Authentic Italian Marinara Sauce is the star of many pasta dishes, and you can make this delicious marinara sauce recipe in under 25 minutes! Who says sauces have to be difficult?
Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce
Did I ever tell you I'm a red sauce and marinara snob? Sorry, I'm admitting it now.
When it comes to Italian food, I can be a real pain in the you-know-what!
When I go to an Italian restaurant, I hardly ever order red sauce. I am picky and I like my own sauce but many times, Italian red sauce found in restaurants is underseasoned and flavorless.
I keep batches of red sauce or gravy, as some call it, in my freezer. It can be heated up anytime, and I don't want to pay $15 for a plate of pasta with red sauce.
This classic Italian marinara sauce uses just a handful of ingredients and is great on your favorite pasta. I also use it as pizza sauce and this tasty marinara sauce can be used in soups, stews and baked pasta casseroles.
While you could use fresh tomatoes to make a classic Italian sauce, I prefer cans of tomatoes to make this recipe. Just be sure to use good quality ingredients and your homemade marinara sauce recipe will turn out great.
Jarred Sauce vs. Homemade Easy Marinara Sauce
As a teenager, I did go through my rebellious stage of "I would rather have Ragu than my mother's homemade sauce" for a short time. A jar of marinara sauce was something different, and it was nice to go to a friend's house on a Saturday night and cook ourselves some spaghetti while my friend's parents were out to dinner. Those days are over. You will hardly ever see jarred sauce in my pantry because I can make this simple marinara sauce in so little time.
Don't get me wrong; I am not judging anyone if they use jarred sauce. If taking shortcuts leads to enjoying a homemade meal, by all means, take them! I have my own shortcuts, such as jarred pesto and already made pie crusts.
But homemade Italian marinara sauce is SO easy to make. I figure, why use jarred when I can make my own easy marinara sauce that's loaded with veggies and full of flavor and can be made in 25 minutes?
What ingredients do you need for this easy marinara sauce recipe?
Chances are, you have all of these ingredients in your pantry. I also love that this is a vegan marinara sauce, so it's perfect for vegetarian and vegan meals.
- Olive oil- Extra-virgin olive oil gives this recipe extra flavor but use any good quality olive oil.
- Garlic cloves - I love lots of garlic in my sauce but start with just a few cloves and add more if you have the taste for it.
- Crushed tomatoes - I use the Italian kind that usually contains garlic and basil but any canned crushed tomatoes will do. You can also use whole tomatoes and crush them with a hand blender yourself or try cans of San Marzano tomatoes which are extra special tomatoes from Italy. They are more expensive but well worth it.
- Onion powder- A little goes a long way.
- Sugar- Just a pinch
- Dried parsley - I always prefer to add some fresh herbs but dried parsley can be used in this easy marinara recipe.
- Basil (dried or fresh)- I love fresh basil but use dried if that is all you have.
- Salt and pepper- Season to taste. I like to add some a pinch of red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
This recipe requires just one big can of crushed tomatoes, olive oil, and some spices and herbs. In the summer months, I gather lots of jersey plum tomatoes and roast them to keep plenty of crushed tomatoes in my freezer. But feel free to use the cans if you do not want to can or freeze tomatoes yourself.
Steps to Making Authentic Italian Marinara Sauce Recipe
I can't emphasize enough how easy it is to make this sauce with basic pantry ingredients.
- Saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat until it starts to soften.
- Add canned tomatoes, onion powder, sugar, parsley, and basil, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Garnish with herbs and serve.
Recipes To Use this Sauce With
Here are some easy dinners that include my easy perfect sauce:
- Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
- Skillet Chicken Parmesan
- Ravioli Bake via Dizzy Busy and Hungry
- Asiago and Lentil Stuffed Peppers
- Baked Gnocchi with Ricotta via Taste and Tell
- Skillet Chicken Parmesan
- Crispy Oven Fried Zucchini Chips
Try making this easy marinara sauce when you want a simple Italian sauce that is very versatile. It is a little different than my all day slow cooked red gravy but works great in recipes where a quick marinara or simple spaghetti sauce is needed. It is a great dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks or fried veggies and I also like to make pan fried meatballs then cover them in this sauce. It's a really quick way to make a good italian dinner. I often serve this sauce on quick cooking tortellini for an easy week night meal.
If you like this Easy Vegan Marinara Sauce, please give it a 5-star rating below.
Easy Marinara Sauce (made in 25 minutes)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I use the kind with basil)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil or a small handful of chopped fresh basil
- Dried or fresh herbs for garnish I use basil or parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add garlic and saute until lightly golden.
- Add tomatoes, onion powder, sugar, parsley and basil to the pot and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Garnish with dried herbs.
- Place in an airtight container if not using right away. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for a few months.
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I have always made the same sauce but with adding a little crushed red pepper. Yes, everyone raves over it and so simple and fast. I too was a Jersey girl but left 20 years ago to become a Georgia girl. However, my Georgia friends love this sauce.
I didn't become a "gravy" snob until my husband made me his homemade sauce. Holy shizz it's delicious! And back in the day, when I was a pour single Momma, a giant can of Hunt's cost .50 cents. But I used that as a base and added garlic, oregano, etc.
For some reason after my husbands colon cancer, he's not much of a fan of red sauce - just butter and Parmesan cheese for his pasta.
Have a great weekend!
Who wants to buy jarred sauce when this is so much better? Quick, simple, and tasty... my kind of red sauce.
Kristin @ Dizzy Busy and Hungry!
Thanks for linking to my Ravioli Bake! I personally have always use jarred sauce, BUT, now that I see how easy this would be, I am going to try it. It looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing! Pinning!
when those san marzano tomatoes go on sale at whole foods, I stock up!
way better than jarred!
Im glad your Ragu stage only lasted a short time!
Definitely, on my to do list, sounds full of agreable flavors! Thank you for sharing!
Liren | Kitchen Confidante
Such a versatile sauce to keep on hand! Thanks for sharing!
I just picked a ton of fresh tomatoes. I am soooo excited for dinner tomorrow!
This will be a new staple at my house!
Added a little more sugar then recipe asks for....this was an amazing sauce!! Thank you!!