Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch

Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch | The Gluten-Free Homemaker

I’ve never bothered with making spaghetti sauce from scratch.  One of the things I really like about spaghetti is that it can be a quick and easy meal when using sauce from a jar.  The other reason I never made it is that so many recipes use canned tomatoes.  To me, that’s not completely from scratch, and if I’m going to open cans of tomatoes, I might as well just open a jar of sauce.

MP900400601 I’m actually not very fond of tomatoes.  I like them cooked just fine, but I don’t like them raw.  I don’t like the taste, smell or feel of them.  I even dislike tomato plants.  I have grown a few tomato plants over the years for the sake of my family, and this year I decided to try a grape tomato plant.  That one plant has produced an abundance of tomatoes over the past few weeks and I have learned that I don’t mind eating them raw (the smaller the better, though).

So when I started receiving lots of large tomatoes from my CSA box I knew I would have to do something with them.  The grape tomatoes were all we needed for regular eating.  That led me to deciding to try spaghetti sauce from scratch.  I really thought it would be too much work, especially boiling the tomatoes and peeling them, but I was wrong.  Sure, it takes longer than opening a jar, but it wasn’t bad at all, and I made a lot of it.

Peeling the Tomatoes

I was tempted not to peel the tomatoes, but then I thought of times when I use canned tomatoes and a bit of peel gets in there.  It’s tough and unpleasant.  Peel the tomatoes.  It’s easy to do.

Bring a pot of water to boil.  I use my electric tea pot to get water hot quickly.  The pot does not have to be big enough to hold all the tomatoes.  I did four at a time. Also have a bowl of ice water ready to put the boiled tomatoes into.  Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and set your timer for 1 minute.  That’s all it takes and slightly less time is better than more.  As soon as the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes and immediately submerge them in the ice water.  Add the next batch of tomatoes to the pot and set your timer again until all the tomatoes have been boiled.

Doing this step doesn’t take long and it makes removing the skins so easy.  They slide right off the tomato, and sometimes just fall off.

This makes a large batch of sauce so you can freeze the extra or plan to use it for more than one meal.

Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch 2 | The Gluten-Free Homemaker

4.5 from 2 reviews
Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch
Serves: 12
  • 4-5 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ – 2½ pounds ground beef or sausage
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ¼ cup red wine
  1. Boil the tomatoes for one minute, then immediately put into ice water. Once cool, remove and peel the skin.
  2. Slice the tomatoes from the top down several times and remove the seeds.
  3. Remove the stem, chop the tomatoes, and put them in a colander to drain. (This is important. It will be too watery if you don't drain them well.)
  4. Sauté the ground beef or sausage. When it is halfway done, add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic to soften them up. Drain.
  5. Add everything except the wine to your slow cooker and stir to mix.
  6. Cover it and cook on high 3 – 3½ hours or low 6 – 6½ hours.
  7. Stir in the wine, turn the cooker to high if you had it on low, and cook another 30 minutes. Remove the lid during this time if the sauce is too thin.

This post is linked to the following food carnivals.  The links you will find there are not necessarily gluten-free, but many are naturally gluten-free or can easily be adapted.

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  1. GFree_Miel says

    In my family, not liking tomatoes is blasphemy! I've never made my own sauce, but my mom does it all the time. I absolutely love tomatoes to the extent that I have to keep myself from just biting into them raw. Your sauce looks delicious! I love that you didn't buy canned tomatoes, not that there's anything wrong with them. There's just something about slicing into a fresh tomato that is so wonderful.

    Oh boy, I'm a bit passionate about tomatoes.

  2. Jenn says

    Gorgeous tomato sauce! I love making sauce like this, the long cooking time brings out the best flavor!

  3. The Happy Housewife says

    I can't believe you don't like tomatoes! How did I not know this about you. I don't like them either. I am going to have to try your sauce, I made sauce one from tomatoes the Cole's gave us and it was terrible! I am willing to try again though.


  4. ShareWIK says

    This looks SO GOOD! I love the recipes you post. I have a website,, and would love to hear from you! ShareWIK (share What I Know) is a website devoted to bringing together women from all different situations and backgrounds (as well as a few men!) to talk about their experiences and learn from each other. We are taking about Celiac Disease this week on ShareWIK, and I would love your intake. Just sign up to get started. Hope to hear from you!
    – Diana Keough
    P.S. And keep up the great work!

  5. Stephanie says

    I love freshly made tomato sauce! It's the best. I need to get myself in gear, and make some with my own ripening tomatoes!

    I'm also a huge fan of the grape tomatoes! You should try the yellow grape tomatoes, they're realy good too :)

  6. Alisa says

    I'm like you, I prefer them cooked to raw! Your sauce looks awesome, I may have to give it a go.

    My version of from-scratch sauce (which I made last night with CSA tomatoes too!) is more basic. I saute some onions in a little olive oil, add in diced tomatoes and garlic. I then add a little salt (usually more salt later to taste, I don't like to front load too much!) and any herbs or spices I am feeling like. Let 'er simmer. That's about it. I should get more adventurous!

  7. Jennifer says

    I made this for dinner tonight along with your focaccia bread. It was so good! Little bit of work, but very much worth it. I used ground turkey instead, but stuck to your recipe 100% otherwise. Delicious! My gluten eating husband loved the meal as well.

  8. kathy says

    i’ve never known anyone else who dislikes tomatoes. funny how i love them as ketchup, spag. sauce, salsa, etc., but hate them raw.

    thanks for the recipe. can’t wait to try it.

  9. Rheanna says

    I just made this for dinner, it was AMAZING! I skipped the canned tomato paste, and added crushed red pepper, nutmeg, and sage. Random, I know, but nutmeg is my miracle ingredient. Try it!

  10. Vickie says

    I made this over the weekend and it was wonderful. Making it again for a night home with the girls. I cooked mine on the stove top rather than in the slow cooker – delish!

  11. Mary Ellen says

    This recipe is good but any gourmet chef would keep it all fresh. I also grow tomatoes and make my own sauce. I’ll cook down a batch of ripe roma tomatoes, put them in freezer containers, then at the end of the tomato season, I thaw all the batches in my big soup pot. My secret ingredients are garlic, onions and fresh herbs. I toss in a huge handful of fresh oregano (later the stems will be left which can easily be fished out of the sauce with a spagetti grabber) I cheffonade a big handful of basil & add it last. For a little sweetness you can add brown rice syrup or agave syrup. I never measure anything, just taste and adjust. Freze in family proportions, add meat later, use for pizza, chili etc.

  12. jacob says

    My problem is this: i need a recipe that doesn’t involve tomato paste, canned/jarred sauce, or olive oil. any ideas? or help? please?

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