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you saucy thing

Recipe: no-cook pizza sauce

Are you done with turkey yet? Everywhere I looked on my various feeds, I saw turkeys, turkeys, and more turkeys until I shut my laptop and walked outside when I couldn’t handle anymore virtual turkey. I used to feel a teeny tiny nagging guilt in the back of my mind over Thanksgiving because Jeremy and I are so irreverent when it comes to these cold weather holidays. It is a particularly good weekend to go backpacking with Jeremy or night-fishing with Dad. But this year, I was reminded of why I skip the bird… because my parents never really cared for turkey either. I mean, Dad banned turkey on Thanksgiving after the last kid (me) left for college. This year, my folks spent the entire holiday traveling home from Australia. I think if Kris were alive, they would have made the holiday a big deal just for her and her family. She was the only one who truly loved the whole Thanksgiving spread. The rest of us preferred Virginia ham, crab legs, Chinese-style fish, or Dad’s bouillabaisse. My immigrant parents used to set a rather impressive feast year after year so that my sister would never have to feel the burning embarassment of being the only kid in her kindergarten who had Peking duck for Thanksgiving instead of turkey.


we grilled steaks for thanksgiving, of which neva was accutely aware



Jeremy and I kept the holiday low-key as we both needed a little decompression time after several hectic weeks of work. Our five hour drive home from Crested Butte was much mellower than the drive out because we had Neva on some new meds for her car sickness. Part of the problem was that she would psyche herself out the moment she saw the car and begin drooling uncontrollably. I think the stress added to the pukiness she was already feeling from the car ride. We asked Doc Newton to prescribe an antiemetic that also made her drowsy – just for the long car rides. She didn’t drool much and slept most of the way, but was happy to hop out for a walk and potty at the three hour mark. I sat in the back with her to rub her ears (it comforts her) and to catch any puke-isodes, but there weren’t any (yay!). Once home, we resumed her regularly scheduled exercise and ski training. We quite like living in two snowy places.

jeremy skins up with a very excited neva

she even developed a cute little snowbeard



Now that December is at our doorstep, I will be baking a lot of sweets for the next few weeks to distribute to those good people who provide important services like delivering our mail, taking care of our pup, helping us do our jobs, monitoring my health, and being great neighbors. During the holiday bake-a-thon, I develop a strong aversion to sweets – especially the ones I’m making. I just want to eat savory, simple, and delicious fare. Lately, the pizzas at Crosscut Pizzeria and Taphouse have inspired me to find a fresh tomato-y pizza sauce for the pizzas we make at home.

diced canned tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil


You could use fresh tomatoes, but they will carry a lot more liquid into the sauce – even if you strain them – which means a potentially soggy pizza. Diced or whole canned tomatoes work well for this, especially the paste tomatoes (Roma, San Marzano), which are meatier, less seedy, and have less liquid. If you canned your own local, organic, late summer San Marzano tomatoes like I did – good on ya. You don’t have to strain the canned tomatoes, but I choose to since the pizzas we toss at home are thin crust (I froze the strained juice for soups, stews, sauces, or bloody marys). Our pizzas tend to have blow outs if the sauce is too wet, burning juices onto the pizza stone and blackening the bottom of the crust.

strain the tomatoes for a thicker sauce

smash the garlic



Place all six of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, blender, or a vessel if you plan to use an immersion blender. Personally, I am a fan of the immersion blender because it is the easiest to clean up. Why make your life harder than it needs to be, right? Blitz the sauce to your desired consistency. That is, if you like chunks of tomato in your sauce (like I do!) then don’t purée the sauce completely. If you prefer a silky smooth sauce, go for it. Don’t forget to taste it and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

add the balsamic vinegar

season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of the olive oil

immersion blendering

smooth with some chunks



What you wind up with is a fresh and tasty sauce that you didn’t have to cook! That took all of five minutes including the straining time and it is ready to use on your pizza. Not ready to make pizza? Don’t worry! You can store it covered in the refrigerator for a week or freeze it for up to 3 months. That’s nice. But how does it taste? Fresh. Crazy summery tomato fresh. This is why canned tomatoes are awesome. This is why your next pizza will be awesome. We are hooked and I’ve saved myself a bazillion dollars in spendy fancy pizza sauce that isn’t even as good as this no-cook sauce!

one batch makes 1.5 cups

don’t go overboard, you don’t need much to make a great tasting pizza

classic margherita

no-cook tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil



No-Cook Pizza Sauce
[print recipe]
from The Kitchn

16 oz. canned whole or diced tomatoes, drained for thicker sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (more to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and purée to desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky. Season to taste with more vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 1 1/2 cups.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

homemade pizza sauce tomato garlic pasta sauce diced tomatoes (canning) the woodward pizza

11 nibbles at “you saucy thing”

  1. Chefhelen says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s not a Thanksgiving fan…..
    I’ve cooked literally thousands of turkeys and hams (not to mention side dishes) and, left to my own devices, I will have beef rendang (spicy Indonesian pot roast) and garlic pea shoots and sit alone in my jammies and shop. My friends, however, think this is sad and insist that I come for turkey, etc. I love them but this meal is my least favorite of the year.

  2. Susanne says:

    I’m with you. Turkey blows! It’s Peking duck next year, all the way.

  3. Bette says:

    Everyone laughs at my family –we have, and always have had, salmon for Thanksgving. Perfect!

  4. Kristin says:

    Thought about scrapping the turkey this year, but really wanted drippings for gravy. Paid oodles of $ for an organic, never frozen turkey, dry brined it, and it was fabulous. And I will get tons of broth from it. But I was tempted to go your route. This sauce looks fabulous! Now that the boy is home on break, it will be worth the effort to make pizza. Though I might just wait until the girl is home too. If I can resist this sauce that long!! Maybe I’d better give it a test run.

  5. Barb says:

    There are many ways to be ‘thankful’ – sometimes we just need to be reminded.

  6. Jill Hyde says:

    Perhaps I’ve mentioned this previously, but I use one drop of peppermint oil (in my belly button) when I’m queazy. Wondering if something like this could work for Neva? Could be a drop on a cotton something, tied to her collar.

    That’s a long drive, always “on the ready”.

    xo, j

  7. Naomi says:

    My favorite picture is Neva getting a whiff of the steak. Glad she handled this car ride. Another thing to try is putting some fresh peeled ginger nearby her during car ride.

  8. Shoshanna says:

    Did you make your own pizza dough? If so, can you please share the recipe? Thanks Jen!

  9. Jane says:

    Jen, have you heard about using a Thundershirt on dogs who suffer from travel anxiety and nausea? Plenty of sites about them on the Interweb. Just may help.

  10. Heather says:

    I just made this pizza sauce tonight. It was phenomenal and so easy. Best pizza sauce ever.

  11. jenyu says:

    Chefhelen – ha ha!! Isn’t it funny how we humbugs unite? :)

    Susanne – I gotta learn how to make my own Peking duck!

    Bette – oh man, my dad would have been knocking on your door each year.

    Kristin – Sometimes it’s worth doing the turkey if you’re gonna do it right. Sounds like yours was the way to go. I just feel, for all the work involved, there are better dishes to make. I think turkey is fine every other year or three. To be honest, because of the blog, I don’t get to repeat my favorite dishes as much as I’d like because I’m always trying new recipes :)

    Barb – so true.

    Jill – I think the medications are doing what they need to do, but it’s her stress levels that are making her extra ill on the rides. Current med seems to do the trick (by making her sleep in the car).

    Naomi – Thanks. We’ve tried ginger chews and that didn’t go so well. Her current meds are working, though!

    Shoshanna – yes! This recipe is my favorite: http://userealbutter.com/2012/04/23/the-woodward-pizza-recipe/

    Jane – we have! When I sit in the back with Neva, I squeeze her gently and rub her ears to help her relax. We have considered thundershirts, but thought we’d wait to see how the medications work out. Thanks for the tip.

    Heather – right?! So good! Really glad you liked it.

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