This homemade marinara sauce is so easy to make and much more delicious and healthy than jarred sauce. Ready to eat in just about an hour!
When thinking of homemade marinara sauce, I’m sure the image that comes to mind for many of y’all is what it used to be for me: slaving over a hot stove for hours – stirring…and stirring…and stirring some more – to achieve results that probably don’t taste as good as what you can buy in a jar. That couldn’t be any further from the truth! Making homemade marinara sauce from scratch at home couldn’t possibly be easier, and I can say without any hesitation that if this sauce and a jar of your current favorite were pitted against one another, the contest would be over before it began.
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The beauty of this homemade marinara sauce is its simplicity: no fussy ingredients, no fancy-schmancy cooking methods. Just fresh veggies and herbs coupled with sweet-tart tomatoes and a minimal investment of time! Continue reading to grab the recipe to try for your next pasta night! Our family likes to add a little kick to our sauce with some dried chile flakes, but that is totally optional.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ⅓ to ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 (35-oz.) can whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes (optional)
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and saute, stirring frequently, until the veggies are softened and carrots are a rich golden color, about 10 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and saute for about 1 minute more, until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, stirring until the paste coats the veggies and the herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the wine all at once to the pan. Boil, stirring constantly, until wine evaporates almost completely, 2-3 minutes. (At this point, the mixture will be very thick.) Add the tomatoes and their juice to the pot. Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes and incorporate them into the sauce. Add the basil, oregano, chile flakes and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, stirring to incorporate.
- Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until sauce is considerably thickened. Check for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
Helpful Hints and Tips
- Much of the flavor of this sauce is imparted from the adequate caramelizing of the onions. Don’t skimp on this step! Make sure they are nice and golden before proceeding.
- The imported tomato paste you can buy in a tube is a bit more of an up front investment, but it saves money in the long run since you can use only what you need and conveniently store the rest for later use. And it has a much richer taste than the canned varieties!
- This sauce can easily be doubled for freezing. Divide among freezer-safe zip-top bags and freeze for up to 6 months. A quick and easy weeknight meal solution!
- If you prefer a smoother sauce rather than a sauce that is chunky, use an immersion blender to break up all of the veggies once the sauce is cooked down.
This homemade marinara sauce is delicious tossed with spaghetti and paired with my easy baked meatballs.