Sauce de Tomate | French Tomato Sauce

France is full of sauces. If you are going to categorise French food broadly, you might say – meat, sauce, butter, baked goods. It is pretty accurate – one of my comprehensive books on French cooking contains 2 salads (and some vegetable recipes). To be fair, the salads can be the base for many variations. And to be more than fair, I have spent time working in France so know that there is a large variety of salads. But, yes, meat is the focus.

So, with a love of French food, we pick and choose from amongst the cuisine, and make to our vegetarian style.

This is a beautiful version of a Tomato Sauce – one to add to our many tomato sauces – and, like the others, it freezes very well. Similar to many French recipes, there is a base sauce, beautiful on its own, and a few variations of sauce that can be made with the addition of one or two more ingredients.

Similar dishes include Freeze Tomatoes for Winter, Italian Tomato Sauce, Another Italian Tomato Sauce, and Spiced Tomato Puree.

Browse all of our Sauces, and all of our French recipes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Sauce de Tomate | French Tomato Sauce

1 onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 branch celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
55g butter
3 Tblspn plain flour
1 cup vegetable stock or water
4 cups fresh tomatoes, diced, or 3 cups tinned Italian plum tomatoes
sea salt to taste
2 pinches black pepper
1 Tblspn sugar
sprig each of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, tied together with kitchen string

Simmer the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in butter for 20 mins in a covered pan. Stir in the flour and cook without browning for 3 mins.

Add the remainder of the ingredients. Simmer on low for about 2 hours to develop flavour. Stir often. If needed, add more stock or water.

Remove the herbs and blend the sauce or pass through the finest disc of a food mill. Taste and adjust seasonings. Use or freeze.

Variations on Sauce de Tomate


Add 1 tspn oregano and a few leaves sweet basil to the sauce for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Add 2 Tblspn marsala (optional) and some chopped parsley. Great with pasta.


Add 2 more garlic cloves to the sauce when cooking. Stir some chopped parsley and sauteed onions through the finished sauce just before using.


Add 1 tspn dried basil, 0.5 tspn fennel seeds and a pinch of saffron threads to the sauce while cooking. Stir chopped parsley through the finished sauce.

3 thoughts on “Sauce de Tomate | French Tomato Sauce”

  1. Such a simple yet flavourful sauce that can elevate a meal. One question, in the provencale cersion, wouldn’t 1/2 tsp saffron be overpowering?

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