Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
16 Jan

How to Make the Ultimate Homemade Tomato Sauce

The following is a recipe for a truly sensational tomato sauce (with meat!). Now, before everyone loses their minds and thinks that tomato sauce is only good atop a mound of carbohydrate-laden pasta, we’d like to remind you of its multiple uses.

This tomato sauce, for example, makes a great addition to eggplant for a variation on eggplant parmesan (with or without the actual parmesan). I personally like it on any number of different vegetables or even on a grilled steak. Another great use for this type of sauce? An Italian-inspired filling for omelets (just limit the amount to two or three spoonfuls or you’ll make a royal mess!)

And, if you still say a tomato sauce should only ever be served with spaghetti, we could even agree… but only if you’re talking about ultra-delicious spaghetti squash.

Although fresh is almost always best we’ve gone the canned tomato route with this recipe to cut the cooking time by a couple hours. Lucky for us, it turns out that canned tomatoes are a very healthy and sensible alternative to fresh tomatoes.

Now on to the recipe:


1 lb. ground beef
1 medium white onion, diced
1 red and yellow bell pepper,  diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tbs. rosemary chopped
1 tsp. thyme chopped
1 can 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can  6 oz. tomato paste
½ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. chili pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

Optional add-ins:
Mushrooms, zucchini or spinach

Coat pan with olive oil and add ground beef, onions, bell peppers, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Saute until ground beef turns brown.  Add remaining ingredients and let simmer. With a dish like this, patience is a virtue – the longer it simmers, the longer it gives the ingredients to mingle, creating a more robust, flavorful sauce.

Nutrition Analysis:
Divided into six hearty portions, the nutritional breakdown per serving, courtesy of our friends over at, is as follows:

Calories: 334.8
Fat (again, who really cares, but still): 16.1 grams (~43% calories from fat)
Carbohydrate: 23.0 grams (~27% calories from carbs)
Fiber: 5.5 grams
Net Carbs: 17.5 grams
Protein: 23.6 grams (~28% calories from protein)

Share your ideas for Primal applications of this delicious sauce in the comment boards, and report back when you’ve tried it!

Jake Sutton Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Winter Chili for a Chilly Winter

Oprah Hits 200 Lbs. Again.

More Primal Recipes

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. That sounds uber yummy.

    Fit Bottomed Girls wrote on January 16th, 2009
  2. I am convinced that my wife is the queen of the tomato sauces or something. She can whip up a delicious tomato sauce almost effortlessly… while mine always turn out kinda fooey!

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on January 16th, 2009
  3. Tasty, tasty. Another option, substitute finely chopped chorizo sausage instead of ground beef. But I like what you’ve got. Old country goodness.

    Lyndon wrote on January 16th, 2009
  4. This reminds me of my grandmother’s spaghetti sauce – still the best I’ve ever had, hands down. She used oregano instead of thyme, a pinch of clove in lieu of rosemary, and added sweet Italian sausage (wurst) in addition to the ground beef.

    A great meal to warm up with! O.K.–now I’m hungry.

    Jen wrote on January 16th, 2009
  5. Deeeeeelicious! As soon as The Primal Blueprint is published, we’re going to need a cookbook Mark!

    Holly wrote on January 16th, 2009
  6. This looks great!

    Sauce has always been where the art and flavor of pasta resides. Even after ditching the pasta from my cooking I have continued to make all those wonderful Italian pasta sauces from Marcella Hazan’s great cookbooks. But now I serve them over steamed, braised, or roasted veggies. I think this would be gorgeous on roasted cauliflower.

    Orie wrote on January 16th, 2009
  7. PB is dropping my bodyfat % when nothing else has … 6# and 3% over Christmas & New Year’s, no less.
    For my sauce, I double the garlic, drop the bell peppers (for me, anyhow) and add a pinch of cinnamon (else a half stick — remove when done). Clams or shrimp can substitute for the ground beef; venison works, too (either ground or cut into chunks).

    Samantine wrote on January 16th, 2009
  8. We like our ‘spaghetti’ sauce on finely julienned & steamed carrot and zucchini ‘pasta.’ You have to steam them separately since the carrot takes longer but it is super delicious.

    Marcy wrote on January 16th, 2009
  9. I don’t need antyhing at all with that tasty goodness…just serve it to me in a large bowl with a spoon. 😉


    Marc Feel Good Eating wrote on January 16th, 2009
  10. Hmm, rosemary and thyme. Might have to try the rosemary. Have some at home right now from another recipe. Don’t know why that one never hit me. I stick with Italian seasonings, oregano, a few red pepper seeds, more garlic and basil. Meat depends on what I feel like.


    Joe Matasic wrote on January 16th, 2009
  11. All good, I’d add in some cumin and ground chipotle for a little kick.

    Zen Fritta wrote on January 16th, 2009
  12. Hey Mark. I make something pretty similar to go with chicken and it tastes fantastic. Adding a little bit of chilli really gives the sauce the kick it needs.

    Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips wrote on January 16th, 2009
  13. Marcy,

    I love the idea of zucchini pasta. Are you willing to share your recipe? :)

    Jen wrote on January 16th, 2009
  14. I make a sauce like this all the time — so much so that I never understand why people buy the stuff that comes in jar. We often serve it in a noodle-less lasagna — we layer thinly sliced veggies instead of pasta.

    This looks like a fantastic recipe!

    FoodRenegade wrote on January 16th, 2009
  15. My mom makes a sauce like this to compliment her stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage and stuffed zucchini… We’ll have to try adding rosemary and thyme to the mix.

    Maria wrote on January 18th, 2009
  16. My sweet Italian wife makes the absolute best “gravy”, and interesting enough, it is remarkably dependent upon the particular brand of canned tomato sauce. Trust me on this. . . . Red Pack Crushed!

    Ray B. wrote on January 24th, 2009
  17. You recipe sounds remarkably familiar – we made 16 pints of sauce last weekend and put most in the freezer for ‘later’. We started with a pork roast and a beef roast, though: we ground it together and added sweet Italian sausage seasoning after grinding. This way, we were able to get wonderful coarsely ground meat for the sauce at $2 a pound. What a deal! and the sauce is wonderful.

    One hint, though, for new sauce makers: Don’t ever let the sauce get above a simmer – if it boils, it will get watery.

    Mary D. wrote on January 24th, 2009
  18. That sounds great, would it be bad to add chili to that recipe.

    Tom wrote on January 29th, 2009
  19. Leave out the onions rosemary and thyme and add in the oregano, mushrooms, more garlic and more oregano and that’s basically my recipe. Oh and some chopped streaky bacon.

    Helpful hint: throw in some whole black peppercorns for entertaining little hits of hotness, and paprika powder for added redness

    Goes exceptionally well over runner beans, bean sprouts or even asparagus, who needs spaghetti?

    Trinkwasser wrote on February 5th, 2009
  20. i made this last night and it is delightfully thick and delicious!! I couldn’t find crushed tomatoes at trader joe’s so i used diced, cut up whole, and 2 small cans of paste. I added mushrooms, zucchini, oregano and basil. I love the fresh thyme and rosemary. Also added a couple links of jalapeno chicken sausage.

    A few things I am planning on eating it over this week: pork tenderloin, shrimp, eggplant, and spaghetti squash!!

    I highly recommend! thank you!

    Emily wrote on June 23rd, 2009
  21. How to mark a tomato sauce pl send resipy

    mrs lakma paranagama wrote on June 16th, 2011
  22. Tried this recipe a few months back. Cooked it for dinner at my cousin’s. Everyone was a bit skeptical while watching me cook almost to a point where they we’re preparing a backup meal. However, between 4 of us, all that was left was about 1 more serving :)

    It was pretty good. Ingredients cost me about $35 Canadian with leftover wine.

    Thanks Mark, I will be making it again for my mom.

    Conrad wrote on July 4th, 2012
  23. Hai Lakma Aftera very long time !

    Bernard Paranagama wrote on April 29th, 2013

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