This easy marinara sauce recipe is so simple to make and tastes amazing--you'll never feel the need to purchase pasta sauce again!
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.
Our Love of Pasta
We love pasta, and though we went gluten-free years ago, and lean grain-free now, we still love it.
Years ago, I would eat regular refined flour pasta, and a lot of it.
Then, when I got a little healthier, we moved to whole wheat pasta.
Then came the move to gluten-free.
Instead of the discount bin white flour pasta, we moved to gluten-free pasta, as inexpensively as we could get them, which typically meant brown rice pasta.
And we loved it.
These days, we have gone grain-free to some extent, but we don't adhere to that diet all the time, so we do eat Brown Rice Pasta occasionally.
For the most part, after moving more towards going grain free, we didn't eat much pasta, but in recent months we found some lovely Black Bean Pasta that we were introduced to at Costco. If you haven't had it, you should check it out.
We got a great deal on this pasta and stocked up. We have been enjoying pasta more over the past few months than we have in a long time.
And my family is loving it.
One problem, however, is what goes on top.
There are all kinds of sauces that are great on pasta, and even salad dressings taste great on pasta. In fact, this Ranch Dressing / Dip tastes amazing on just about everything and I have been known to put a little bit on my pasta from time to time. Yum.
However, there is something special about marinara sauce.
Pasta and marinara sauce just go together.
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.
About this Easy Marinara Sauce
But most homemade pasta sauce takes a lot of time.
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 This Sauce
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 Substitutions
- 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 Tbsp for a "fuel pull," assuming you will use about 1 cup sauce per person.
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 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.
- 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?