Friday 7 October 2011

Green Tomato sauce with Pesto

This post has been put together as an entry for the "A Taste for Tomatoes" competition being hosted by, which gives us all an opportunity to showcase our favourite tomato recipes.

Most people think of Tomato Sauce as being red. This one deceives the senses by being green.When you see it, you expect it to taste of spinach, or peas, or broccoli - and then you try it and it tastes of tomato. A very odd  - but pleasurable - experience.

This is the starting point - some green tomatoes. Not tomatoes that are green because they are unripe, but ones that stay green even when they are ripe. You can make this sauce with whatever quantity you have, adjusting the other ingredients as necessary, though you may be constrained by the size of your saucepan. I used about a kilo of fruit for my sauce. These are the ones I used: a big variety called "Green Beefsteak". Each fruit was about 350 - 450grams, so I only needed three.

Green Beefsteak
I could also have used these "Green Zebra" ones, popularly reckoned to be one of the tastiest varieties of tomato, regardless of colour. There are several varieties of green tomato available today, so it depends what you have available.

Green Zebra

Green Tomato Sauce with Pesto.

  • Approx 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) ripe green tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Two Tablespoons Pesto (preferably home-made)
  • One Dessertspoon vegetable oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh Basil

  • Roughly chop the tomatoes, discarding the cores
  • Peel and roughly chop the onions and garlic
  • Soften the onions in the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Do not let them go brown
  • When the onions are nearly ready, add the garlic and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. Again, don't let it burn
  • Add the tomatoes and fresh Basil and cook gently until they break down into a pulp (approx 1 hour)
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool until it's safe for the next step
  • Pass the pulp through a Mouli-Legumes if you have one, or a fine sieve
  • Return the sieved juice to the (rinsed) pan
  • Cook over a medium heat for about another hour or until the liquid has reduced by half
  • When the liquid is quite thick it will probably begin to bubble furiously and spit like a volcano emitting molten lava! This means it is ready...
  • Stir in the pesto
  • Allow to cool before decanting into containers for freezing, or better still, serve immediately with pasta, salad and crusty bread.

Wine suggestion:
Italian Pinot Grigio, nicely chilled.

When it was cooked, my sauce was a sort of golden-green colour, not as bright green as the original tomatoes, but then "normal" (red) tomato sauce is never as brilliant red as the tomatoes you start with either.

I love this sauce, because it gives a new twist to the classic tomatoes-and-basil combination!


  1. So can you eat as a soup as your last photo suggests?

  2. Sue; Yes, you certainly could eat it as a soup, though I would probably thin it down a bit with some water or stock, just to get the right texture.

  3. It looks delicious. I've never seen those kind of tomatoes here, but they probably are in the states somewhere. Happy eating!

  4. That sounds very tasty. I never knew there were tomato varieties that were green when ripe - do they start out green or change from another colour?

  5. Those stripey's are gorgeous. Now where is that crusty bread!

  6. I was reading your basil pesto post and one of the links below your post caught my eye. I have never made green tomato sauce before. This is an excellent idea and I'm surely going to make it soon. I'll be adding pesto too.


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