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Sugar Free Tomato Sauce (Easy, no peel recipe!)

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Late August through September is officially dubbed tomato season on the homestead. When ripe tomatoes are coming out of our ears, this no peel, sugar free tomato sauce recipe is our solution to tomato overwhelm. It’s an easy and delicious way to put those tomatoes to use and enjoy them all year round!

Our Tomato Story

Neither of us grew up farming or gardening. In fact, 2012 was the year that we grew our first ever tomato plant. 

Jim built this beautiful self-watering planter box for my birthday that he’d seen in an issue of ‘The Family Handyman’. We bought a few seedlings and away we went. By August the plants were huge and we’d successfully grown our first few tomatoes.

diy self watering planter box

Fast forward to 2018. We’d expanded our garden to cover most of the front and backyard of our 1/3-acre suburban lot and we were swimming in tomatoes. With a 1-month-old and 2-year-old in tow, I set to work learning the art of canning and preserved enough tomato sauce to use for the entire year.

While we love the abundance that tomato season brings, it can feel overwhelming! 

After experimenting with a few different methods and recipes for making tomato sauce—Instant Pot, slow cooker, stove top—we ultimately landed on roasted tomatoes being our favorite method and the primary ingredient in this sugar free tomato sauce recipe.

Why Roasted Tomatoes?

The beauty of using roasted tomatoes in sugar free tomato sauce is that heating the tomatoes at a high temperature in the oven brings out a natural sweetness, almost a caramelized-like taste, in the tomatoes. This creates a deliciously sweet tomato sauce with no added sugar necessary.

roasted tomatoes for sugar free tomato sauce

Roasting the tomatoes was also the easiest, most hands-off method! This is very important when tomato season already falls during a very busy time of the year with back to school and all that comes with it. 

By roasting the tomatoes for a significant amount of time (1 hour or more) it also helps some of the excess liquid to evaporate on its own. This means that there is no cooking down required. After the tomatoes have been roasted, simply toss the whole thing in a blender or food processor for a thick, creamy tomato sauce.

No Peel Tomato Sauce

Another necessity for us in creating the best sugar free tomato sauce recipe, is that it would require no peeling but still have a perfectly smooth texture without the grit from the skin that can often come when they are left on.

When we first made and canned tomato sauce in 2018, I asked a friend for her family recipe. She handed me a copy or what felt like a family heirloom. While it is a yummy tomato sauce, I instantly knew it wouldn’t be a great fit for us. It listed 20 or so ingredients and the first step was blanching the tomatoes to remove the tomato skins followed by a dozen or so more steps. With an infant and 2-year-old, I thought, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Instead, I learned that if blended with the right tool, those skins just disappear into your tomato sauce. An immersion blender likely will leave some of the grittiness from the skin in the sauce. But a high powered blender (we love our Vitamix) or a food processor will lead to a wonderfully smooth sauce.

quick smooth no peel tomato sauce recipe

Another important reason for keeping the tomato peel on is that this is where a significant amount of a tomato’s nutrients resides. According to this study, removing the skins drastically lowered the amounts of lycopene, beta carotene, ascorbic acid, phenolics, and antioxidant capacity. 

We are always fans of simplifying recipes and increasing our nutrition—leaving tomato skins on does both!

Tomato Nutrition

Tomatoes are well known for their robust amount of lycopene. Lycopene is a type of plant chemical known as a carotenoid. It’s the pigment that gives food like tomatoes, red peppers or watermelons their characteristic pink or red color. Lycopene is also a powerful antioxidant, can help protect from heart disease, certain cancers, and is good for bone health!

ripe homegrown tomatoes from the garden

An interesting fact about lycopene is that it actually increases the longer a tomato is cooked for! A Cornell University study showed that after just 2 minutes of cooking, the amount of lycopene in a tomato increased by 54% and after 30 minutes it was 164% higher!

However, other nutrients like vitamin C were decreased by 29% after 30 minutes of cooking. So getting a variety of both fresh and cooked tomatoes can be helpful to get the most robust amounts of available nutrients.

Tomatoes are also a great source of potassium, folate, vitamin K, and fiber.

Sugar Free Tomato Sauce

As I alluded to in our discussion above, the process for making this sugar free tomato sauce is quite simple!

It’s as easy as:

  1. Roasting tomatoes at 450°F for roughly 1 hour.
  2. Using a blender or food processor, blend tomatoes along with desired herbs and spices.
  3. Store in fridge, can, or freeze for long term storage.
simple sugar free tomato sauce

Ingredients in Sugar Free Tomato Sauce

If following an exact recipe is your style, I’m sorry to disappoint you! This recipe is highly flexible and adaptable based on how many tomatoes you have, what’s on hand, and your preferences. In our experience, no two batches of tomato sauce are exactly the same. But they are all delicious!

Tomatoes! Honestly, you could get away with making a darn good tomato sauce using only roasted and blended tomatoes. Any kind of tomatoes will work! If we are using large slicing tomatoes, I like cut them in quarters or eighths. For smaller tomatoes, you can chop them in half. And for smaller cherry tomatoes, I just place them on the cookie sheet whole.

garden tomatoes on cutting board for no peel tomato sauce

Garlic. While garlic isn’t 100% necessary, we love the flavor it adds. Garlic cloves, garlic scapes, or granulated garlic will all work.

Herbs. We tend to keep it simple and will often add a bit of fresh or dried basil to our tomato sauce but chives, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, savory, and tarragon could also be great additions!

Salt & Pepper. Enough said!

Necessary Equipment

  • Rimmed baking sheets for roasting your tomatoes. Stainless steel or glass both work well for this. We like to use these cookie sheets with a silicone mat underneath to make clean up a bit easier. Just remember, the rim is very important. Otherwise, you’ll have a tomato juice mess in your oven!
  • High Powered Blender or Food Processor. We love our Vitamix for this but any sort of high-powered blender or food processor will work. You can use an immersion blender but, in our experience, they aren’t powerful enough to fully eliminate the gritty peel texture if that bothers you.
blending tomato sauce in vitamix

How to Preserve Sugar Free Tomato Sauce

Canning or freezing would both work for preserving this tomato sauce. Because we’ll make 50-100 quarts of tomato sauce over the course of the season, canning works best for us. We also prefer the texture that comes with canning. However, if you are only making a few batches of sauce and have extra freezer space, freezing could be a great option!

To freeze, pour your finished tomato sauce into freezer a safe container and store in the freezer until you are ready to use.

Water Bath Canning: Once a rolling boil is reached and water is fully covering your jars by at least one inch, process your pint size jars for 35 minutes and your quart size jars for 40 minutes.

Pressure Canning: To pressure can your tomato sauce, can at 11 psi for 20 minutes for a pint and 25 minutes for a quart.

Sugar Free Tomato Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

Tomatoes*
3-4 cloves Garlic
Basil or other herbs
1 tbsp salt
Pepper to taste

*There is no specific number of tomatoes to use for this recipe. Use what you have. Our system is to make a batch roughly every other day where 2 cookie sheets are filled with tomatoes. This amount yields 12 cups of sauce.

Directions:

1. Place tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. For larger tomatoes, cut in quarters or halves. Cherry tomatoes are left whole.

chopped tomatoes on cookie sheets ready to roast

2. Roast at 450°F for roughly one hour until they are beginning to brown on top and are quite fragrant.

roasted tomatoes on cookie sheet

3. Scoop roasted tomatoes into blender or food processor along with garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.

4. Blend until smooth.

5. Store in fridge or preserve for later use.

sugar free tomato sauce recipe

To freeze, pour your finished tomato sauce into freezer safe container and store in the freezer until you are ready to use.

Water Bath Canning: Once a rolling boil is reached and water is fully covering your jars by at least one inch, process your pint size jars for 35 minutes and your quart size jars for 40 minutes.

Pressure Canning: To pressure can your tomato sauce, can at 11 psi for 20 minutes for a pint and 25 minutes for a quart.

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For more Food Preservation Recipes, check out:

Easy No Peel Applesauce
How To Make Kale Powder
How To Preserve Nettle
Peach Crumble With Oats

quick no peel no sugar tomato sauce

Sugar Free Tomato Sauce (Easy, no peel recipe!)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Late August through September is officially dubbed tomato season on the homestead. When ripe tomatoes are coming out of our ears, this no peel, sugar free tomato sauce recipe is our solution to tomato overwhelm. It’s an easy and delicious way to put those tomatoes to use and enjoy them all year round!

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes*

  • 3-4 cloves Garlic

  • Basil or other herbs

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Place tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. For larger tomatoes, cut in quarters or halves. Cherry tomatoes are left whole.
    2. Roast at 450°F for roughly one hour until they are beginning to brown on top and are quite fragrant.
    3. Scoop roasted tomatoes into blender or food processor along with garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.
    4. Blend until smooth.
    5. Store in fridge or preserve for later use.

Notes

*There is no specific number of tomatoes to use for this recipe. Use what you have. Our system is to make a batch roughly every other day where 2 cookie sheets are filled with tomatoes. This amount yields 12 cups of sauce.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, just found your channel on YouTube, came over for the deep dish sourdough pizza crust recipe and clicked on the sauce recipe link. Love the idea of an easy no peel way of making sauce. I have several bags of tomatoes in my freezer that I froze whole last Fall, do you think I could use them for this recipe? Maybe thaw them first? Love your channel and blog!

    1. Hi! Great question! I’ve never tried with using frozen tomatoes. I think you definitely could but my fear is that the sauce might be a bit watery from being frozen. You might try adding some cooked winter squash in there to thicken it up!

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