This tangy sauce is exactly what you need to prepare Potato Enchiladas or a South-of-the-Border Pizza. And when there’s some on hand in the refrigerator, a very quick meal can be made by stirring some sauce into a pot of rice, beans, and sautéed onions and peppers.

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  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 pounds tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • Sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon arrowroot powder


  • In a blender or food processor, combine the onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, and garlic. Blend until smooth. (Do this in batches if necessary.)
  • Transfer to a saucepan and stir in the cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, a generous pinch of salt, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with 1 tablespoon water, stirring well to avoid any lumps. Add this to the sauce, stirring well.
  • Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce reduces a bit and is fragrant. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Comments (4)

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Amy Ballinger-Cole

Confused because it doesn’t list water in ingredients but is in instructions? Same in the cookbook I own. And I see people saying too watery so I wonder if it’s a mistake. Mine looks plenty watery without added water.

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Amy, The recipe writing style we use is not to include water in our ingredients list but to include it in the instructions. If you're nervous about having too much water, I'd be inclined to add it gradually to what you think would make a good consistency. If it does end up too watery, continue cooking until it thickens. Thanks for your interest, and I hope that helps!


Smells great! Enhanced it with 1 chopped habanero pepper; otherwise, followed the recipe to a tee. Faaaar too watery. Made the Four-layer Enchilada Cakes far too watery. Either needs to be cooked down more, or simmered uncovered after the thickening agent is added, or needs more of the thickening agent (arrowroot)


This Is a very tasty dish. I bumped up the cayenne and added smoked paprika.

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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