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Simple Marinara Sauce

 A simple recipe for a tomato marinara sauce flavoured with oregano and red wine. The red wine is optional but gives a wonderful rich flavour.

Simple Marinara Sauce in a blue bowl

WHAT IS A MARINARA SAUCE?


Marinara sauce is said to have originated in Naples or Sicily in the 16th Century.

This was the time when sailors where exploring the new world and tomatoes were brought to Europe for the first time.

It is said the sailors (mariners) made the sauce on their ships. It was easy to make, nutritious and didn't spoil quickly.


SIMPLE MARINARA SAUCE


This is a basic sauce with added herbs and red wine for flavour.

Many people use basil or parsley in a marinara sauce, but I like to use oregano.

I add basil to my basic tomato sauce, which is a chunkier sauce. 

For a good marinara, take the time to blend it into a thick, smooth sauce.


brown onions

ONIONS

As with many dishes, a good marinara starts with onion. 

The onion adds a lot of flavour to a sauce and should not be skipped unless you have dietary problem with them.

You will see many quick tomato sauces skip the onion. I say skip those recipes.

White or brown onions are the best base for a marinara sauce.


clove of garlic, skin on

GARLIC


Onion is the base of a good sauce, but garlic brings a lot of flavour to the sauce.

I use fresh garlic, but you could use jarred lazy garlic (yes it's called that), garlic paste or frozen garlic.

I use two fat cloves of garlic in this sauce, but if you love garlic, you can add another clove or two.

My husband would definitely detect extra garlic and complain, so just two cloves for us.


tinned tomatoes (canned tomatoes)

TINNED TOMATOES

Tinned tomatoes, also known as canned tomatoes, are a must-have store cupboard staple.

I use them in so many dishes including this marinara sauce and with a blog named tinned tomatoes, as you can imagine I'm always well stocked up.

You can use tinned chopped or plum tomatoes for this sauce.

You will often find the quality of plum tomatoes is better, but honestly, when making a sauce, the chopped tomatoes are fine and saves you breaking them down as you cook them.


dried oregano

OREGANO

As I have already mentioned, I flavour the sauce with oregano or dried oregano to be precise.

If you have fresh oregano in your garden you could add that instead.

Don't like the flavour of oregano? Use basil or parsley instead.


red wine in a measuring jug

RED WINE

I add red wine to marinara sauce.

It really makes the sauce rich and takes it to another level.

You don't have to worry about adding wine to a sauce, as most of the alcohol will burn off as the sauce bubbles away.

There's not a lot in it either. Just 150ml which equates to half a cup and that's for 4 portions.

If you really don't want to add it, leave it out, but I do recommend it for flavour.


vegan 'meatballs' in marinara sauce in a shallow, blue casserole pan

10 USES FOR MARINARA SAUCE


Marinara sauce is a good basic, smooth tomato sauce and can be used in many dishes. Here are a few ideas.

  1. SPAGHETTI - Marinara sauce coats spaghetti beautifully. They are definitely best friends.
  2. VEGAN 'MEATBALLS' - Vegan meatballs and marinara sauce is a marriage made in heaven. Serve the tomato coated 'meatballs' with spaghetti for a classic meal or with mashed potatoes and veg for a tasty family meal. Try vegan aubergine meatballs.
  3. PIZZA - A thick blended marinara sauce makes a delicious pizza sauce. Make this foolproof perfect pizza dough and top with the sauce, before adding vegan mozzarella and baking.
  4. NUT LOAF - A nut loaf is a thing of beauty, but it does need a sauce and marinara sauce is the perfect option. Try vegan haggis & red lentil nut loaf.
  5. SAUSAGES - Cook your favourite vegan sausages and serve them with mashed potatoes and broccoli, pouring a generous amount of marinara sauce over the sausages.
  6. MUSHROOM WELLINGTON - If you're making a mushroom wellington for Sunday dinner or even Christmas dinner, try serving it with marinara sauce. Super tasty! Try Mushroom, Lentil & Nut Wellington.
  7. RATATOUILLE - Roast vegetables in the oven and mix with marinara sauce for an easy but very yummy ratatouille.
  8. TEAR & SHARE - Serve it with garlic bread or garlic tear and share bread for dunking.
  9. LASAGNE - Make a simple lasagne using marinara as the sauce. Layer sauce with roast vegetables and sheets of lasagne then top with a vegan white sauce or a vegan cheese sauce and finish with grated vegan mozzarella before baking.
  10. STUFFED PEPPERS - Fill stuffed peppers or mushrooms with a mixture of marinara sauce, cooked rice, corn and black beans, herbs and top with grated vegan cheese, then bake.

smooth marinara sauce in a large blue edged bowl

HOW LONG WILL MARINARA SAUCE KEEP?


You can store your freshly made and cooled marinara sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

To cool it quickly, remove from the pan and spoon into the airtight container. Once cool you can store it in the fridge.


CAN MARINARA SAUCE BE FROZEN?


Yes, you can freeze marinara sauce.

Cool quickly and freeze in freezer-proof bags or tubs for 3-4 months.

To defrost, place in the fridge overnight then reheat to serve.


pin it for later

easy marinara sauce

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HOW TO MAKE SIMPLE MARINARA SAUCE

Scroll down for step-by-step photos followed by a full printable recipe. If you don't have a printer, hit the print button, then choose save as PDF.

How to make marinara sauce -step 1 - saute onions and garlic in a pan

STEP 1


In a large pan, saute finely chopped onion and garlic in olive oil.



How to make marinara sauce -step 2 - soft onions

STEP 2


Keep cooking the onions until they are soft. 

Don't worry if you catch on the bottom of the pan, they are just caramelising. Add a splash of water and all that flavour will transfer to your onions.


How to make marinara sauce -step 3 - chopped tomatoes, added to the pan

STEP 3


Add chopped tomatoes and tomato puree to the pan now.



How to make marinara sauce -step 4 - dried oregano and red wine added to the pan

STEP 4


Next add the dried oregano and red wine.

If you don't like or have oregano, you can add parsley or basil.

The red wine adds richness to the sauce and the alcohol burns off during cooking. You can skip it but it adds a lot of flavour.


How to make marinara sauce -step 5 - cooked sauce

STEP 5


Cook on a low to medium heat for 20 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich.

Season it with salt and pepper.

You can add 2 teaspoons of sugar if your tomatoes are bitter, but usually, the sauce doesn't need it.



How to make marinara sauce -step 6 - blended smooth sauce

STEP 6

Once the sauce is cooked, blend it until smooth, in a blender or food processer or use an electric stick blender in your pot.

Use straight away or cool quickly and chill or freeze the sauce for later.

Scroll down for the full recipe.


marinara sauce, tomato sauce, meatball sauce, vegan pasta sauce, vegetarian pasta sauce, spaghetti sauce, vegan meatball sauce, pizza sauce
dinner
Italian
Yield: 4
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Print
Simple Marinara Sauce

Simple Marinara Sauce

A simple recipe for a tomato marinara sauce flavoured with oregano and red wine. The red wine is optional but gives a wonderful rich flavour.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 150ml/1/2 cup red wine
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. If the onion catches on the bottom of the pan while cooking, add a splash of water.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and red wine.
  3. Cook on a low to medium heat for 20 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich.
  4. Season with salt and pepper,  then blend until smooth.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes:

If you don't have or like oregano, you cam use parsley or basil instead.


The alcohol will burn off while the sauce cooks. If you really don't want to add it you can leave it out, but I recommend adding it as it gives a rich flavour to the sauce.


You can store your freshly made and cooled marinara sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. To cool it quickly, remove from the pan and spoon into the airtight container. Once cool you can store it in the fridge.


You can freeze marinara sauce. Cool quickly and freeze in freezer-proof bags or tubs for 3-4 months. To defrost, place in the fridge overnight then reheat to serve..

Calories

182.45

Fat (grams)

3.86

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.54

Carbs (grams)

14.72

Fiber (grams)

3.08

Net carbs

11.64

Sugar (grams)

7.51

Protein (grams)

2.43

Sodium (milligrams)

91.88

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Created using The Recipes Generator

22 comments

  1. Trying this version next time I need marinara sauce! Love the addition of red wine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really gives a richness to the sauce. Do try it.

      Delete
  2. I love how easy this looks and I completely agree on the onion and garlic. Have never tried red wine in marinara but I can see how it would add depth to the flavor. Can't wait to try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes it really makes a difference to the flavour.

      Delete
  3. Ah!! This recipe is so great—I'm going to make a bunch and freeze them! This was perfect with my homemade pasta!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love using marinara on pizza, with chicken or as a base for seafood pasta recipes. I've never made it with wine and onions. I have to give your recipe a try!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You can't beat a homemade marinara. So easy to do, and so many different uses too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is super tasty considering how simple it is. So much flavour and so many uses.

      Delete
  6. I make a similar sauce but never thought to add wine or blend it. I am going to try that next time. Thanks Jacqueline. Jill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh do try it this way next time Jill then come back and let me know what you think.

      Delete
  7. This sauce was definitely simple yet so delicious! Saving this for next time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and yes it's simple but so tasty.

      Delete
  8. Such a delicious sauce recipe! You answered all my questions and I love the suggested uses. I used it on pasta!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is such a classic sauce. It sounds fabulous and I love how versatile it is.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am not a fan of jarred spaghetti sauce and I am glad to have this tasty marinara sauce recipe. Love the simple ingredients and love how thick the sauce it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they are always so full of additives and preservatives
      Fresh tastes better and is so easy to make.

      Delete
  11. I have never made my own sauce before but this one looks easy enough and really good. Trying this soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, if you learn to make one sauce, try this one. It's a good basic recipe to have.

      Delete

I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x