Healthy Marinara Sauce Recipe(Low-Sodium)

This healthy marinara sauce recipe is super easy to make and tastes much better than buying it from the store. It’s a great recipe that only takes a few minutes to whip up, and it’s made with just a few simple ingredients.

a close up picture of marinara sauce in a white bowl

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Homemade pasta sauce is a great choice if you are looking for fresh, healthy, and delicious flavor. It’s made using simple and natural ingredients, making it much better than jarred sauce from the grocery store, which often contains preservatives and additives. Making homemade marinara sauce is relatively easy, too. Plus, you can control the ingredients and customize the recipe to your liking.

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 you Will Love this Recipe

  • It’s simple! You only need a few ingredients to make this delicious pasta sauce.
  • Making your own marinara sauce is healthier, made with natural ingredients, and the best part is that you can control what goes into it.
  • It’s lower in sodium than store-bought marinara sauce.
a picture of the marinara sauce ingredients

Here is What You Will Need To Make Homemade Marinara Sauce

This is a brief summary of the ingredients needed to make this recipe and a convenient shopping list from my Instacart affiliate link. For a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions, scroll down to the recipe card section.

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  • Olive oil
  • Fresh Onion
  • Garlic
  • Red wine
  • Fresh Basil
  • Oregano
  • Strained Tomatoes (no salt added tomatoes passata)
  • Fresh chopped tomatoes or canned diced (low sodium)


How to make homemade healthy spaghetti 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.

garlic and onions cooking in a skillet

STEP 1: Once the oil in the pan is hot, add the garlic and onions and cook onions and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic and onions begin to soften.

STEP 2: Gradually add the red wine and cook while stirring occasionally over low to medium heat until the wine cooks down.

garlic and onions cooking in a skillet

marinara sauce coking in a pot with herbs on top

STEP 3: Stir in the tomatoes and herbs. Reduce to low heat.

STEP 4: Cover and cook the sauce at a low simmer for at least 15 minutes.

tomato sauce in a pan done

Homemade sauce ingredient notes and substitutions

Tomatoes – I like to use a combination of tomatoes to make this sauce. Strained tomatoes (passata), which is smooth and have no additives. To add a bit of texture, I like to mix in diced tomatoes, and fresh tomatoes are perfect for this. When fresh tomatoes aren’t available, you can use low-sodium canned whole tomatoes such as San Marzano tomatoes, or diced tomatoes with tomato paste or tomato puree .

If you prefer a smooth sauce, you can use all passata or crushed tomatoes. I like to use no-salt-added tomatoes for a low-sodium marinara sauce and add sea salt to taste once the sauce has been cooked, which is a great way to reduce sodium.

Fresh Herbs – When making this sauce, I recommend using fresh herbs when they are available. If fresh herbs are not available, you can substitute them with dried herbs. If you choose to use dried herbs, you will need 1 teaspoon of dried basil and 3/4 teaspoon of dried oregano. Or you can use 1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning. Remember to add dried herbs earlier in the cooking process along with the wine if you are using dried herbs.

Garlic. Fresh garlic is the best option when making pasta sauce, if fresh garlic cloves aren’t available, a teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted.

Onion – Any type of onion can be used to make this pasta sauce. My preference is an all purpose yellow onion, but any variety of onion will work.

Red Wine – This adds so much flavor to this sauce. I like to use a medium-bodied wine such as cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel. For a lighter flavor, you can replace red wine with an equal amount of red wine.

For an alcohol-free sauce, replace the wine with a tablespoon or two to taste balsamic vinegar or 1/2 cup tomato juice or vegetable broth.

an overhead view of marinara sauce with basil on top

How to Store Leftover Marinara Sauce

Red sauce is one of those foods that tastes great a day or two after it’s been made, and this sauce is no exception. Room-temperature healthy homemade spaghetti sauce can be refrigerated for up to five days in an airtight container or frozen for up to three months. Defrost frozen sauce in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on top of the stove over low heat.

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Easy & Speedy Dinner Guide

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Serving suggestions

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.

Healthy marinara sauce variations

Spicy – Add one to two teaspoons (or more) of red pepper flakes to taste for a spicy sauce.

Vegetable Marinara Sauce – Add extra veggies such as sauteed chopped carrots, zucchini, or bell pepper to the sauce with the onions and garlic.

Mushroom Marinara – Add sliced mushrooms to the sauce at the end of cooking.

Meat Sauce – Add 1/2 pound of cooked lean ground add a half pound of cooked lean ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey.


  • 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 to sweeten it up.
  • This is a low sodium pasta sauce recipe, add a dash or two of salt and black pepper to taste with the tomatoes for extra flavor if needed.
  • Add a piece of rind from parmesan cheese to simmer in the sauce for more flavor.
  • For a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce just before simmering it.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice just before serving the sauce to brighten it up.

a white bowl filled with marinara sauce with basil leaves on top

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this healthy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe in a crockpot?

This is an easy recipe to make in a Crock pot 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 with the tomatoes, cook on low for at least 3 hours.

What makes this marinara sauce healthy?

Homemade marinara sauce is a healthy choice because it contains simple, fresh ingredients without any additives. Tomatoes provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Is this healthy homemade marinara sauce suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet?

Yes, this sauce is versatile and can be enjoyed by anyone. As long as there is no cheese added, this sauce is a vegan marinara sauce.

Do you like this recipe or have a question?

Please leave a comment or question and a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating below. I answer all questions!

an overhead view of marinara sauce with basil on top

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Healthy marinara sauce takes minutes to make and much better than store-bought.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Click on serving size to scale this recipe

Course: Sauce and Salsa Recipes
Cuisine: Italian-American
Keyword: Healthy Homemade Pasta Sauce
Servings: 5 cups – 1 serving 1/2cup
Calories: 13kcal
Author: Anne
Scale this Recipe 5 cups – 1 serving 1/2cup


  • 1 tablespoon[ olive oil]
  • 1 onion medium, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 24 ounces strained tomatoes no salt added tomatoes (passata)]
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or canned organic diced low sodium
  • 1 1 /2 teaspoons fine sea salt


  • Prepare the ingredients: Mince 4 cloves garlic, chop 1 onion and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano. 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 1/2 cup red wine and cook over low to medium heat until the wine cooks down.
  • Add 24 ounces strained tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes. Reduce to low heat and simmer on low for at least 10 minutes.
  • Add the fresh chopped herbs and season with salt to taste.


Refrigerate leftover sauce for three to five days.
Freeze leftovers for up to three months.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight
Serve healthy homemade marinara sauce with your favorite pasta dish.
Add red pepper flakes to taste for spicy marinara
Stir in sliced mushrooms for mushroom marinara
Add 1/2 pound of cooked ground meat for meat sauce.


Serving: 1/4 cup | Calories: 13kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Sodium: 16551mg | Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used

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  1. 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