This easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe uses canned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and fresh basil to create a rich and hearty meatless Italian spaghetti sauce that’s perfect for pasta, dips and more!
While I’m a big fan of my quick and easy Italian Meat Sauce, this meatless alternative is great for topping all sorts of pasta too. It’s even quicker and easier because you don’t need to brown any meat!
What Is Marinara Sauce?
Marinara sauce is a tomato based sauce, primarily consisting of tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh herbs. The difference between marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce is that marinara sauce is a little more simple in ingredients, while spaghetti sauce can contain other ingredients like veggies and/or meats.
How To Make Marinara Sauce –
- Start by sautéing some onion in a little olive oil until the onion is nice and tender. Stir in a little fresh garlic until it’s nice and fragrant.
- Toss in a can of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and a little tomato paste along with some Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, sugar and fresh basil.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the flavors have blended and the sauce has thickened.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making homemade Marinara Sauce. It’s actually really easy and almost impossible to mess up. Let your tastebuds guide you when seasoning. Taste as you go and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
Why Is There Sugar In Pasta Sauce?
Sugar in tomato sauce? Yup!
There’s actually a scientific reason behind it, so don’t skip it! Tomatoes are naturally high in acid, which can become very strong when you’re using a lot of tomatoes in a sauce. It can give the sauce a very sharp and bitter taste. Sugar helps to balance out the acidity in the tomatoes while also giving the sauce a nice mouth feel.
Don’t worry, we’re only talking about 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar for the whole batch of sauce, so it should ruin anyone’s diet.
What Do You Use Marinara Sauce For?
I’m sure it’s no surprise that Marinara Sauce is great as a topping to cooked pasta, but here are some of my other favorite ways to use it..
- As a topping for Chicken Parmesan
- Dip for mozzarella sticks or garlic breadsticks
- Serving with fresh meatballs
- As a sauce with my Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
- Stirred into soups
- Topping on pizza dough
Can You Freeze Spaghetti Sauce?
YES! Marinara Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Italian Meat Sauce, etc. these are all great sauces to stock up and freeze! I’ll usually make a double batch of sauce and freeze the leftovers for another time.
Let sauce cool completely then ladle into a zip close bag or freezer friendly container. Marinara sauce can be frozen for up to 3 to 4 months.
This amazing meat-free pasta sauce is sure to become a staple in your household!
Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 to 2 tsp sugar, to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat, until onion is nice and tender. Add in the garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a low simmer, stirring frequently. Let sauce simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, breaking up the diced tomatoes as you stir, until the sauce is thickened.
- Serve warm over fresh pasta and enjoy!
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