The Other Red Sauce


We’ve all made that red sauce – the well known Italian marinara that coats luscious strands of spaghetti. But did you know that there is another red sauce?

Today I’m sharing the other one 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 also tomato based, but that’s where any similarity ends. It’s spiced up with mustard powder and dried chile pepper pods. Intrigued? You should be. But be aware, it’s not for the faint at 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I originally made a couple of changes, by omitting sugar and vinegar, both of which were in the original recipe, and I’ve never gone back. It’s a fabulous sauce. Hope you like it too!

Red Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 – 28 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes*
1 – 10 ounce can tomato puree
2 tablespoons ground mustard seeds
Handful of dried red chile peppers – 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 puree. redsauce2
Then add the ground mustard.

The next step is completely up to you. I grab a handful of dried chile peppers and crush them before adding them to the sauce. There are two potential “problems” with following my suggestion. 1. You will get a very spicy hot sauce, and 2. You will not be able to recover all of the pepper pods.

So use your discretion. 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 go from this:

to this:

When the sauce is ready, remove as many of the pods as you can, because you may not want to bite into them. Alternatively, use an immersion blender and blend in the pods. Then no one has to be scared eating the sauce!

Taste it for seasoning; I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Then serve hot with your meat of choice.
Tonight I served the sauce simply with grilled chicken breast. It was fabulous.
* You don’t have to use fire-roasted tomatoes, I just decided on that option at the store. Just make sure you buy a high quality tomato dice product; these tend to have less water in the cans.

note: If you try out this recipe, please don’t omit anything. Especially the mustard powder and the chile peppers. They are the most integral part of the red sauce besides the tomatoes. After you taste the sauce, you’ll understand!

12 thoughts on “The 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.

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