My Other Red Sauce


We’ve all made a red sauce or marinara, sometimes even referred to as spaghetti sauce. But to me there is another, equally important red sauce in my life, and today I’m sharing it with you.

It’s not for pasta, but instead, it is a sauce for meats – grilled meat, barbecued meat, smoked meat, and so forth.

It’s tomato based, but it’s spiced up with mustard powder and dried chile peppers. Intrigued? You should be. But be aware, it’s not for the faint of heart, or tastebuds.

This recipe is based on the one I originally followed in the Foods of the World Series, more specifically, American Cooking: The Great West.

I originally made a major change by omitting sugar. This sauce has no business being sweet! Hope you like it as much as we do!

Red Sauce
Adapted from The Great West

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 – 28 ounce cans high quality diced tomatoes
1 – 10 ounce can tomato purée
2 tablespoons ground yellow mustard seeds
Handful of dried red chile peppers, slightly crushed –
Chile de Arbol, Cayenne, or Chinese chile peppers


Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, and stir them around until you smell garlic oil; you don’t want to burn the garlic.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and purée, then add the ground mustard and crushed chile peppers.

If you want, start with just a few whole peppers, perhaps, and cook the sauce until no liquid remains; it should be nice and thick.

It will only take about 30 minutes for the sauce to finish.


Remove as many of the pods as you can.

Taste it for seasoning; I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

If you prefer heat, let the sauce sit overnight with the chile pods; remove them before heating and serving.

The sauce is spectacular with smoked turkey, pork ribs, grilled flank steak, even shrimp.

You’re welcome!

64 thoughts on “My Other Red Sauce

  1. I love how you plated this dish! I know both my husband and mother-in-law would appreciate this sauce and all of it’s spicy glory. I would definitely use the fire-roasted tomatoes. Thanks for posting your recipe!

  2. I do like spicy! And the combination of the mustard powder sounds intriguing. I do think I might try this red sauce one day, as I have all the ingredients. Now it’s just getting the picky daughter to try it… :)

  3. Looks good. Now this is surreal I own an aqua blue silicone spatula like yours too, although my le create pot is blue. And. no not from. Williams- Sonoma which has only recently opened over here.

  4. I think I’m darling if I sprinkle a couple of dried chilli flakes into my dishes. I don’t think my tastebuds could survive on a handful of chillies (whose hand?) This dish will have a couple of adjustments on my cook stove. But nevertheless I think it sounds yummy. Thanks Mimi.

  5. Love sauces like these — able to control the heat to fit the meal and the guests, prominent flavor but not overpowering, and finally a use for the leftover handful of peppers brought by generous neighboring gardeners. Very nice.(Love the crisscross peppers in the photo!)

  6. I must admit that the ground mustard seeds caught me off guard here, but I can see how the flavors would work. I definitely need to try this one soon! I love a good sauce, and add in grilled or smoked meats? That’s my kind of meal right there!!

      • Bonjour Mimi! :) “c’est Trop Bon” :) now j’ai Faim! lol. I know about a traditional Red Sauce cooked in Burgundy region :). recipe including fresh tomatoes, mustard, with…gherkins! last with “crème fraîche”! but! just another delicate Chemical process while cooking…you see what I mean! ;-)

  7. Mimi, this is my kind of sauce! Spicy, tomato-ey, and NOT sweet! You’re so right! I might have to take the seeds out of the peppers for my fam,, but this recipe is a keeper! Thanks!

  8. I’m a big fan of making my own red sauces Chef Mimi so I love this – I’ve never added mustard seeds to a red sauce but I always have them to hand for Indian recipes so I must give this a go!

    • It was a significant amount, like 1/2 cup? I you need any I wouldn’t add more than a tablespoon. Plus I’d use agave…

  9. I am glad to be finally getting around to reading my favourite blogs after being away…yours always first. Like you Mimi I love a robust sauce to pair with BBQ or grilled meat/seafood…this one ticks the boxes….delicious 🌶🌶🌶

  10. I am putting this one in my back pocket, my hubby is a meat eater and I never know what to serve with it. This would be perfect.

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