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I originally made a major change by omitting sugar.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!

My Other 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!

By Published On: September 27th, 201864 Comments on My Other Red Sauce

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs November 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM - Reply

    Oh, that looks absolutely delicious. I have been searching for something to serve with swordfish, and I think you just found it for me! Just lovely… I am definitely trying this. Thanks so much for sharing.. :-)

  2. {Main St. Cuisine} November 5, 2013 at 11:32 AM - Reply

    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!

  3. anotherfoodieblogger November 5, 2013 at 7:55 PM - Reply

    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… :)

    • chef mimi November 6, 2013 at 2:46 PM - Reply

      hmmm i’m not sure any picky kids would like this sauce. but you never know. and, you don’t have to make it too spicy…

  4. thepaddingtonfoodie November 6, 2013 at 1:58 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi November 6, 2013 at 2:45 PM - Reply

      funny! it’s about time Williams-Sonoma ventures internationally!

  5. emmabarrett1508 November 6, 2013 at 9:51 AM - Reply

    Stunning photography. I love the one of the dried chillies. We love hot sauces. Will have to try this out at home. Surprisingly even Miles likes spicy sauces. Emmaxx

    • chef mimi November 6, 2013 at 2:44 PM - Reply

      your kitty likes spicy sauces???!!!! now I’ve heard everything!!!

  6. marymtf November 6, 2013 at 2:11 PM - Reply

    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.

  7. Healthy World Cuisine September 27, 2018 at 6:21 AM - Reply

    You know my boys are chili heads so will need to have a heavy hand on the dried chilis. Great sauce for so many recipe. Thank you dear!

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 7:15 AM - Reply

      Thanks Bobbi. It’s a great sauce, and I’m sure you’ll love it!

  8. jenniferguerrero1 September 27, 2018 at 6:27 AM - Reply

    This sounds divine, particularly with the smoked turkey you mention!

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 7:15 AM - Reply

      It’s a really wonderful combination of just a few ingredients. Love this sauce!

  9. September 27, 2018 at 7:33 AM - Reply

    Great recipe and I have a bunch of chile de arbol peppers – I love the heat!

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 9:09 AM - Reply

      Oh perfect!

  10. Bill | Suppertime Blues September 27, 2018 at 7:55 AM - Reply

    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!)

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 9:09 AM - Reply

      Yeah… I probably wouldn’t make this for guests unless I knew what they liked and their spicy limits!

  11. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso September 27, 2018 at 9:03 AM - Reply

    I’m especially intrigued by the use of mustard powder. Will keep it in mind!

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 9:08 AM - Reply

      I’m not surprised – I was also. But it works!

  12. David @ Spiced September 27, 2018 at 9:37 AM - Reply

    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!!

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 4:16 PM - Reply

      Exactly. I use it as a dipping sauce when I have some meat I want to nibble on!

  13. Ron September 27, 2018 at 10:46 AM - Reply

    Mimi, you nailed it again! I see a fine piece of Swedish grill pork steak setting on that red sauce.

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 4:14 PM - Reply


  14. 2pots2cook September 28, 2018 at 12:22 AM - Reply

    We prefer no sugar sauces. Printing to keep, definitely. Pinning and sharing, too. Enjoy the day !

    • chef mimi September 28, 2018 at 6:47 AM - Reply

      I once tried to force myself to buy a spaghetti sauce, and I just couldn’t do it. Too much sugar! Ugh!

  15. Jodi September 28, 2018 at 7:47 AM - Reply

    Sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try!

    • chef mimi September 28, 2018 at 12:42 PM - Reply

      Thanks Jodi!

  16. Our Growing Paynes September 28, 2018 at 2:50 PM - Reply

    Ooh la la. There are so many possibilities with this sauce. Love it.

    • chef mimi September 28, 2018 at 3:00 PM - Reply

      Thanks! it’s yummy!

  17. Gerlinde de Broekert September 28, 2018 at 10:39 PM - Reply

    This sauce will clean out any system. I always have to have sauces and this one looks perfect.

    • chef mimi September 29, 2018 at 6:52 AM - Reply

      HA! Somehow it’s really not that spicy. Just warming!

  18. Jeff the Chef September 29, 2018 at 7:28 AM - Reply

    Mimi! Sometime you make me wish you ran a restaurant down the street! This sounds tantalizing!

    • chef mimi September 29, 2018 at 7:53 AM - Reply

      I’d rather stab my eyes out with hot pokers, but I really appreciate the compliment!!!

  19. Susan@savoringtimeinthekitchen September 29, 2018 at 5:06 PM - Reply

    I’ve made several batches of tomato sauce with the remainder of my garden tomatoes and now I wish I would have seen this to try some mustard in one of them! You share such great ideas!

    • chef mimi September 29, 2018 at 7:43 PM - Reply

      Thank you for that! You can definitely use good canned tomatoes.

      • solveig October 1, 2018 at 4:07 AM

        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! ;-)

  20. Sippin Hannah October 1, 2018 at 7:57 AM - Reply

    This pictures in this post are gorgeous! I can’t wait to try this sauce with some shrimp!

    • chef mimi October 1, 2018 at 8:10 AM - Reply

      Thank you! Yeah, that would be a wonderful combo!

  21. Dawn @ Girl Heart Food October 1, 2018 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    I bet I’d really enjoy this one, especially from the looks for all those peppers! The sauce seems super versatile too, which makes weeknight dinners a whole lot easier :)

    • chef mimi October 1, 2018 at 8:26 AM - Reply

      You’re so right. It’s not terribly hot/spicy, surprisingly, but it is warming!

  22. annie@ciaochowbambina October 1, 2018 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    YUM! I’m a big fan of foods that are not for the faint of heart! :) This sounds marvelous!!

    • chef mimi October 1, 2018 at 8:26 AM - Reply

      Yes, us too! Cayenne pepper flakes and hot sauces are always readily available!

    • chef mimi October 1, 2018 at 2:17 PM - Reply

      It truly is marvelous!!!

  23. hummingbirdthyme October 1, 2018 at 12:56 PM - Reply

    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!

  24. Laura October 5, 2018 at 7:43 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi October 5, 2018 at 8:04 PM - Reply

      You’ll love it. the mustard adds some zing. The chile peppers does the rest.

      • Laura October 6, 2018 at 5:23 PM

        Yes and I have some dried Mexican chillies too!

  25. David October 8, 2018 at 2:06 AM - Reply

    How much sugar was in there? As you know, I’ll be omitting the garlic, but I think it will still be quite wonderful!

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 7:12 AM - Reply

      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…

  26. kathryninthekitchen October 8, 2018 at 3:25 PM - Reply

    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 🌶🌶🌶

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 4:34 PM - Reply

      Hope you had a great time. And what a compliment – especially coming from a real chef! Thank you.

  27. Emma October 9, 2018 at 1:37 PM - Reply

    I am tucking this one in my back pocket, the hubby is a meat eater and I am always struggling for sauces to serve with it.

    • chef mimi October 12, 2018 at 4:32 PM - Reply

      Oh, good idea! It’s good with so many different meats.

  28. Emma October 9, 2018 at 1:42 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 7:29 AM - Reply

      It’s unique and fabulous. I can dip meat into the sauce and eat it, and I’m not a heavy meat eater!

  29. Jack & Barbra Donachy October 9, 2018 at 2:34 PM - Reply

    Nice. The addition of mustard seeds is intriguing. We have peppers on hand happen to have a few peppers on hand and halibut in the freezer!

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 7:29 AM - Reply

      Yes, it is, but it works! Halibut… oh my…

  30. Angela@eatlivehappy October 9, 2018 at 3:58 PM - Reply

    This looks so good. Can’t wait to try this on some smoky grilled meat! Yum!

    • Angela@eatlivehappy October 9, 2018 at 3:59 PM - Reply

      Or shrimp!

    • chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 7:27 AM - Reply

      Thank you Angela!

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