Tomato and Oregano Sauce

Tomato and Oregano Sauce

This is a basic sauce but an important one with endless applications. We use a good-quality dried oregano as it has a robust flavour that we think holds well here. The longer this sauce cooks, the better the flavour. Use it with pasta or make baked beans by stirring through some braised beans with a sprinkling of paprika and a pinch of muscovado sugar. It also plays a part in in Spiced Chickpea Salad recipe that we’ve shared here on the website too.

Makes 600g


200g shallots

6 garlic cloves

400g can plum or cherry tomatoes

400g fresh tomatoes

2 tsp dried oregano

3 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

200g passata

Shot of virgin olive oil

Pinch of caster sugar (optional)



Sharp knife and chopping board

Potato masher (optional)


Can opener



Peel and chop the shallots

Mince the garlic cloves

Crush the canned tomatoes with clean hands or a potato masher

Chop the fresh tomatoes and remove the hard, white core



Sweat the shallots and oregano over a medium heat in the olive oil and salt until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more, being careful not to let it scorch or it will impart a bitter flavour to the sauce.

Add the canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and passata and cook, uncovered, on a very low heat for about an hour, stirring from time to time until the sauce has reduced by about half. Taste as you go and remove when you are happy with the flavour.

The sauce should be glossy and rich. Add a shot of virgin olive oil at the end of cooking for pepperiness or maybe a pinch of sugar if it requires sweetening, or salt if you want more flavour. Once cooled, you can blitz in a food processor for a smooth finish, depending on what you are using it for.