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Homemade Easy Spicy Winter Tomato Sauce and How to preserve it

Spicy Tomato Sauce


I have made this spicy tomato sauce recently and have used it in a few recipes which will be posted soon.  I call it a winter sauce because I have used tinned tomatoes, whereas in summer I would have used fresh ripe tomatoes and may be some fresh basil or fresh oregano in it.  Making your own sauces from scratch is very easy, there are no preservatives and it’s much more cheaper, so here’s a good start on saving time and money.

The result is a mildly hot sauce which you can prepare ahead of time and use it whenever you need it.  If you are busy, you can do this a few days ahead of time as the sauce holds very well when refrigerated and the flavours improve and gets even better as they mix together.

It keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week.    However, here’s a method my mother used and which is well known to the Greeks, who’ve been using olive oil for millenia.   Olive oil is a natural preservative, preventing air from coming into contact with the food and thus destroying it.   So, adding a layer on top of the jar, not only adds to the flavour but also prevents mold from forming on the food.

If you like, you can also make larger quantities and store it in the deep freezer for longer periods.  In this case, divide it into smaller batches, according to your needs and store it in the deep freezer for months.

Place it in Tupperware bowls or in heavy duty zip lock bags, making sure that until it freezes the opening side will be facing up.  Thaw before using.

I have been doing this for ages and may be I have mentioned it before in another post.  When I open a tin of tomato paste fand use a small amount for example, I then level it with a spoon and add olive oil on top.  I also use olive oil as a preservative on top of pickled vegetables or in olives.

If the olive oil turns white after a few days, as the second picture above, don’t worry as this is perfectly natural.  If you take it out of the refrigerator for a while, you will see that it will turn into olive oil again.  When using the sauce or tomato paste, try and take out some with a spoon as far as it reaches, so as not to remove the olive oil.  If some is removed, just add more olive oil on top.

Spicy Winter Tomato Sauce, recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:  10 minutes
Cooking time:  about 30 minutes
Makes: about 2 cups


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tin (500 grams) whole tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 – 5 whole allspice berries
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • A pinch of thyme
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Greek honey (or sugar, if vegan)
  • ½ cup water


  1. In a food processor puree the onion and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pot and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 – 6 minutes,until translucent.
  3. In the same food processor add the tomato together with tomato paste and give it a quick whiz.
  4. Add tomatoes, spices and honey.  The last step is to add the water by washing off the tomato tin.
  5. Bring to a slow boil, reduce the heat to medium low and let this simmer for about half an hour or until the sauce is thick, mixing now and then.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool.
  7. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  8. Store in sterilized jars.  Cover the surface of the jar with a thin layer of olive oil and seal with a lid.

Note:   If you want to buy fancy jars it’s fine but why not save money and recycle any glass jars from products you have bought to store your own homemade jams, fruit preserves, pickles, sauces etc..  It’s good for your pocket and for the environment and if you give it as a gift to a friend or relative, I am sure the gesture will still be appreciated as well as the content.

Use it to make pasta or pizza.

Until I post some of my recipes, I would love to hear where you would use this sauce.

Other relevant posts:

How to sterilize jars

Marinara Sauce

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,


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9 Responses

  1. A beautiful sauce! Like you, I always add bay leaves to my sugo…



  2. I love tomato sause, I use it in many dishes! Yours sounds really good!

  3. I love this Ivy because it has canela in it! Mmm…

  4. You know, I have never used cinnamon or other spices in tomato sauce. I must try the next time: the mix of spices in your sauce sounds nice. I do recycle glass jars! I agree with you: it’s a good thing to do all the way round.

  5. What is allspice berries in Greek? It sounds like a very tasty sauce…

    • Ivy

      Bahari (μπαχάρι)

  6. A nice way to perk up tomatoes in winter! I always use that trick you mention on top of tomato paste and other sauces: it works with any kind of oil if the only olive oil at hand is of the expensive kind.

  7. Thanks, I am always looking for interesting sauce recipes and this one sounds like one of the best yet.


  8. Fatima Hipolito

    Wow this is my firs time to see a sauce like this and looks really taste. thanks for the recipe you share in here I will try this at home..