This easy marinara sauce recipe is so simple to make and tastes amazing--you'll never need to (or want to) purchase sauce again.
Bonus, this is also happens to be a sugar-free pasta sauce so by making this, you can easily avoid all of the sugar in store bought sauces (and there's often more in them than you'd think!)
You've had those "Yikes! What's for Dinner?!?" days too, right? When it's just about dinner time and you forgot to plan anything.
Well, this sauce is what you need for those nights. It's saved us many times.
When we've needed a quick meal, you can simply grab some tomatoes off the shelf (or out of your garden) and whip this sauce up---pour on top of some pasta and you're done.
The Problem with Store-Bought Marinara Sauce
Of course, if you are hankering for spaghetti, you can grab a box and cook it up quickly and using not that much water. See this post on Saving Time and Money when Cooking Pasta for the details on that.
And the easiest path is to get store-bought pasta sauce and have it on hand for when you need it.
Just open a jar, pop it in a pan, heat it up, and you're done.
But the ingredients in jarred pasta sauce aren't always the best for you, and if you are on a low-carb diet or are eliminating refined sugar, then you might be hard pressed to find a suitable sauce. And if you are prioritizing organic for your food, then the price of these sauces really does add up.
This Organic Marinara Sauce is a case in point. $12.87 for just 23.5 ounces.
That's a lot of money for not a lot of sauce. Our family easily goes through almost 2 of those jars for one meal, so we're talking more than $25 for a stay at home pasta meal?
I don't think so.
In any case, look at the ingredients in Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce.
Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Vegetable Oil (Contains One Or More of the Following: Soybean Oil, Corn Oil), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Dried Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Romano Cheese (Cow's Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Spices, Natural Flavor.
First of all, there are vegetable oils that are almost for sure sourced from GMO soy and corn. Then there is, of course, corn syrup. Which is just plain not a good thing, regardless of the fact that it is likely derived from GMO corn. And we would have to do research on the Natural Flavors to know what is really in there, for it might not be ingredients that you want to be eating.
And even if you source out a quality pasta sauce, you are likely going to end up with added sugar. Even if it's as wholesome as organic cane juice crystals, many of us are trying to avoid added sugars (see my post on Candida and the Beginning of my Sugar-Free Life).
So it gets hard to buy a sauce that has quality ingredients, fits the bill for those of us who are avoiding added sugars, and that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Enter every busy pasta-loving mom's solution --
My Easy Marinara Sauce.
The Easiest Homemade Sauce Ever
I have very fond memories of my mother simmering homemade pasta sauce for hours, and hours, and hours at home.
The house smelled wonderful and it was such a treat to get to sample the pasta sauce ladled on a piece of bread (yikes - it was seriously white bread, as in VERY white bread). Yum.
It was lovely.
But hours and hours this busy mom doesn't have.
Instead of slaving over a hot stove for hours, you can have delicious homemade easy marinara sauce in minutes.
And it tastes great.
And if you can memorize the ingredients, it's easy peasy to recreate this easy marinara sauce because I made the measurements the same for the spices across the board.
One Tablespoon of each spice.
Easy Peasy Marinara Sauce Squeasy.
Just one thing -- as I mentioned, you can easily memorize this recipe, so it's easy to remember, but just don't put something like cinnamon or ginger in there. 'Cause then I'm not responsible for the outcome :). Just sayin'.
And also please promise me that you won't sample it on white bread, 'mkay?
I think you will love this sauce.
You will love that it's easy, you will love that it is a great frugal option, and you will love that it tastes great.
And if you want meatballs with your pasta, you can try these Grain-Free Meatballs that actually hold together without eggs.
How to Serve
Of course you should use this on pasta with these Paleo Turkey Meatballs.
Personally, I love marinara on veggies too. And on chicken.
In fact, this sauce would be the perfect thing to dip these Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets into.
This sauce tastes great on just about anything -- including a spoon.
You won't believe how easy this sauce is.
Depending on how long you simmer it for, it can be ready in as little as 10 minutes from start to finish.
Recipe Notes and Special Diet Information
- Oil: For oil, I recommend using either organic palm oil, organic light olive oil, or organic avocado oil as they have higher smoke points.
- Sweetener: You can really use any sweetener you like or omit.
- Onions: You can substitute two small diced onions for the dried minced onions if you like.
- THM: This recipe will qualify as an "S" if you are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. Reduce the oil to 2 tablespoons for a "fuel pull," assuming you will use about 1 cup sauce per person.
How long will this sauce last?
You can store this in the refrigerator for about four to five days. It should keep well in the freezer for up to 6 months, or possibly longer, depending on how you freeze it.
To make it last REALLY long, you could freeze dry it. We LOVE love love our freeze dryer. We have the medium one and it's been a great size for our family. The sauce freeze dried should keep for 25 years. Great for taking on trips, camping, etc.
Can you can this homemade sauce?
Yes, you can (see what I did there?) but pressure canning is recommended since the temperature when water canning doesn't get high enough to kill bacteria in the sauce.
If you want to do water bath canning, you'll have to add in vinegar for an acid so that the sauce is of the proper acidity for this type of canning. It's super important to know that the sauce (or anything else you want to use water bath canning for) needs to be have a pH of 4.6 or lower in order to be safely canned using that method.
How to Make This Sauce Smooth
You can either use crushed tomatoes or process the sauce before or after cooking to have a smoother sauce.
Easy Marinara Sauce - no sugar added & low carb
- 1/4 cup oil
- 4 tablespoons dried minced onions
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 dash stevia extract (optional--see Recipe Notes for alternatives)
- 56 ounces diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- Place oil in pan.
- Heat over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic. If using minced dried onion, add about 1/4 cup water to rehydrate. Cook for approximately 2 minutes until browned.
- If desired, process the sauce either before or after cooking for a smoother sauce.
- Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 7 minutes until the sauce is slightly darkened in color.
- Serve over pasta.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
So from now on, you can skip the overpriced, sugar-laden store-bought jarred pasta sauces and whip this up in no time!
Do you usually make your own marinara sauce or buy it?