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 cups (approximately) Active Time: 15 min Simmering Time: 20-30 min


1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 pinches crushed red pepper flake
sea salt, fine grain
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
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)

To Make

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add onions, crushed red pepper flake 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 & 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a rolling simmer, reduce to a low simmer. Simmer on low for at least 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while simmering to prevent sticking on the bottom. Season with additional salt to taste. If simmering for extended time, you may need to add a splash of water. When finished simmering, 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 in a non-BPA lined can

* 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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