The following is a guest post we did about a week ago for Nom Nom Paleo.  Michelle, who maintains the blog with her family, is a cooking/blogging sensation and are one of the handful of places we first turned to when trying to figure out how to “be paleo” [more gushing below].  Be sure to check out her regular posts and giveaways, as well as download her iPad app–it’s beautiful, full of great content, and worth buying an iPad (or iPad mini) for if you don’t already have one.

spicy tomato basil sauce

Once upon a time, when Heather and I first started our own documented cooking adventures, we were pretty lost.  Still in the initial sticker shock/grief period of, “but what can I eat,” we spent a lot of time scanning the internet looking for “paleo-friendly” recipes and meal ideas.  Michelle’s blog was one of the first I came across, as I was a pretty intense tumblr addict.  Once I moved to Virginia and was juggling two jobs, tumblr went away, but nomnom stayed.  I later found out the connection between fitbomb and nom nom paleo, and I was excited to see a pair that really thought about fitness and health when it comes to movement and diet.  Plus, there’s the added benefit of following the family adventures since I’m not quite ready to enlist my own little army of helpers.

A light-bulb really went off for me when I found out about zoodles.  When I found them on Michelle’s blog, I almost immediately went out and bought the same Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler on Amazon.  We had tried spaghetti squash, but I think it’s kind of a pain in the backside, comparitively.  This was a moment in my own paleo evolution where things just got a whole lot easier.  I reached out to Michelle a few weeks ago on a whim to say thanks and to ask for any Bay Area advice while I was there over a long weekend for a conference. Not only did she suggest an amazing place to get a burger (Thanks 4505 meats!), she also asked if I would like to share something with her great community of readers.  After the initial shock and subsequent dance party, I thought it only appropriate to make a sauce to accompany the zoodles that opened my eyes to a new world of food.  This is a damn good sauce, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

1 1/4 C white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in water
2 Tbsp fresh basil, separated
1/8 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp coconut aminos
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 pinches black pepper


chopped white onion

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Meanwhile, finely chop about 1/2 a medium white onion, or as much onion until you have 1 1/4 C.

sautéed white onion

Place onion into saute pan and cook through for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the onion in olive oil and avoid burning the onion.

minced garlic

Press and mince 3 cloves of garlic…

sautéed onion and garlic

…and place into saute pan with the onion at the 8 minute point, and continue to cook for 3 additional minutes, mixing regularly.  Should the onions start to brown more than slightly, turn the heat down to low.

simmering sauce

Move sauteed onion and garlic into a deep-sided skillet, and add the two cans of diced tomatoes.  At this point, add in celery salt, oregano, bay leaf, coconut aminos, red pepper flakes (if you like a little spice), and black pepper.

tomato basil sauce

Also add 1 Tbsp of the fresh basil to the sauce.  Simmer on medium to medium-low heat with a splatter guard for 45 minutes.

basil chiffonade

Pro tip: If you roll your basil leaves and then slice (my mom pointed out this is called a chiffonade), you get nice pretty strips that are great for garnish as well as adding it to dishes.

tomato basil sauce

Stir the sauce occasionally while it cooks, and adjust the heat down if it starts to stick to the bottom of the skillet.


After the 45 minutes has passed, remove the bay leaf, add the second Tbsp of basil, stir, and serve with zoodles, spaghetti squash, or a spoon.

The end result is a thicker sauce, but if that is not your style, you can always add in some water or chicken stock one Tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency.  Also, you can always throw this into your blender or food processor if you’re not a fan of chunky sauces.  However you decide to finish this sauce, you will enjoy it.

canned tomato basil sauce


  1. Just found your blog through Nom Nom Paleo, and I am so glad I did! I looked through several of your recipes and can’t wait to try some of them! My husband and I aren’t followers of the Paleo diet, but we do eat mostly grain-free, gluten-free and legume-free meals, so finding new recipes that fit our lifestyle is always great!


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