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Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

This recipe for Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce is the perfect way to make a bold and zesty pasta dish with clean ingredients. Simply mix together diced tomatoes, chicken broth, lemon, and basil along with spices, and let it sit for a sauce that’s great for a weeknight pasta dinner. 

This sauce is the perfect way to dress pasta in the warmer months. My mother-in-law, Roseanne, has been making this sauce for years and passed the recipe along to me and it’s been a summer staple ever since. All you need to do is mix all of the ingredients together and let it marinate for a flavorful sauce that’s light and delicious. 

I like to serve this sauce tossed with angel hair pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This is a great dish for picnics and potlucks because it is wonderful at room temperature. I hope that you enjoy this summer dish as much as our family does. For a protein-packed meal, it pairs beautifully with grilled chicken breasts. Definitely try this best-ever grilled chicken marinade if you haven’t already.

large bowl of pasta tossed with fresh tomato basil sauce and garnished with basil and cheese

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It marinates all day at room temperature so you can make it in the morning and it will be ready to go by dinner time! 
  • It uses simple ingredients you can find anywhere.
  • It’s nice and light which means it won’t weigh you down.
  • The perfect excuse to eat a pasta dish in the warmer months as it can be served at room temperature.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken Broth Concentrate – You can use a concentrate or a chicken bouillon cube. This adds a depth of chicken flavor and lightly salts the sauce. 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Helps to bind the sauce together so it sticks to the pasta. 
  • Fresh Garlic – Infuses the sauce with a fresh garlic flavor that pairs perfectly with tomato and basil. 
  • Fresh Tomatoes – Chopped and seeded tomatoes add a bright flavor and acidity to the sauce. 
  • Fresh Basil – Gives the sauce a garden herb kick. 
  • Lemon Juice & Zest – Adds brightness and acidity to the sauce. 
  • Sugar & Salt – Helps to balance and enhance all the flavors. 
  • Fresh Oregano – Gives the sauce a deeper Italian herb flavor. 
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese – A perfect garnish that adds a salty bite to the pasta.
ingredients for tomato basil pasta sauce on a cutting board

How To Make Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

Step 1. Rinse the fresh herbs, pat dry, and make the chicken broth concentrate. Give the herbs a good rinse and pat dry or run them through a salad spinner. Boil some water and pour it into the chicken broth concentrate or bouillon cubes to make a concentrated broth. I love using the Better Than Boullion concentrate.

photo of better than boullion

Step 2. Prepare the tomatoes. For this recipe, you’ll need to remove the pulp and the seeds from the tomato. You can do this by chopping the tomato in half and then gently scooping out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Dispose of the seeds and pulp, then chop the rest of the tomato into a small dice. 

Step 3. Prepare the fresh ingredients and assemble the sauce. Chop your fresh herbs. Zest and juice one lemon and add to a medium-size bowl, along with the tomatoes, chicken broth, olive oil, pressed garlic, sugar, and salt.

Step 4. Stir the tomato basil pasta sauce, cover, and marinate. Give it a good stir, then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for a full day before tossing it into your favorite pasta dish. 

steps for making tomato basil pasta sauce: rinsing the herbs, seeding the tomato, all ingredients in a bowl, and ingredients whisked together

Recipe Tips

Choose ripe tomatoes. The sweeter the tomato, the better the sauce will taste. Choosing a ripe tomato will also help you remove the seeds and pulp much more easily. 

Let it sit at room temperature. It may be tempting to throw this in the fridge, but this will slow down the marinating process. A better flavor is achieved if it sits at room temperature. 

Not using fresh herbs. While fresh herbs will taste best, you can use a mix of dried basil and oregano in this recipe. 

overhead photo of pasta tossed with tomato basil sauce and cheese with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs in the background

High Protein Pasta Dish

One of the best ways to make this a healthy pasta dish is to bump up the protein! There are 2 ways to do this: 

Use high-protein pasta. There are plenty of pastas on the market that you can buy that have a higher protein content than your average protein. My favorite brands include Barilla, Banza, and Ancient Harvest. Your local grocery store may have their own brand of high-protein pasta as well!

Add some meat. This is the perfect way to bump up the protein as it adds bulk and you can rotate through which proteins you toss into your pasta. My favorite way to add protein to a pasta dish is by adding grilled chicken breasts. Definitely try this best-ever grilled chicken marinade if you haven’t already.

Storing & Freezing

Storing Leftovers: Any leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. You may need to let it sit at room temperature and give it a stir to let the oil come to room temperature so it can easily be mixed into pasta. 

Freezing: Due to the high water content of the tomatoes and fresh herbs, freezing is not recommended. 

Recipe FAQ

How can I make this dish low-carb?

Luckily, the sauce is naturally low carb which means it can be tossed with a low carb pasta such as zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or your favorite shirataki noodles.

How can I use up my leftover sauce?

If you have leftover sauce and don’t want to use it on pasta, it makes a great salad dressing, chicken marinade or you can toss it with roasted or grilled vegetables for a fresh summer taste.

Can I use diced tomatoes instead of fresh?

You can, but it won’t taste as fresh. The best way to use canned tomatoes in this recipe is to make sure they are fully drained before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.

bowl of fresh pasta with tomato basil sauce with a napkin on the side

More Easy Sauce Recipes

Scratch Made Pizza Sauce

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Homemade Pesto Sauce

*This recipe was originally published in June 2011, and has been updated throughout, but the delicious recipe remains the same. 🙂


bowl of pasta tossed with fresh tomato basil pasta sauce

Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

A fresh and delicious tomato vinaigrette sauce for pasta using fresh garden tomatoes, olive oil, lemon zest, and fresh herbs.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 145kcal
Author: Amee


  • 1 chicken broth concentrate mixed with 1 cup water *see below can also use Knorr’s chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic pressed
  • 4 medium-large tomatoes diced (remove pulp and seeds)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil finely chopped (or more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest this is my addition…love zest!
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano finely chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


  • Start with dissolving chicken broth concentrate or bouillon cube in hot water.
  • Dice the tomatoes.
  • Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  • Cut, rinse and chop the fresh basil and oregano.
  • Don’t forget the lemon zest!
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Cover and let stand at room temperature ALL day.
  • This step is very important!!
  • You need to let the flavors mingle.
  • Toss with hot pasta and garnish with freshly grated cheese.


I use a product called Better Than Bouillon chicken base for the broth concentrate (as seen in the photo), but a bouillon cube will work fine, too.


Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @ameecooks or tag #ameecooks!
Amee Livingston
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  1. Hi, Amee! Just visiting from basilmomma’s — love your background veggie photo — FRESH! Will have to try your Tomato Vinagrette — sounds like a light meal for summer. (And that COBBLER…)
    ~ Kimby (aka okielicious)

  2. Thank you, ladies! It’s one of my favorites this time of year. @ Kimby, thanks for visiting…I signed up on your lovely blog, too. Feel free to submit a recipe for my Fit and Fabulous Fridays link party. Have a great weekend~

  3. this just looks soooooo fresh & healthy! Absolutly superb!

    ps-I left you some awards on my blog! Stop by and pick em up when you have a chance:)

  4. Hi! I had to comment on your tomato vinaigrette again (saw it on The Culinary Lens picnic!) I love that this is served at room temperature — the all-day marinating is key. Thanks again!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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