easiest ever herby tomato sauce


I came up with the idea for this sauce because I was a bit fed up with having pesto pasta for lunch, and fancied something really fresh and healthy. This sauce is amazing as it works out extremely cheap, is ridiculously quick and I think it tastes great. Although it probably does take a few seconds longer than opening a jar of pesto, it’s definitely worth it.

The only thing that makes it (very slightly) more expensive, is the incorporation of the dried herbs. However, they are cheaper than you may think, and a very handy addition to the cupboard as they last for ages. Olive oil and black pepper are other staple items that you will use again and again when cooking. If you already have these, the meal will be considerably cheaper 🙂 

Ingredients to serve two:

  • Wholewheat penne (£0.59, Tesco*)
  • Tube of tomato purée (£0.50, Tesco)
  • Olive oil (£2, Tesco)
  • Dried basil (£0.70, Tesco)
  • Dried oregano (£0.70, Tesco)
  • Ground black pepper (£0.70, Tesco)
  • Cheese (Mild white cheddar, £1.50, Tesco)


  1. Start boiling a saucepan of water on a medium heat, and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Whilst you are waiting for it to come to the boil, weigh out the pasta, allowing 75g per person.
  2. When it is boiling, add the pasta and when it has come back to the boil, time for 12 minutes and cover, keeping a constant eye on it. If you prefer pasta a little al dente, time it for 10 minutes.
  3. Taste the pasta to check it is done, and then strain. Transfer it back into the saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of tomato purée, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of dried basil, 2 teaspoons of dried oregano and a handful of grated cheese. Mix it all together with a spoon and it’s done! Serve with some more grated cheese if you want.

Total cooking time: 10-12 minutes

Preparation time: roughly 3 minutes

Price per portion: around £1.80 – not including the olive oil – but significantly cheaper if you already have the herbs and cheese. If you made this a regular meal it would end up costing around £0.80 a portion!

This really is the most effortless meal, and it’s not bad for you either! I would normally have this for lunch, however you could easily serve it for dinner with some steamed vegetables and perhaps a slice of garlic bread too. Do you have any tricks for making tomato sauce – I’d love to hear in the comments!

*Prices quoted are taken from the supermarket’s website, are correct at time of publication, and could increase if bought from a local or convenience version of the store, e.g. Tesco Express. Most of my prices will be from Tesco as that is my most accessible supermarket however I will still endeavour to look out for deals and offers at other major supermarkets.


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