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Heat a large pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add oil (or water) and garlic. Sauté briefly for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until barely golden brown. Then add tomatoes, oregano, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper flake.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add basil and stir. Cook for 5 minutes more.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, oregano or basil for freshness/herbed flavor, pepper flake for heat, or coconut sugar for sweetness. At this time, you can also choose to add nutritional yeast and/or tomato paste for more depth of flavor and richness (optional, but I usually add both).
If the sauce has thickened too much at this point, thin with a little water. Although I prefer mine thicker and leave it on the thick/chunky side.
Serve with your favorite Italian dishes, such as Eggplant Roll-Ups, Eggplant Lasagna, Chickpea Bolognese, Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, or Veggie Meatballs. Or simply over a serving of cooked pasta of choice or spaghetti squash.
Store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 1 week, or in the freezer up to 1 month.