Balsamic Pesto Tomato Sauce

By Ann Fulton

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The taste of marinara sauce made with fresh tomatoes is divine.  Finding the time to peel and seed the required tomatoes can be enough to make you buy a jar!  I decided to try a new approach which eliminated  these tedious steps. The first time I made this, I turned around and bought more tomatoes the very next day so I would have plenty to freeze.

I recommend plum or Roma tomatoes for this recipe as they have fewer seeds than other varieties.  In lieu of the traditional herbs, I use pesto (click HERE for my Asiago Pesto Spread recipe) to flavor this sauce.  Mouth-watering on pasta, this sauce is perfect on pizza as well!

You gotta love it when something so easy is so delicious!

Balsamic Pesto Tomato Sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pesto (I use my Asiago Pesto Spread)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper; process until smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir in the olive oil.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in the pesto and sugar and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
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The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

Pesto Pasta Pizza is one of my favorite recipes using this sauce and my homemade pesto. Click on the photo to see the recipe.

This recipe was shared with Mandy’s Recipe Box.

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    1. Ann

      If you have a little extra space in your fridge, the dilly beans will last a long time there. So, not to worry on the canning…enjoy!

  1. Mary Lou Keller

    Two questions.. Would you put in pesto first and freeze. Also, if I use mason jars to freeze, should I sterile them first?

    Not done anything like this so I am not sure..

    1. Ann

      The pesto freezes very well, so you can absolutely freeze the sauce with the pesto mixed in. As for the jars, as long as they are clean, they do not need to be sterilized for use in the freezer. Just allow a half inch or so of space at the top to allow for expansion.

  2. Mary Lou Keller

    Great! Thanks so much for quick response. I’ll make another batch. We’re having tonight.. Late dinner but so worth it.

  3. Mary Lou Keller

    Ann is this frees able do you know? I have a lot of tomatoes I got at market. Thought about making another batch.

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  6. Mary Lou Keller

    Hi Ann! Totally forgot about this recipe.. I made last year and I’m making it again..and will use to make eggplant Parmesan..

    1. Ann

      I am so glad you “refound” the recipe, Mary Lou. Come to think of it, I have not made this in a while either. Time to do so! Enjoy that eggplant Parmesan!

  7. Judy Arnold

    My husband and I live at Willow Valley and every year at Christmas, I make something to put outside everyone’s door on our floor before Christmas. Two years ago, I did Cranberry Mustard, last year Applesauce Jam and this year, your Marinara sauce.
    For special friends I’m doing “Almost a meal in a bag” with the bag consisting of a jar of Marinara, a small bottle of Strawberry vinaigrette and an eggnong poundcake. For very, very special people, I add a bottle of wine!
    It’s fun to see what I can come up with.

    1. Ann

      Judy, your gifts are wonderful and I am sure they are much appreciated! The “Almost Meal in a Bag” combination sounds delightful. I think you are the special friend: )

  8. Ann

    Absolutely, Judy! Sometimes, I immediately use it and then only have a record of the leftovers, if there are any. I will work on this!! This recipe is a smaller batch than the marinara sauce, for sure, but it is really one of my favorites. I usually make it with fresh pesto and vine-ripened tomatoes in the summertime.

  9. Judy Arnold

    How much does the Balsamic Pesto Tomato Sauce recipe make? I might do several different things for gifts depending on my energy level! Judy

  10. Judy Arnold

    Hi Ann-

    I’d like to make the Pesto Sauce for Christmas gifts. How much does your recipe makes? In cups, if possible.

  11. Mary Lou Keller

    OMG!! we had this for dinner tonight Ann and WOWSA!! I made the pesto and sauce last night, came home put sauce on stove, and added the remaining ingredients, cooked some pasta nd voila! Dinner in less than 45 minutes with all the prep done last night. I absolutely love this and can’t wait to make again. I even put some of the pesto spread on bread with a dab of asiago and put in broiler until browned. Absolutely amazing flavors! I will never make pesto any other way and I don’t think I can buy jarred sauce that would compare with this recipe . I am sharing this recipe with friends and singing your praises all over Facebook! I am so glad I found your website.
    P.S. if you ever sell those coffee mugs with your design, let me know. 🙂

    1. Ann

      You have officially made my week, Mary Lou! I am thrilled that you are enjoying the recipes and so grateful for your feedback. I need you on my team to get votes for the recipe contest: ) This sauce was one of those happy experiments and is officially my favorite tomato sauce. Great on pizza as well. As for the mugs, a dear friend of mine–who also created my logo–has them on her to do list. One of these days I will get them!

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    1. Ann

      Thank you, Sonali! I keep getting more tomatoes because we eat it before I get the chance to freeze any…and I want some in my freezer: )