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Heirloom Tomato Sauce in a Crock Pot

Ever since childhood I have had one true love from the garden – tomatoes.  In the interest of full disclosure there isn’t much from the garden that I don’t adore but tomatoes grow at home have a noted advantage over anything you can buy in the supermarket; it’s called taste.

heirloom tomato sauce

After a recent trip to Portland I returned home to a huge number of my beloved heirloom tomatoes ready for picking even after asking neighbors to take whatever they could use.  The colander was overflowing with gorgeous ripe heirloom tomatoes from six different varieties and I was ready to make sure I didn’t lose a single one!

One particularly beautiful specimen was sliced and found its way onto our breakfast plates this morning while the rest (as seen in the photo above) were chopped and pureed, combined with a healthy bunch of fresh picked herbs, peppers and onions and are now simmering the rainy afternoon away in my crock pot.

There are lots of recipes and schools of thought about how to make this or that the right way but to be honest I am almost entirely self-taught in the kitchen and I have discovered that the only right way is the way that works best for you.  If you are the type who feels more comfortable following recipes to the letter then by all means, do it!

I tend to be the look-cook-taste type, meaning that I look at a recipe to see what the general ingredients list is like then I combine the ingredients my way, tasting as I go and adding a bit more of whatever my taste buds tell me is called for.  That said, here are the ingredients in my crock pot tomato sauce and the general guidelines for how I make it happen:

INGREDIENTS (give or take)

  • tomatoes

  • onion

  • peppers (I use both sweet and hot)

  • olive oil

  • oregano

  • sage

  • parsley

  • garlic

  • coarse sea salt

  • peppercorns


First let me say that I don’t remove the skin or the seeds from my tomatoes because I puree them in my Vita-Mix and by the time they make it to my crock pot or sauce pan there is most often no indication of skin or seeds.  Even when I make salsa I leave the tomato skin and seeds intact.

  1. Start by adding a Tablespoon or so of olive oil to the crock pot, covering it and turning it on high while you process the ingredients.

  2. Coarsely chop tomatoes and onion and toss them in the Vita-Mix, blender or food processor and process until smooth along with your herbs, peppers and peppercorns.  You may have to do this in batches (in my case I filled the Vita-Mix container three times).

  3. Add the pureed ingredients to the crock pot along with a good pinch of sea salt and cover.  Cook on high, stirring occasionally and cook until it has reduced and thickened.  This process takes a long time but it is well worth the lack of effort that is required.  In other words you don’t have to do anything but stir it every so often so quit complaining.

That’s really all there is to it, folks.  You can then let the mixture cool and can it or pour it into large zipper bags and freeze it for an ultra-fast meal in minutes anytime.


Wanted to do a quick update to give you a glimpse of the finished product.  First, here is the sauce while it was cooking down in the crock pot after about 12 hours:

heirloom tomato sauce 2

Footnote:  If you’ve been on the fence about spending the money on a Vita-Mix, you can use the Vita-Mix coupon code 06-004453 to get free shipping in the U.S. and Canada (a $25 savings), or just click here.  If you would rather order by phone, call 1-800-848-2649 and ask for Sue at ext. 2308.  Give her the coupon code above and tell her Michael sent ya!

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