An absolutely delicious recipe for a Simple Marinara Sauce that works perfectly with pasta, lasagna, stuffed peppers, pizza, and more! It's easy to make and layered with flavor using just a few simple ingredients.
This marinara sauce is one of those recipes that tastes like it took hours to make. It has been one of my secrets for years now. It's fantastic! I use it as a base for a variety of different dishes anytime I need a solid red sauce.
The recipe is basically my version of a Giada De Laurentiis red sauce recipe that I found on Food Network many years ago. Over time I've changed the ratio of the ingredients and omitted a few like the celery. I've also found the perfect olive oil and brand of tomatoes that I like to use. But the basis of this recipe is very simple and hasn't changed all that much since the first time I made it. It's near perfect just the way it is.
But the real key to the recipe is the ingredients. So you do want to use a higher quality olive oil. If you also want to splurge on more expensive crushed tomatoes you can do that too, but I've found that the star ingredient here is the olive oil. It's what takes the recipe to the next level. My favorite olive oils to use in this recipe are Partanna or Colavita. They aren't cheap, but they make all the difference in the world.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this sauce. All of which can be found at any market.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- You want to use a good quality olive oil for the best flavor. It will make a difference for this simple sauce.
- Crushed Tomatoes- Any brand of crushed tomatoes will work.
- Garlic- You only need one large clove of garlic. More than that starts to take over.
- Onion- I used brown onion, which works the best for this recipe.
- Carrot- The carrot helps to add a touch of sweetness to the sauce.
- Bay Leaf- Helps to add more depth in flavor.
- Basil Leaves- Fresh basil leaves work best.
- Salt- I used sea salt.
How To Make Marinara Sauce
This recipe is easy and takes about an hour to make. But you will need a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.
To start, you place the extra virgin olive oil, onions, and garlic in a deep pot with a dash of salt. Then turn the heat on to medium high and saute for about 2-3 minutes until the onions turn translucent. Now, add the carrots with another dash of salt and cook until soft. Next, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, and basil leaves to the pot and simmer with the lid cracked for 45 minutes to an hour until the sauce thickens up.
Then you remove the bay leaf and pour the sauce into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Now, pulse the sauce until you reach your desired consistency. I like to leave some chunks in my sauce, but you can make it as chunky or as smooth as you like.
Then once pulsed, you will pour the sauce back into the pot. If the sauce is still too thin simmer for a few more minutes to thicken up.
Finally, taste the sauce. If it is too acidic or bitter add a pinch of sugar and if it is too bland add more salt. I added about half a teaspoon of sea salt. Both of these are to your taste. My only recommendation is that you add a little at a time to prevent over salting or over sugaring.
And it's that simple! Just a few easy steps to one of the most delicious red sauces you have ever made!
How To Store
This recipe makes about 24 ounces of sauce, which is enough for a pound of pasta. Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months when stored in an airtight container.
You will love this amazing Simple Marinara Sauce because it's...
- A delicious staple sauce
- Layered with flavor
- Simple to make
- Super versatile
- Freezer friendly
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
More Vegan Sauce Recipes
These are some more recipes that are fantastic when tossed with pasta or noodles!
- Vegan Arugula Walnut Pesto Sauce
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
- Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce
- Creamy "Cheddar" Cashew Cheese
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Simple Marinara Sauce Recipe
- ¼ cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
- ½ small onion, diced (about ⅔ cup)
- 1 carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 fresh basil leaves
- Salt to taste (I used ½ teaspoon)
- Pinch of sugar if needed
- Place the olive oil, onions, and garlic in a deep pot with a pinch of salt. Now, turn the heat on to medium high and cook until the onions are translucent, which takes about 2-3 minutes. By starting out with a cold pot you are able to infuse the oil with the flavor through sweating rather than burning the garlic and onions by using too high of a heat.
- Next, add the carrots with another pinch of salt. Then cook for 3-5 minutes more until the carrots are soft.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, and basil leaves to the pot. Then simmer with the lid cracked for about 45 minutes to an hour until the sauce thickens up a bit.
- Next, remove the bay leaf and place the sauce into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Then pulse the sauce until you reach your desired consistency. I like it to be a tad bit chunky in texture. But this is completely up to you.
- Now, put the sauce back into the pot. If the sauce is still too thin simmer for a few more minutes with the lid off.
- Finally, taste the sauce. If it is too acidic add a pinch of sugar and if it is too bland add more salt. Add the salt a little at a time. You want the salt to bring out the flavors, but not take over. If you do add too much salt just add a little more tomato product and/or olive oil.
- This recipe makes about 24oz of sauce, which is enough for a pound of pasta. Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months when stored in an airtight container.