It only takes a few minutes to whip up this healthy marinara sauce recipe that's super easy to make and way better than buying it from the store. With just a few simple ingredients, this sauce tastes great and gives you full control over the flavor and quality.
Once you make up a batch of this super flavorful pasta sauce it will become a kitchen staple.
When tomatoes are in season, I like to use fresh New Jersey tomatoes and herbs from my garden to make homemade tomato sauce and homemade blush sauce.
Why This Recipe Works
- It's simple! You only need a few ingredients to make this deicious pasta sauce.
- Making your own marinara sauce is healthier, made with natural ingredients and the best part is you can control what goes into this sauce.
- It's lower in sodium than store bought marinara sauce.
Here is What You Will Need To Make Homemade Marinara Sauce
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This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this recipe, scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.
- Olive oil
- Red wine
- Strained, no salt added tomatoes (passata)
- Fresh chopped tomatoes or canned diced (low sodium)
- Large saucepan or dutch oven
- Vegetable or kitchen knife
- Cutting board
- Wooden spoon
- Mini Food Processor (optional to mince the garlic & onions)
Here's How To Make Homemade Sauce
Prepare the ingredients: Mince the cloves of garlic and onion, chop the fresh herbs, measure the wine and tomatoes. Heat a little olive oil over high heat.
Step 1. Cook the onions and Garlic
Once the oil in the pan is hot, add the garlic and onions and cook over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
Step 2. Add Wine
Gradually add the red wine and cook over low to medium heat until the wine cooks down.
Step 3. Add the Tomatoes and Herbs
Stir in the tomatoes and herbs.
Step 4. Cover and Simmer
Cover the sauce and simmer over low heat for at least 15 minutes.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Tomatoes. I like to use a combination of tomatoes to make this sauce. Passata (strained tomatoes) are smooth and have no additives. Then to add a bit of texture, I like to mix in diced tomatoes.
When fresh tomatoes are available, I dice them up and use them in the sauce, otherwise, I use low sodium canned tomatoes.
If you prefer a smooth sauce, you can use all passata or crushed tomatoes. Be sure to choose no-salt-added tomatoes if you want to make a low sodium marinara sauce.
Herbs. Fresh herbs are best in this sauce whenever they are available, and they can be substituted with dried herbs when fresh ones aren't available.
If you use dried herbs, you will need 1 tablespoon of dried basil and 2 teaspoons of dried oregano.
Garlic. Fresh garlic is the best option in this recipe, but it can be substituted with a teaspoon of garlic powder if fresh garlic cloves aren't available.
Red Wine adds so much flavor to this sauce. I like to use a medium-bodied wine such as cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel. For an alcohol-free sauce, replace the wine with a tablespoon or two to taste of balsamic vinegar or ½ cup tomato juice or vegetable broth.
Have you tried this homemade bolognese sauce?
How to Store Leftover Marinara Sauce
Refrigerate leftover marinara sauce in an airtight container for three to five days.
Freeze. This is a great recipe to make a big batch of and freeze, and it tastes even better after the flavors have had time to blend! Freeze the sauce in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat the sauce on top of the stove over low heat or in the microwave.
- There is no added sugar in this recipe, if you prefer your marinara sauce sweeter, add a small grated carrot to the pan with the onions and garlic or a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup to the sauce with the tomatoes.
- Add a dash or two of salt to taste with the tomatoes for a little extra flavor if needed.
This easy homemade marinara sauce is suited for so many Italian dishes, serve it over meatballs like these vegetarian eggplant meatballs, zucchini noodles, homemade manicotti, eggplant parmesan casserole, chicken parmesan or enjoy it as a spaghetti sauce over your favorite pasta dishes.
This simple marinara sauce also tastes great as pizza sauce or a dipping sauce for garlic bread or mozzarella sticks.
Healthy Marinara Sauce Variations
Spicy Marinara Sauce. Add one to teaspoons (or more) of red pepper flakes to taste for a spicy sauce.
Mushroom Marinara. Add sliced mushrooms at the end of cooking.
Vegetable Marinara Sauce. Add any combination of chopped carrots, zucchini, or bell pepper to the sauce with the onions and garlic.
Meat Sauce. Add ½ pound of cooked ground beef, chicken or turkey.
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Can I make this Homemade Sauce in a Crock Pot?
Yes! This is an easy recipe to make in a Crockpot or slow cooker. All that you need to do is saute the onions and garlic in a skillet on your stove top. Add the wine and let it cook down, then add the garlic and onions to the slow cooker.
Add the tomatoes and herbs, cover and cook on low for at least three hours.
If you like this recipe, please comment and rate it below!
Click on serving size to scale this recipe
- 1 tablespoon[ olive oil]
- 1 medium onion minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup red wine
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 24 ounces of [organic strained no salt added tomatoes (passata)]
- 1 ½ cups chopped fresh tomatoes or canned organic diced low sodium
- 1 1 /2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- Prepare the ingredients: Mince the garlic and onion, chop the fresh herbs, measure the wine and tomatoes and heat the olive oil in a saucepan or dutch oven over high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and onions and cook over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
- Gradually stir in the wine and cook over low to medium heat until the wine cooks down.
- Add the tomatoes and herbs and stir, adjust the flavor with salt.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
- OPTIONAL - Add more fresh herbs and serve.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used
Just the recipe I've been looking for! A delicious marinara I can make myself without buying the stuff in the jar... thanks for sharing!
Elaine Benoit says
Doesn't it drive you nuts that jarred sauce contains sugar? I can't stand it and if I have to use jarred (which doesn't happen often), I look for one without sugar! Your marinara sauce looks so delicious! Everything I want in a marinara sauce!
jennifer ciejka says
On the stove right now. Waiting for the red wine to be absorbed. Can’t wait for it to be done. Already smells so good
We love this homemade marinara sauce!!! It was soo good!! My go-to recipe!
Amanda Mason says
Your recipe looks yummy! I always have marinara in the fridge. Such a versatile recipe! I eat it on so many things! I'm going to have to give your recipe a try!
You got me at the hot chilli flakes. I think it makes everything better and would be a perfect addition to this marinara sauce
Yes Ajoke pepper flakes do taste good in this!