5 Minute Homemade Marinara Sauce: Healthy and Easy

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I don’t know about you, but I feel like fresh is always better. I try to keep my family away from preservatives whenever possible, and making it myself gives me control of the ingredients. I have a picky family and being able to leave something out or add a little more of something makes my life so much easier. My guess is you’ve never made homemade marinara sauce yourself because you thought it would be too time-consuming. I’m going to tell you straight out – it not.

Homemade Marinara Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 – 32 oz cans of tomato puree (You can make your own tomato puree from fresh tomatoes. I suggest using a food mill for this)
  • 1 – 6 oz can of tomato paste (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small onion (optional I suggest leaving it out)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2-3 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Meat (optional if you’re vegan/veggie but does flavor the sauce)
  • olive oil for covering the bottom of the pan

Marinara Sauce Recipe

1. Start with the Oil

Cover the bottom of the saucepan with the olive oil and heat until hot (you may see small bubbles). Then turn the burner down to medium heat and add the minced garlic. Brown the garlic, stirring occasionally.  

2. Add the Meat

If you are making a meat sauce, then add the ground meat and brown. You can also use a few strips of bacon to flavor the sauce. Do this by chopping the bacon finely and brown. Meatballs, chicken, and anything else should be mostly to fully cooked before being placed in the pan.

3. Time for the Tomatoes

Now add the tomato puree to the pot. If you plan on adding tomato paste, add this now as well. Stir well.

crushed tomatoes for homemade marinara sauce
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4. Season It

Place the basil, black pepper, and salt into the tomato puree. Use the measurements as a starting place and season the puree to taste. Optional: Add garlic powder and cumin for a little extra flavor. Stir again.  

seasoning makes the recipe
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5. Let It Simmer

Turn the sauce to medium heat and let it bubble a little (not quite a boil). Then turn down to low heat and cover. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Homemade Marinara Sauce Tips and Tricks

If your sauce is a bit acidy, you can add a bit of grated carrot to help balance it out. You’ll have to do this during the cooking process so be sure to taste it along the way.

Want to give your sauce a little zing? Pour in a little red wine for a full-bodied, slightly sweet flavor.

I always cook my sauce the day before, so that it has time to rest. The next day, I reheat it on the stove and it has an even better flavor than the day it was made.


Bake some Italian bread and if you’re feeling really ambitious, make your own pasta. My favorite? Ravioli!!

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marinara sauce recipe
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