Perfect Pasta Sauce – This flavorful sauce has such an incredible blend of flavors. It’s perfect over pasta, spaghetti squash, or with a big serving of meatballs!
This sauce was born by accident a few months ago. I’d seen a recipe for pasta sauce that used sun-dried tomatoes and a little cream to add some depth, and wanted to try my hand at it. Being dairy free, I knew cream was out of the question, and as I often do, I tasted the sauce and added things as I went. One addition or swap happened after another, and by the time the sauce was finished, I wasn’t even close to the original recipe.
It was really good.
I jotted down a few notes on what I’d put into it, intending to come back to the recipe for more testing later. The next week, our date night fell through and I had 30 minutes to get dinner on the table before a hangry mutiny broke out. So, I grabbed that half-forgotten post-it and made the sauce exactly as I’d written it down. And it was really good again.
I’ve made this sauce probably 12 times since I first cobbled together a recipe for it, and it’s become one of my go-to recipes. Sometimes, it’s a little bit different, depending on what we have on hand. Sometimes, I’ll add a handful of spinach to the sauce. Other times, a hefty pinch of red pepper flakes. But the base recipe is the same, and it’s just what I’m looking for. To us, it’s the perfect pasta sauce.
As for what to serve it with, it’s a really beautifully flexible recipe. The sauce itself is paleo and vegan (dairy free, gluten free, grain free). You can easily stir it into some noodles (zucchini noodles, gluten free pasta, wheat pasta, whatever you like!), serve it over spaghetti squash, or add a batch of paleo meatballs. It’s one of those great recipes to have on hand in the freezer for nights when your plans fall through or you need a quick meal. I almost always double the recipe for this very reason.
Notes on the recipe:
OUR FAVORITE SUN-DRIED TOMATOES are Jeff’s Naturals brand. They’re packed in olive oil (no sunflower, canola, or safflower oils mixed in), and all the ingredients are recognizable. Plus, the flavor is AWESOME. I buy them at Sprouts.
IF YOU’RE NOT DAIRY FREE, feel free to use half-and-half or cream in place of the coconut milk. I don’t taste any coconut flavor, but I understand that if you’re not dairy free, you may not have coconut milk on hand.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN. Skip the mushrooms or olives if you don’t like them. Try adding a pinch of red pepper flakes for some kick. Add some minced roasted red peppers in with the sun-dried tomatoes. You do you.
Double up! I highly recommend making a double batch of this to store in the freezer. We eat the first half for dinner, then freeze the second half in zip-top bags laid flat in the freezer. They thaw quickly when frozen this way, which is great for last-minute dinners.
DON’T HAVE FRESH BASIL ON HAND? If you don’t have fresh basil, you can also stir in a tablespoon (or two) of basil pesto. You can also freeze fresh basil so that you’re never in a pinch without it!
This is a really flexible recipe. If you’re not a fan of one of the add-in ingredients (like olives, mushrooms, or sun-dried tomatoes), feel free to skip them! Likewise, feel free to add something extra, like a handful of spinach or some red pepper flakes for some kick.
1 Tbsp olive oil
8–10oz mushrooms, sliced (I use button or baby bellas)
2–3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, minced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, minced (can sub green or black olives)
3–4 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
2 (15oz) cans tomato sauce
3–4 Tbsp coconut milk (can sub half-and-half or cream)
salt and pepper, to taste
(optional: 1 handful baby spinach, a pinch of red pepper flakes, etc.)
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add mushrooms and cook 5-7 minutes, or until tender.
Add garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and basil. Stir 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and combined.
Stir in tomato sauce and coconut milk. Add salt and pepper, to taste.