Best of Basic · Dairy-Free · Gluten-Free · Health & Wellness · Healthy · Italian · Sauces & Spreads · Vegan · Vegetarian · Whole30

Best of Basic: Quickie Marinara Sauce

So it’s been about a year since I graduated from culinary school to become a health-focused personal chef. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, but I’m super happy and excited about the progress I’ve made. As a personal chef, I’ve only gotten better and better at creating simple and straight-forward recipes that also taste absolutely delicious. When cooking six dishes in five hours, looking at recipes is a waste of my time. That’s why keeping it simple, fresh, high-quality and wholesome is so important.

This quickie red sauce is the base of so many Italian-style recipes, from lasagna and baked ziti to eggplant parmesan and pizza. Super quick, super easy and super delicious…. you can’t go wrong with this one. I call this sauce “pantry friendly” because it requires ingredients that I have on hand 95% of the time… canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, dry herbs and olive oil – that’s it. This sauce also freezes well, so go ahead and make a double batch.

Quickie Marinara Sauce
Yield: 4 to 4.5 cups Active Time: 15 minutes Simmering Time: 20-40 minutes


1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
sea salt, fine grain
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches crushed red pepper flake
1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf, optional*
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted variety or San Marzano preferred)
1 14-oz can diced or crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted variety or San Marzano preferred)*
1/2 cup water (plus 1/2 cup more if simmering for 35-40 min instead of closer to 20-25 min)

To Make

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Allow onions to sweat until translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flake. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, herbs, water & 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a rolling simmer, reduce to a low simmer. Simmer on low for at least 20 minutes, but 35-40 is better! Stir occasionally while simmering to prevent sticking on the bottom. Season with additional salt to taste. Remove and discard bay leaf (if using).

* using fire roasted canned tomatoes helps develop a deep flavor faster & San Marzano canned tomatoes are the sweetest canned tomatoes you can buy – regular canned tomatoes work too, if in a pinch

* I use (and recommend) organic canned tomatoes

* I sometimes throw a bay leaf in, and sometimes I don’t – your call

3 thoughts on “Best of Basic: Quickie Marinara Sauce

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