Simple Marinara Tomato Sauce Recipe

Simple homemade tomato sauce
Simple homemade tomato sauce photo by Isabelle Lafrance / Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups sauce (5 servings)
Ratings (24)

Homemade vegan or vegetarian cooking doesn't have to be complicated in order to be delicious, and recipes such as this simple homemade marinara tomato sauce are the proof. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best.

Made with fresh basil, canned tomatoes and a bit of olive oil and sea salt, this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a flavorful homemade marinara sauce which is, of course, both vegetarian and vegan as well as gluten-free and, like all vegan recipes, it is cholesterol-free as well. 

Pair this easy homemade tomato sauce with any kind of pasta, use it in your vegetarian lasagna, or add a vegetarian meat substitute to make a vegetarian bolognese, or just use it in any recipe which calls for tomato sauce, such as this vegetarian baked pasta or this baked and breaded eggplant dish. Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (good quality)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes (crushed or diced)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (or kosher salt)
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped into ribbons (chiffonade)

How to Make It

  1. First, in a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and then sautee the onion and the garlic for just a few minutes, until soft.
  2. Next, add in the tomatoes, and season well with salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the pan from heat and stir in the basil just before serving - it's as simple as that!

Recipe variations: When making a homemade marinara sauce, feel free to add a few more seasonings, vegetables, or anything you'd like, or, keep it simple just as it is.

A couple options to which are common in homemade marinara sauces? A touch of sugar while simmering, a 1/2 teaspoon or so of oregano, a tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a splash of white wine or a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. Another option to add lots of flavor is to add one or two bay leaves to the tomatoes while they are simmering (just be sure to remove them before serving, of course).

Another tip? If you want to sneak in some vegetables without your family knowing it, add in some grated carrots, riced cauliflower or grated zucchini while your marinara sauce is simmering. They'll likely never even notice!

Got leftover marinara sauce? Here's a few ways to use it up: