The Cheap-Ass Gourmet: Easy Crap-free Spaghetti Sauce

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a bottle of commercial pasta sauce? Seriously, it’s enough to choke a goat — sugar, enough salt to puff you up like a balloon for a month, and all sorts of disgusting crappy chemicals you can’t pronounce.

Mmmm… Spaghetti a la Paint Thinner, anyone?


And that is why I bring you my foolproof, ultra-cheap, freezable, kid-friendly, and delightfully industrial-crap-free tomato sauce.


Smiter’s little helper.

It takes about an hour to make — from the chopping of a couple of things to ladling it over pasta — and makes enough for several meals, if there are a few of you, or to freeze for quick after-work dinners for one.

You will need:

  • several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • one nice yellow onion, peeled and chopped (biggish chunks are OK; gives it body!)
  • 1-3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped or crushed
  • 1 bottle of crushed tomatoes (I used bottled because cans are lined with BPA unless they state otherwise)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • a decent splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a good-sized pot over medium heat. (Newbie tip: It’s warm enough to cook when a few drops of water sprinkled into it jump around and sizzle!) Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes till they’re soft but NOT brown/black around the edges. You’re not trying to fry them, just soften ’em up a bit.

My best friend, kinda.

My best friend, kinda.

Pour the tomato puree over the onions and garlic (add a bit of water to the empty jar & shake it with the lid on to get the last bits of tomato out), add the basil & oregano & Worcestershire sauce, and partly cover.

Leave the thing to cook for about 45 mins to an hour, until it’s as thick as you like. Give it a stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure it’s not sticking or boiling over or otherwise misbehaving.

If you’re planning on serving this with pasta, now’s a good time to put a pot of water on the back burner so it’ll be bubbling about 15 mins before your sauce is done.

After the sauce has cooked & reduced & is more or less done, add a teaspoon or so of salt and some good hearty grinds of black pepper. Stir it up & taste it with a CLEAN TEASPOON. Put that spoon in the sink after you use it — do NOT dip it into the pot again. We are not making Tomato Spit Sauce here. (This is one of Smiter’s pet peeves, as you know!)

Adjust seasonings as necessary and taste again (see above. Do not make me come over there).

Serve over pasta or whatever it is you usually put these sorts of things on. Keeps for about 5 days in the fridge, or freezes more or less indefinitely. And like most sauces & stews, it’s even better the second day. Don’t ask me why.

Total cost:

  • $1.99 for the crushed tomatoes
  • $0.50 for the onions, garlic, and everything else

TOTAL: $2.50 for approximately 8 servings, or 31 cents per serving.

Mama mia! πŸ™‚

~ Smiter out.

No chemicals? What an ap-peeling idea. :)

No chemicals? What an ap-peeling idea. πŸ™‚



  1. Micha's World

    Almost my recipe exactly, I also put carrots in mine. Tres yum!

  2. Mmmm…yes, those would be good. Chopped spinach is also nice — basically anything you fancy. πŸ™‚

    • jannah

      How about hot peppers instead of Worcestershire sauce?

      • For sure! Although you don’t have to omit the Worcestershire sauce — it rounds out the flavour really well.

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