AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

20-Minute Marinara Sauce

A simple and delicious marinara sauce in just 20 minutes! Double the recipe and make a big batch to freeze for super fast pasta dinners on busy weeknights. Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce.

AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

It wasn’t until my senior year of college that the thought of making my own spaghetti sauce even occurred to me. Growing up, my family always purchased the jarred stuff and it tasted fine to me…until I found myself rooming with a girl named Francesca from Italy.  At the time, I was accustomed to either eating dining hall food (my campus had decent options as far as universities go), picking up pre-made meals at Trader Joe’s, or getting sushi takeout. There was a lot of sushi and Diet Coke back then.

Then Francesca moved in, went grocery shopping at least once a week (for actual ingredients, not frozen meals), and cooked a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost every day, although breakfasts were usually just a piece of toast and coffee. As a college student with a magically always-stocked dining hall pass, I found this to be bizarre at first. The thought of cooking beyond instant oatmeal and pb & j sandwiches was just not something that had occurred to me.

Looking back, Francesca’s cooking was really simple and repetitive—pasta, lasagna, a red wine vinegar cucumber salad, french fries made from whole potatoes, repeat. However, I remember the day I first tried her homemade marinara sauce, with the distinct flavors of garlic, herbs, olive oil, and tomatoes…it was one of those moments that opens your eyes and palette to what’s possible, and you wonder, “What the heck have I been eating all these years?!”

AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

The next time Francesca made what became her signature pasta, I watched intently, asking her to show me how to do the same and learning all of her little secrets: frying the sliced garlic in olive oil until golden and crispy, the ratios of spices and how she would crush them in her hands to release the flavor before adding them to the sauce…it seems absurdly simple to me today, but at the time it was a revelation.

AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

Years later, I’m still making a variation of Francesca’s marinara sauce, though I skip the rosemary (her favorite) in favor of thyme, oregano and basil, and I use more garlic than she ever did (she sliced hers in big pieces and removed them after the sauce was done because oddly enough, this Italian swore she didn’t like garlic). I also prefer whole, peeled tomatoes over diced, because they break down a bit more when cooked, but both make for very delicious sauces. And then nutritional yeast. That definitely wasn’t on her radar.

This is not to say that I don’t still buy the occasional jar of marinara sauce, because I do. But if you’ve never made your own, you must make this recipe at least once. It’s all of 2 minutes of active prep work (mince the garlic, crush the tomatoes, toss in the spices) and just 20 minutes of simmering on the stove. Ample time to cook your pasta, toss together a quick salad, and get a really comforting, satisfying dinner on the table in well under 30 minutes.

AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

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20-Minute Marinara Sauce

AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

20-Minute Marinara Sauce

Vegan, Gluten Free,

Serves: about 2 1/2 cups


Cook Time: 20 mins

A simple and delicious marinara sauce in just 20 minutes! Double the recipe and make a big batch to freeze for super fast pasta dinners on busy weeknights. Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce.

AWESOME Marinara Sauce in just 20 minutes! Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce. | picklesnhoney.com #marinara #sauce #tomato #spaghetti #vegan #glutenfree #sugarfree #recipe #italian

20-Minute Marinara Sauce

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (or diced tomatoes, for a chunky sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch red chili pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, plus more for serving
  • sea salt to taste

Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free Servings: about 2 1/2 cups

Cook Time: 20 mins

A simple and delicious marinara sauce in just 20 minutes! Double the recipe and make a big batch to freeze for super fast pasta dinners on busy weeknights. Use whole peeled tomatoes for a classic marinara, or diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce.

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until golden. Add the tomatoes with their juices to the pan. If you're using whole tomatoes, smash them against the sides of the pan with a spoon to break them up. Take the thyme, oregano, and basil, and while you add them to the pan, crush them slightly with your fingers to release their flavor. Add the bay leaf, red chili pepper (if using) and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened. If you're making pasta to go along with the sauce, now is a good time to boil water and cook the pasta.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the bay leaf and taste the sauce to see if it needs additional salt. Serve it immediately over pasta with an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Notes [1]

Leftover marinara sauce will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days, or can be frozen for as long as 3 months. Simply defrost and re-heat as needed!

Copyright © 2019 Amanda Maguire for Pickles & Honey

Leave a Comment

  1. kelsi says

    i LOVE this, spaghetti was the temporary plan for supper tonight, but it is a DEFINITE plan after reading this recipe! i can’t wait to have this pasta sauce on hand alll the time!

    1. Amanda says

      Hooray for spaghetti dinners! I hope you love the sauce, Kelsi!

  2. Heather says

    Yum! I’ve always wanted to try making my own marinara sauce. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. Amanda says

      I hope you give it a try, Heather! It’s SO easy.

  3. Kate says

    I love homemade spaghetti sauce. I can’t wait to try your version!

  4. Erika says

    This looks really easy and doable. I’m pinning it to make for my next pasta dinner. 🙂

  5. Looks like I’m going to have to make spaghetti soon! This looks so tasty and I love that it’s almost as fast as the pasta itself.

    1. Amanda says

      It’s great for those nights when you need a quick dinner. For some reason, pasta fell off my radar for a while, but I’ve been loving spaghetti these last few weeks. I think you need to make some soon. 🙂

  6. I like the pinch of red pepper flakes for heat and the bit of nutri-yeast for cheesiness. I just made a bunch of tomato sauce and tomato soup to freeze from a box of tomatoes. Processing a box of tomatoes like that had been on my cooking bucket list for years, but I finally got around to it. Simple once you actually get to it!

    1. Amanda says

      I’m so glad you tackled something new on your cooking bucket list! That always feels so good. Your comment about making tomato soup has me seriously craving some. That’ll be next on my list!

      1. Cool. This is the first tomato soup I’ve made that I’ve been really happy with, and it was very simple but very good. I heated some extra virgin olive oil in the pan, as hot as I could get it without it being too hot and scorching, then cooked the tomatoes quickly with fresh basil, salt, and pepper. One of those ‘start with good ingredients and don’t mess them up, and you’re good’ type of recipes. Makes me wish I could still get another box of tomatoes–– next summer I guess!

      2. Amanda says

        I know exactly what you mean about ‘start with good ingredients and don’t mess them up, and you’re good’–most of my favorite meals use just a few really high quality ingredients. Thanks for sharing your soup-making process!

      3. Sure! And it put it all through the Vitamix at the end.

  7. I’ve been looking forward to this post since you previewed it on Instagram. So easy and so delicious! Definitely trying this the next time I make pasta.

  8. Ada says

    I have made this recipe more than 8 times because I love it so much! Sometimes I’ll add extra nutritional yeast or add extra garlic. I’ll also add field roast Italian sausage, spinach, and mushrooms to bulk it up!

    1. That makes me so happy, Ada! Your idea to add Field Roast sausage, spinach, and mushrooms sounds delicious! I’m going to need to try that very soon.

  9. Abri says

    If you’re using fresh tomatoes, how many would you use?

    1. Hi Abri! I haven’t tried cooking down my own tomatoes, but you would need enough to make 28 ounces of cooked tomatoes.

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