Simple Tomato Bell Pepper Sauce

Homemade pasta and pizza sauce recipe
The other night I had to jam on a quick dinner for my hubs and the kids. We love Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough for meals in a pinch. I always change up the toppings and we have a beautiful pizza in about 12 minutes. As I dashed for a jar of tomato sauce I realized we had none of our favorite on hand. I moved quickly as tummies were rumbling and had this ready in about 25 minutes. All you need is a can of crushed tomatoes, bell pepper, fresh garlic, onion and some spices to rock out a great sauce.

Cans of tomato sauce from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Muir Glen, San Marzano

Sorry I do not have a photo of the pizza. Those dark night time photos are never too good looking anyway. The nice thing about pizza night is I pack get to pack a few slices in their lunch boxes for the next day. This is of course great over a bowl of pasta too.

Yellow and red bell peppers with vine ripe tomatoes

The best thing about a big batch of tomato sauce is that it can be enjoyed for a few days in a row with all different kinds of meals. The flavor actually gets better after a day or two as the ingredients have a chance to blend together.Β I love topping all kinds of meats, seafood, veggies and grilled chicken with this sauce and a sprinkling of our favorite Pecorino Romano cheese.

Homemade pasta and pizza sauce recipe

You can add so much to this sauce, it is a great canvas for many additional flavors.

Homemade pasta and pizza sauce recipe

Turn it into a spicy puttanesca, add ground meat to make a bolognese. Add shrimp, seafood and spices for a fra diavolo sauce. The sky’s the limit.

Homemade pasta and pizza sauce recipe

What is your favorite pasta and pizza sauce? Do you have a great recipe for whole wheat pizza dough?


Tomato Sauce Recipe Links

~ Marla Meridith

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55 thoughts on “Simple Tomato Bell Pepper Sauce

  1. I like the Trader Joe’s pizza dough too, it’s a great way to make pizza fast. I think San Marzano tomatoes are the best when making your own tomato sauce, they are the most flavorful. I also like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes to my sauce to make it a little spicy.

    1. Sylvie: Those San Marzano tomatoes are something special. They do have a unique flavor to them. Red pepper flakes are a favorite over here too – my little girl always asks for a little heat & spice. Where do you live? Thought you were somewhere overseas. Obviously not if you have access to Trader Joe’s pizza crust…..

  2. Marla, the recipe looks wonderful! And your photos…they are so VIBRANT and bright and awesome!

    That multicolored spoon is just perfect with the sauce and photo spread.

    Speaking of photography, I got Lightroom 3. Holy interfacing with my Mac + WordPress nightmare. Spent all weekend trying to just get it integrated. Now I could use another weekend to maybe learn it πŸ™‚

    I think I need to try your program out!

    Cannot wait for Tuesday!! It’s the highlight of my week πŸ™‚


    1. Averie: From my understanding you will love Lightroom. It is an industry standard that many of my photog buddies use. I have Photoshop because it is what we used to use back in my days at Disney. I think Lightroom might be more specific to what we do with food photography. New software can be very challenging at first, but well worth your efforts to learn. In a few weeks you will be zipping around it like you have known it all your life. Time and patience my friend. Not two things I am very good at over here. Learning though.
      I am loving that fork too. Think I found it at Target.

  3. Fresh sauce is so easy to make and so much better than store-bought. My kids love puttanesca sauce. If I’m in a hurry, sometimes I just throw together garlic, chopped anchovies and olive oil, then stir in some pasta water to make a sauce. For extra protein, I have even thrown in some canned sardines. Topped with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, it was delicious and my kids actually loved it.

    1. Jeanette: The canned sardines are a great idea for an extra protein boost. My kids love ’em so I need to give it a try. They usually eat them straight out of the can or in pasta tossed with olive oil and parmesan. The sauce will be a bonus!

    1. Heather: “smell-o-vision” You crack me up girl. Thank goodness that does not exist yet. I would make myself nuts looking at everyone’s goodies online!

    1. Maryea: Do share a link in the comments if you have one for your whole wheat pizza dough…..and any of your favorite sauces if you wish.

  4. I could see how particularly good this would be on pizza. And I love how easy this is!

    And I feel you on night time photos…I often wish I had some studio lighting or something. I’d settle for more hours in daylight though, hah. Also, I was reading earlier comments….Lightroom just takes a little adjustment. I recently just got in myself and have been playing around with it. You can export the photos to photoshop, tweak them, and then save them in Photoshop for easy usage on WordPress. Not sure if that’s of any help to anyone.

    1. Grace: One day my goal is to have some strobes on hand for times when the lighting is not quite right. Thanks for sharing those helpful tips on Lightroom. Many people are wondering what is the best editing software to purchase. I did not know that it integrated so well with Photoshop, or that they would need to be used together. I thought Lightroom handled all the edits? Guess not.

  5. Those forks rock! Hubby and I were just talking about how
    me needed to do more things with our tomatoes instead of just
    canning and drying. This is perfection!!! πŸ™‚

  6. Oh I am so delighted you featured this healthy tomato
    sauce! Planning to stock up on whole wheat pizza dough next time I
    go to Trader Joe’s. That will be PERFECT for Friday nights! Happy
    Week my FRIEND! I got my English Toffee Stevia and thought of you
    when I dropped it in my coffee this morning. Hugs! xo

    1. Susan: Thanks so much for sharing that helpful link with me. Your veggie pizza is perfect. The gruyΓ©re, mushrooms and olives are a perfect combo of well defined flavors. Now I have no excuses not to make my own pizza crust.

    1. Susan: You are so right, this kind of sauce is excellent to store in the freezer for in a pinch meals. Gotta make some more and do that. I do the same thing with big batches of applesauce.

  7. I love the flavor of sweet red peppers mixed in with tomato sauce. Especially if they are roasted red peppers! Can’t be beat. This sounds like a great sauce to have on hand for a wide variety of weeknight meals!

    1. Joanne: Sugar is so commonly added to tomato sauce which I never like. The sweetness of the bell peppers is all you need to get that little touch of sweet.

  8. Love the photos! Making tomato sauce is the only way I can
    keep up with my tomato garden in the summer. Hmmm….maybe we can
    work out a deal this year. I’ll give you some San Marzano’s and
    you’ll give me some baked goods. Deal?

  9. Marla, love the ingenuity – and nothing like a fresh made sauce without all that sugar, right? This one sounds like you packed it with flavor – red pepper idea so good! Always a fun post to read πŸ˜€

  10. Beautiful as always Marla. I definitely make homemade sauce over store bought. I haven’t bought a jar of sauce since I was in my early twenties!

  11. I’m lazy and rarely make my own tomato sauce, but this
    summer, when there’s a glut of tomatoes, I’ll try to remember your
    recipe. I like the sound of that bell pepper in there!

  12. This is such a delicious and simple looking sauce, Marla!
    With juicy, plump tomatoes cropping up in the stores and farmers
    markets, I’m going to have even more around than usual, and I’ll be
    needing plenty of ideas for how to use them. This will be perfect!
    Thanks for sharing a lovely, healthy recipe like this and inspiring
    me for the spring and summer. πŸ™‚

  13. I have so many bell peppers right now. I’ll definitely be making sauce out of it.

    Oh, I wish I wish I had a TJ’s close to me! I’m so jealous. πŸ™‚

    I way prefer recipes that are methods more than specific. It makes so much more sense to me.

    1. Mariko: I too am a big fan of method recipes. The more I cook the more ideas, inspirations and techniques come from intuition. I like tossing things into hot pans and tasting along the way. 99% of the time there is great success! I have started measuring a bit more lately because I need to post the recipe – with at least some guidelines for folks who don’t cook at all.

  14. I make a very similar sauce, but add an equivalent amount of peppers to tomatoes, and toast the peppers first, then peel them. I always use canned DOP tomatoes. Even though they are way more expensive, there is just no comparison regarding the flavour. Yes, I have done canned tomato taste testing – more than a few times. The DOP from San Marsano win every time – and by a long shot. LOVE these kinds of recipes. They are so versatile, and make a lovely soup, too, when thinned with stock.

    1. Valerie: I am happy you told me about the taste test. Honestly I have never done a side by side comparison. People tend to favor the San Marsano time and time again. I do need to take the extra time to roast my peppers. It adds such heightened flavor.
      Thinning sauces for soup is a great idea. A splash of heavy cream or a few dollops of sour cream stirred in would be nice too.