Recipe: No-Cook Tomato Sauce

updated May 2, 2019
No-Cook Tomato Sauce
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Late summer tomatoes finally turning red and orange, check. Basil plants still producing loads of leaves, check. Garlic cloves and fruity extra virgin olive oil, check and check. These are the only ingredients you need for the easiest and tastiest 5-ingredient tomato sauce of all time. The results are simple and spectacular.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

How is it that when tomatoes meet olive oil, garlic, and basil, gastronome poetry is created? It’s such a simple assembly, yet so satisfying, delicious and familiar — yet different.

This sauce is a nice departure from the standard, hearty, slow-cooked version. The freshness of the ingredients and the piquant spice of the garlic create a nice balance of intense flavors. This recipe is a great way to use up tomatoes that have been lingering in the garden or on the counter for a hair too long. The marinating with all the herbs and oils “cooks” the tomatoes down a little, giving the sauce body and fullness.

This No-Cook Tomato Sauce would also make a great topping for bruschetta, a dip for flat bread or pita, or as the base for a Tuscan soup.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 6

    medium-sized heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped

  • 4

    large garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 10

    leaves basil, cut into ribbons (reserve a little for garnish)

  • 1/2 cup

    extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/4 cup

    grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)


  1. Place tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil into a large serving bowl. Stir mixture until all tomatoes are coated with oil and garlic is evenly distributed throughout the sauce.

  2. Cover the bowl and let everything marinate for about four hours on the counter at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste. The tomatoes will release their juices and flavors will meld. If you can't wait the full four hours, it's still tasty right out of the mixing bowl!

  3. Serve over warm pasta or bread, with more fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe Notes

This recipe has been updated. Originally published September 2010.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)