Raw Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)

There’s nothing quite like a good tomato sauce.

Raw tomato sauce

This simple but essential kitchen creation, also called tomato ketchup in the USA, goes so well with so many different things.

But whatever you call it, it’s a tangy, sweet, super tomato-y experience.

And now you can have it raw.

Raw tomato sauce setback

What I really, really wanted was a raw version of the tomato sauce I remember from my childhood, which was usually either Rosella or Heinz tomato sauce.

The kind of sauce you smear all over your hot potato chips, dunk a sausage roll into, or squirt all over a piping hot sausage in bread.

Raw tomato sauce with avocado chips

But all of the raw tomato sauce recipes I found added herbs, like basil or thyme, or spices, like cinnamon or chilli.

And that’s not the simple tomato sauce I remember.

So I found a recipe for an authentic “Heinz Tomato Sauce” experience, and just adapted it to raw.

Simple. Delicious. Tomato-y.

Raw tomato sauce ingredients

And there are so many different ways to enjoy it.

But my favourite way to eat my raw tomato sauce?

Slathered all over one of my delicious raw veggie burgers.

Raw tomato sauce with veggie burger

Good stuff.

Raw Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)
Diets: Raw, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free
Prep time: 
'Cook' time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 250ml
  • ½ cup (27g) sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 1-2 hours
  • 1 med (65g) Roma (Italian) tomato
  • ¼ cup (60g) agave nectar
  • 1½ tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp (30ml) water (from soaking sun-dried tomatoes)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp onion powder
  • 1/16 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp guar gum (optional)
  1. Cover sun-dried tomatoes with water and soak for 1-2 hours.
  2. Drain sun-dried tomatoes, and reserve 30ml of soak water.
  3. Blend everything until smooth.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 131


  • If you use semi-dried tomatoes (soaked in oil), you’ll need to drain them thoroughly to remove as much oil as possible, skip the soaking and possibly leave out the extra water as well.
  • Sun-dried tomato soak water is a fabulous substitute for stock, so keep any leftover soak water for flavouring soups, dips and savoury dishes.
  • I used Roma tomatoes in this recipe, but you could use any kind of fresh tomato. Play with it and see what you like best. Homegrown heritage tomatoes would be awesome in this raw tomato sauce.
  • Note that 1 Australian tablespoon = 20ml, not 15ml, like the American tablespoon.
  • The best kinds of salt to use are Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. These both contain lots of minerals, in addition to salt, and add extra flavour and nutrition to the sauce.
  • The guar gum is not necessary. It just helps to stop the water separating out over time, but you can just mix it back in with a spoon easily enough.
  • You can use xanthum gum instead of guar gum if that’s what you have.
  • This tomato sauce lasts very well in the fridge. I had one batch that we took a month to eat, and it was completely fine even after that long. If you use fresh onion and garlic it may not last quite as well, but then it’s so delicious, why would it?

Take it further

  • The onion powder, garlic powder and guar gum are not raw ingredients. If you want to make this recipe completely raw, you could use fresh onion and garlic instead (use 2-4 times as much) and leave out the guar gum. This will probably reduce how long this sauce will keep for, perhaps only 5-7 days, although I haven’t actually tried it for myself.
  • You could also try making your own onion and garlic powder, maybe by blending, drying and grinding them? I’ll let you know if I ever attempt this one.
  • Next time tomatoes are in season, you could dry your own tomatoes in the dehydrator, and then you can be sure they’re 100% raw.

Have an awesome day!

~ Nikki, Eating Vibrantly

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What others are saying...

  1. Alex says

    Hallo Nikki,

    I made the sauce the other day and it was mind-blowingly amazing. My hubbie almost eat the entire bowl, that is how much he loved it! great stuff! Thanks!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Alex,

      Yes, it is very good, isn’t it? We’ve been making double batches that barely last two days around here. We use it for everything – pizzas, as a dip, as a sandwich spread, in the middle of half an avocado, as a pasta sauce, as a salsa. It’s AMAZINGLY versatile and we LOVE it! 😀

  2. Jake Sterling says

    I am not, myself, focussed on raw food; however, I do know something about kitchen safety. If you make this ketchup with raw fresh onions the length of time it will keep will be in direct proportion to how much vinegar you use. There is not much danger in the spoilage of high-acid foods like this. Botulism, which is the most dangerous, cannot grow in acid environments. (But be careful about storing things like pesto for extended periods of time, even in the refrigerator. Pesto, which is low in acid and where oil on top prevents oxygen from getting to the sauce, is an ideal environment for the growth of botulism.) What will probably happen with this ketchup is that it will start to ferment. You might notice that it starts to get fizzy. This isn’t very dangerous, but it is a good indication that it is time to throw it out. The other thing that might happen is that it might start to develop mold on top — likewise, throw it out if this happens.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Jake,

      Thanks for the information. This recipe uses onion powder and garlic powder instead of the raw fresh alternatives, but you could use those if you wanted to make it 100% raw.

      Our ketchup’s never lasted long enough to go off, but of course you always need to be super careful with hygiene in the kitchen, whether you’re preparing raw food or anything else. And if anything you make tastes funny, looks funny or smells funny, then it’s always safest to throw it away. “If in doubt, throw it out!”

      And if you do ever make any raw food dishes, I’d love to hear back about your experience with how well they last for you.

      • Jake Sterling says

        Okay, here is my favorite raw recipe. It is a recipe that has been in my family since I was little. Raw tomato sauce for pasta or “Pasta con Pomodori Crudi”. The original recipe called for 1/2 lb. of mozzarella cheese, but it works very well without it. I suppose you could also substitute the cheese with something else, kidney beans or tofu, for instance, but I can’t think of any raw food that would work well. This is a sauce that is best made from the the middle to the end of the tomato season, when you can get really fresh and very ripe tomatoes.

        2 lbs. very ripe tomatoes
        2 cloves garlic (minced)
        20 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
        1/8 tsp. dried oregano
        1 tblsp. flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
        A good pinch of freshly ground pepper
        5 tblsps. olive oil

        6 qts. water
        2 tbsps. salt
        1 lb. pasta (Ziti, Penne, or Mostaciolli)

        Peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes and combine with the other sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours. Don’t refrigerate them! This period of time allows the tomatoes to combine flavors with the olive oil, basil and garlic. It really makes a huge difference in the flavor.

        Cook the pasta, drain it and, while it is still very hot, dump it over the tomatoes. Stir it up and serve it immediately. The heat of the pasta will also warm up the tomatoes (which is one of the reasons why you don’t want to refrigerate them).

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