Sweet juicy tomatoes and tangy onions combine so well together in this chilli tomato sauce. It’s my favourite sauce for serving at a barbeque. It’s delicious piled onto a crispy breadroll with a grilled sausage and it complements my Boerewors Patties perfectly.
Chilli Tomato Sauce
Chilli Tomato Sauce is made from only 2 main ingredients, tomatoes and onions. It is super quick to make and freezes beautifully. I always wait until tomatoes are being sold cheaply in the supermarket and then I stock up on them and have a cookfest in the kitchen to fill my freezer with handy meal-sized bags.
This sauce packs so much more flavour than just opening a can of chopped tomatoes, and because it is homemade it has no preservatives whatsoever.
I use this Chilli Tomato Sauce as a base when I make Chilli Fish. It makes a great addition to Chilli Bolognese or you add it to a pasta and mince bake for an extra kick. In South Africa, it is served as a side dish at barbeque alongside your meat and salads and is so tasty when being mopped up with a piece of crusty bread.
Ingredients Chilli Tomato Sauce
Whenever I read a recipe I like to have a look at the ingredients to see whether I have everything I need. To make it easy for you – I’ve listed the ingredients below. You can get the full list of ingredients and quantities in the printable recipe card further down in the post.
- Olive oil – for sweating the onions
- Red wine vinegar – this provides tartness. You could use grape vinegar, or any other fruity vinegar. Don’t use malt vinegar as this would spoil the taste
- Brown sugar – this counteracts the tartness of the vinegar and also enhances the flavour of the tomatoes.
- Chilli flakes – this provides the heat – vary the quantity according to your taste
- Garlic – because garlic goes so well with tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to make chilli tomato sauce
Prepare the vegetables
- Chop up your tomatoes and onions into a chunky dice, approximately 1cm in size.
- Chop up the garlic cloves very finely, or crush in a garlic press
I like to chop my tomatoes and onions quite coarsely as I like a chunky texture, but you can make a smoother chilli tomato sauce by chopping them in a blender. The cooking time and the ingredients remain the same.
- Heat the olive oil in a suitable large saucepan and sweat the onions gently until they turn translucent.
- Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil.
- Now add the rest of the ingredients, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid.
- Leave to simmer for at least half-an-hour until the tomatoes have disintegrated and the onions are cooked.
- Remove the lid and let it continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the tomato sauce is thick and glossy.
- Depending on how much liquid is released by the tomatoes this whole process could take up to an hour. But I’m sure you’ll agree, once you’ve tasted it – that it is worth the wait!
Make a larger batch and freeze
To make a large batch, for freezing, follow the guidelines below:
- Make sure you have an equal quantity of tomatoes and onions
- Use 4 tablespoons vinegar per 6 tomatoes
- Use an additional 50g brown sugar per each additional 6 tomatoes. If you double the sugar the sauce will be too sweet.
- You can double the garlic, or add to your own taste
- Start by using only 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, bring to the boil and then taste. Add additional chilli to your own taste.
Freezing the chilli tomato sauce
If you have made a large batch, you will probably want to freeze this sauce for later use.
Divide it into portions, approximately the size of a can of tomatoes, and ladle it into individual ziploc bags. Lable with the date and store in the freezer. It will keep for at least 6 months in the freezer.
To use, allow it to defrost in the fridge or microwave and use in the place of a can of tomatoes in your recipes.
What to serve with Chilli Tomato Sauce
Why not serve this sauce as a side dish with Toad in the Hole. It would go really well with the batter and sausages instead of onion gravy.
You could also substitute the can of tomatoes in this chilli bolognese sauce with a helping of this tomato sauce.
Use it as a relish on steak or sausages, and it makes a great addition to a pasta bake.
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You probably have all of this equipment in your kitchen already. In case you are missing something, I’ve included some handy links to items on Amazon that you may find useful.
- Sharp knife – for chopping the vegetables
- Blender – in case you prefer a smoother texture
- Saucepan – large enough to hold all the tomatoes and onions
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Recipe – Chilli Tomato Sauce
Chilli Tomato Sauce
- 6 large tomatoes – coarsely chopped
- 6 medium onions – coarsely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 100 g brown sugar
- 1 tspn chilli flakes
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the tomatoes and onions
- Sweat the onions in the olive oil for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes and bring to the boil.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes until everything has turned into a lovely mushy sauce
- Now remove the lid and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and glossy – approximately another 20 minutes
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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