Simple Tomato Basil Spaghetti

Consider this tomato sauce your new favorite dinner basic: it has simple ingredients, is easy to make, and is delicious tossed with hot pasta. Even better? It’s easy to adapt, so you can create countless variations and never get bored.

pasta twirled on a fork.

Some of my favorite recipes are the basic ones – you know, the recipes you repeatedly turn to because they’re simple to make, versatile, and delicious. This tomato basil sauce is one of the basics I love. It’s made with mostly pantry ingredients, so it’s easy to treat yourself to the best spaghetti night whenever a craving hits.

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Simple Tomato Basil Spaghetti

a pan of spaghetti with tomato sauce.

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This quick-simmer tomato basil sauce is ready in about 30 minutes. It’s flavored with Italian seasonings, garlic, and just a splash of balsamic vinegar. It also has a touch of heat, but you can adjust it to your tastes. Serve it with your favorite pasta (it’s delicious just as it is), or dress it up with a protein or your favorite veggies.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 16 ounces spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)


Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it in the oil for about four minutes or until it’s lightly golden.

Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Stir and cook them with the onion for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, stir, and cook it for about a minute.

Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, ¼ cup of chopped basil, and balsamic vinegar. Stir and bring the sauce to a boil before adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes or until it thickens slightly.

While the sauce simmers, boil the pasta following the package directions. Drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce. Toss to coat it evenly.

Garnish the pasta with the remaining basil and grated Parmesan cheese if using.


You can double or triple this sauce to have on hand for easy dinners. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days or freeze it for several months.


  • Calories: 566
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Sodium: 692.9mg
  • Fat: 9.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 103.9g
  • Fiber: 8.3g
  • Protein: 18.9g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.


  • I’ve added chicken before and liked it. I cook the chicken in the pan, remove it, and use the same pan to make the sauce. I add the cooked chicken to the sauce before serving it. The browned bits and juices left from the chicken flavor the sauce even more.
  • Shrimp would be great, too. You can cook them first or add the shrimp to the sauce at the end and simmer them until they’re cooked through.
  • Cook some ground beef, Italian sausage, or ground pork in the pan, and then add the sauce ingredients to make a meat sauce.
  • You can cook mushrooms in the pan before making the sauce or add other veggies you like – bell peppers, spinach, or broccoli would work well.
  • You can swap the fresh basil for other herbs like parsley or thyme.
a pan of pasta with tomato basil sauce.

Here’s to easy recipes and delicious dinners! I hope you try this tomato basil sauce soon.

Happy simmering,


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