Davina McCall’s tomato sauce recipe

A good tomato sauce is one of the most useful things to have in your fridge or freezer. I know you can buy sauces in jars but making your own saves you loads of money – and having sauce available for quick suppers saves you precious time as well. And obvs, homemade is way better. Use this sauce over pasta, for lasagne, bean dishes, whatever you fancy.

Debby Lewis-Harrison


Prep 15 minutes
Cooking up to 2 hours
91 calories per 150ml serving

2 onions, very finely diced
½ bulb of garlic, cloves peeled and
finely chopped
4 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp dried oregano
sprig of fresh thyme
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

1. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onions and fry gently over a low to medium heat until they’re very soft and translucent – this will take at least 15 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the tomatoes. Use 500ml of water to rinse out the cans, then add it to the sauce to make sure you use every bit of the tomatoes. Add the bay, oregano and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer for an hour. Stir regularly to make sure the sauce isn’t catching on the base of the pan.
3. Remove the lid and taste the sauce. If it is at all acidic, add a generous pinch of cinnamon – this will provide a natural sweetness so is a good alternative to sugar. Continue to simmer for another half hour to reduce the sauce.
4. Take the pan off the heat and fish out the bay leaf and the thyme stalk – all the leaves from the sprig will have dropped
off into the sauce. If not using the sauce immediately, leave it to cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge, where it will keep for a week, or you can divide it into portions and pop them in the freezer.


Davina’s Kitchen Favourites will be published by Seven Dials, price £20. As well as loads of nutrition advice and useful info, chapters include: breakfast and brunch; lunch on the run; family suppers; save time, save money; slow down, and puddings and bakes, plus essential basics and a
5-week plan to help you lose weight. To order a copy for £16 until 4 March, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.