Whole canned tomatoes and a few herbs and spices are all that you need to make this Hearty Marinara Sauce recipe that is ready to serve in under 15-minutes! It is perfect for dipping and is also delicious on pasta!
What's Great About This Sauce
Few Ingredients - Comprised almost exclusively of pantry staples, this recipe can often be made without requiring a trip to this store! Using simple ingredients allows the tomato's natural flavor to shine.
Quick and Easy - Everything cooks together in one pan. And while it tastes like it has cooked on the stove all day, it is actually ready in under 15 minutes.
No Added Sugar - No sugar is needed to balance this hearty, flavorful sauce, so you can enjoy it without any guilt.
Versatile - There are so many ways to use marinara sauce. You can use it to top your pasta for a delicious dinner. Or use it as a dipping sauce for recipes like Toasted Ravioli or Boneless Garlic Parmesan Wings!
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
- Whole Tomatoes - Fun fact: Most brands use their high-quality tomatoes for canned whole tomatoes, and their lower-quality ones end up in tomato paste and tomato puree. So for the best flavor, I recommend using whole tomatoes for this recipe, though crushed can also be used.
- Fresh Garlic - I love the flavor of fresh garlic and it is easy to add to recipes when using a quality garlic press. If you prefer you could substitute ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Italian Seasoning - This is a blend of herbs that is perfect for flavoring Italian dishes. If you do not have Italian seasoning you can substitute dried oregano.
- Red Pepper Flakes- This adds flavor with just the tiniest hint of spice. It is pretty kid-friendly. If you like spicy sauces you can increase the pepper. Replace it with black pepper if you do not like any spice at all.
- Fresh Basil - I love the flavor that fresh basil adds but 1 teaspoon dried basil can be used instead.
- Balsamic Vinegar - Just a touch of balsamic vinegar adds the perfect acidity and sweetness to our sauce. You can also use red wine vinegar.
Step One: Heat Tomatoes
Once simmering, crush the tomatoes with the back of your spoon to work them into the sauce. They do not need to be broken up completely. Just enough where the sauce can penetrate the inside of the tomatoes.
Step Two: Add Ingredients & Simmer
Add the remaining ingredients and reduce to a lower heat. This simmers for about 15 minutes. It's so easy!
Step Three: Blend to Desired Consistency
Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree your sauce.
Consistency is a matter of personal preference. I like my sauce pretty smooth, but if you like a chunky marinara sauce just blend it a little less.
- Stir the sauce occasionally as it cooks to help prevent the sauce from burning.
- The balsamic vinegar provides just the right sweetness for my taste, but if you like a sweeter marinara sauce then you can add a pinch of sugar along with the other ingredients.
- This can be used as a pizza sauce, similar to Domino's Hearty Marinara. For a more traditional pizza sauce, I love this New York Style sauce.
- Toss with your favorite pasta or spoon over stuffed shells or Chicken Parmesan.
- Mix with cooked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles and a little Parmesan cheese for a healthy and flavorful side dish for Pork Chops and grilled chicken.
- Use as a dipping sauce for breadsticks, fried mozzarella sticks, boneless Parmesan wings, or toasted ravioli.
Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Homemade marinara sauce freezes very well! Save yourself time in the future by doubling the recipe and freezing half! Just store it in a freezer-safe container and it will keep for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then heat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.
For a meat sauce, add 1 pound of cooked ground beef or Italian sausage during the last few minutes of simmering. Or you can brown meatballs, then let them simmer in the sauce for 20-30 minutes.
One could say that marinara sauce is a simple version of spaghetti sauce. Marinara sauce is usually thinner than spaghetti sauce and cooks for just a short time. Where spaghetti sauce is thicker, often has more ingredients, and can simmer on the stove for hours.
This is a hearty vegan marinara sauce that is also gluten-free. Additionally, because it does not have any added sugar, it fits into most diet plans.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
15-Minute Hearty Marinara SauceRecipe by:
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Pour tomatoes into a medium-sized skillet and heat over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Crush tomatoes with the back of your spoon. They don't have to be fully crushed, just break them open and mash them a little.
- Add remaining ingredients. reduce heat to low heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally so that it does not burn.
- Use a handheld immersion blender, or carefully pour tomatoes into your regular blender, and blend on medium speed until the tomatoes are pureed to your desired consistency.
Incredible sauce... We use it for pizza sauce using 28 oz crushed tomatos and my boyfriend only wants homemade pizzas now as pizza chains don't compare
A little extra work but so worth it
That's awesome, Renee! So glad you and your boyfriend enjoy this recipe. I have a couple of pizza sauce recipes on the blog you may like also - a New York Style pizza sauce and then for when you are short on time there is an easy no-sugar pizza sauce that does not require cooking!