Red Pepper- Tomato Sauce

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Ahhhh… it’s Spring in San Diego. The flowers are blooming away. The days are warm enough for short sleeves. The frogs are croaking in the canyon at night, prompting begging from my 6 year old to go frog hunting in the evenings. The neighbors are beginning to put their yappy little dog outside so it can bark to no end. The vegetable garden has been planted and has already been eaten some by some sort of mysterious creature. And a nice selection of veggies (at good prices) have been making their debut at Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores.

This puts me in the mood for VEGGIES! The mission: to make a nice, light, fresh pasta sauce for dinner. Bored with marinara, I searched my cookbooks for a recipe. Dianne Rossen Worthington is a cookbook author whose style I’ve found that I enjoy immensely. I have her cookbook, The Cuisine of California– in which I have discovered some real recipe keepers. I found what I needed within this cookbook: Red Pepper- Tomato Sauce.

Red Pepper 1

A very simple sauce, a bit of chopping and then plunging tomatoes into boiling water so that I could easily peel and seed them, and I was on my way.

Red Pepper 2

This sauce has just a small amount of chopped chiles in adobo sauce (found canned in the Latin area of your market.) This gives it just a little bit of umph of smoky, spice flavor. I honestly couldn’t detect it much in the half chile that I put in. I would try a whole chile next time. Speaking of those canned adobos, it took me a while to realize that you could throw the extra chiles in little zips and freeze them for later use. This is super convenient when you only need one!

Red Pepper 3

After simmering away on its own for a while, the mixture is ready for the food processor.

Red Pepper 4

A quick whir, and the sauce is ready for pasta!

Red Pepper Tomato Sauce #recipe

I added a good dose of kosher salt and some fresh ground pepper.

I’m off to find pasta and other veggies to accompany this delicious, fresh sauce….

Red Pepper- Tomato Sauce

Yield: About 4 cups (1/2 cup per serving)

Prep Time: 25min

Cook Time: 25 min


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large (or 5 medium) red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (add a whole one for more spice)
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large non-aluminum saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened.

2. Add bell peppers, tomatoes, chile, and basil, cover partially, and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, or until softened. Remove from heat.

3. Purée the vegetables in a food processor fitted with the metal blade for about 1 minute- until the mixture is smooth with some texture remaining. Add the salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.

SOURCE: (via The Cuisine of California)

Disclosure:  There are Amazon affiliate links included within this post.

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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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  • Nicole wrote:

    Great photos! I put red peppers in my tomato sauce too. But I usually roast them first and then peel add and blend. I will have to try it your way next time and taste the difference! The chiles sound good too!

  • Gretchen Noelle wrote:

    Sounds delicious! I am wanting to make a sauce from roasted red peppers, but I like the chipotle idea you have here. That may be an addition to mine!

  • Kevin wrote:

    That red pepper and tomato pasta sauce looks really tasty. I like red pepper pasta sauces.

  • Rosie wrote:

    Just look at those stunning colours of your sauce! Looks awesome thanks for sharing 🙂

    Rosie x

  • A. Grace wrote:

    first of all, i’m insanely jealous of your weather–there’s still snow on the ground here in ny. secondly, my neighbors don’t seem to mind leaving their yappy dog outside year-round, and it drives me bonkers. thirdly, this sauce is a must-try, and i’ll definitely go with a whole chile–the spicier, the better! 🙂

  • Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict….You Decide wrote:

    Let me hear ya say “YUM”

  • CookiePie wrote:

    WOW – that sauce looks DEElicious – exactly what I would want on a big steaming bowl of pasta. And I love that you are not shy with the pepper — mmmmm!

  • Psychgrad wrote:

    Looks very nice. I’m getting tired of tomato sauce too. I’m putting this on my list of things to try.

  • Mary Coleman wrote:

    Can’t wait to try this one.
    I keep thinking about this as a soup as well, with a bit of lime juice and creme fraiche on the top. I’m starving, can you tell!!
    Love it Lori!!

  • RecipeGirl wrote:

    Tracy- Thanks, and glad you’re starting to see Spring too!

    Peter- Yep, we actually planted our veggies and fruits at the end of Feb. believe it or not! It’s quite warm here. Only a few things have survived the mysterious creature though 🙁

    Karen- thanks for stopping by!

    Patsy- both hubby & son will be eating the sauce for dinner so we’ll see if I can pass one over on them!

  • Patsyk wrote:

    I’m the only one in my house who likes red peppers as a sauce! Maybe I’ll make it anyway, and freeze the leftovers… JUST FOR ME! 🙂

  • Karen wrote:

    That looks amazing! Thanks for posting!

  • Peter M wrote:

    This is the second red pepper sauce I’ve seen in as many days and now I’m going to have to play around with this idea.

    Garden planted? We have to wait until mid-May!

  • Tracy wrote:

    Such gorgeous colors on this post! I’m starting to see the tips of daffodils … so spring is on its way here too!