C 59mg72%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Amie,

    I made the sauce, and it is absolutely delicious – so rich! It was lovely having it to look forward to as it simmered (and Sinatra crooned) throughout the afternoon. Thank you for sharing.