This hearty marinara sauce is Whole30 approved. San Marzano tomatoes are mildly acidic, allowing us to take a sugar-free approach. Our authentic marinara sauce is made with common pantry ingredients and comes together in 1-hour!
Most store-bought sauces are expensive and sub-par in flavor. Our hearty marinara sauce is the best because we use Italian San Marzano tomatoes.
San Marzano are canned tomatoes that are rich, tender, and mildly acidic. I crush the whole tomatoes in my hand over a big bowl leaving a chunky texture. Tomato sauce shouldn't be pureed in the blender, in my opinion.
Rao's is the best marinara sauce you can buy, and the only supermarket option I would recommend. In fact, this is a copycat recipe yielding a bright red, and rich-tasting sauce.
Check out this link for our Whole30 Essentials to stock your pantry.
How to make marinara sauce better
- Onions and garlic add layers of flavor to any dish, especially marinara sauce.
- If you like it spicy, add red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste.
- Don't forget the fresh basil. I like hand-torn basil leaves added at the end of the cooking process.
Stock your pantry with these marinara sauce ingredients to whip up an easy marinara sauce from scratch.
San Marzano Tomatoes - These Italian tomatoes make a hearty marinara sauce with their tender texture, rich flavor, and mild acidity.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make hearty marinara sauce
Step 1: Crush whole tomatoes in their juices over a large bowl. The texture should look and feel like chunky salsa.
Step 2: In a large dutch oven, cook onions and garlic with extra virgin olive oil. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Step 3: Pour in crushed tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Stir sauce every 10 minutes to prevent scratching the sauce.
Step 4: Season with torn basil leaves, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Swaps and Substitutions
- Canned tomatoes make a great marinara sauce alternative. Drain the juice and puree in a blender. Reduce the sauce until it reaches a thicker consistency.
- Make it AIP. Saute beets and carrots with olive oil and simmer with water and balsamic vinegar.
- Marinara sauce without onions and garlic. These two ingredients are not friendly to some people's stomachs.
- What spices can I add to marinara sauce? Red pepper flakes, Italian Seasoning, Parsley, Oregano, and Basil.
How to serve marinara sauce
Hearty tomato sauce shows up in many different Italian recipes.
- Sandwiches - A chicken parmesan sandwich is perfect for dipping with a marinara sauce.
- Pasta - Lasagna, Pappardelle, Linguini, and Ravioli all love to be tossed in this red sauce in Southern Italy.
- Pizza - Reducing will thicken a marinara sauce by removing water for a thicker consistency for spreading on pizza.
- Meatballs with marinara sauce - One of my favorite appetizers is Italian meatballs.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
How long does marinara sauce last in the fridge?
The homemade marinara sauce will last 7-10 days under refrigeration. If it tastes fermented or has noticeable mold growth, throw it out. I like to store my marinara sauce in these Wreck glass jars.
Can you freeze marinara sauce?
You can freeze leftover tomato sauce. Place into freezer bags or air-tight containers and freeze for up to 1 year. When you want to use it again, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw for 2-3 hours.
Can you can hearty marinara sauce?
Properly canned, the marinara sauce has a shelf life of 1 year if stored in a cool dark place. A basement is an optimal place to store canned tomatoes and vegetables since it's the coolest part of your house.
- San Marzano canned tomatoes are imported from Italy and make a hearty pasta sauce.
- Simmer over low heat to prevent the sauce from scorching.
- Cook for a minimum of 1-hour for a robust marinara sauce. Quick tomato sauce recipes lack flavor.
- Crush tomatoes by hand for the best texture. Use whole San Marzano tomatoes for this recipe.
- Hand-torn basil leaves are added at the END of the cooking process to perfume the sauce with that amazing basil smell and flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answer is yes! Since both sauces use the same ingredients, the marinara makes a great spread for pizzas. Pizza sauce is thicker and more concentrated than marinara sauce.
A tomato sauce that consists of tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs. Variations include capers, chili flakes, and white wine.
It depends, many store-bought sauces contain added sugar, making them non-compliant. Homemade sugar-free marinara sauce is your best bet.
Rao's marinara sauce is hands down the best option. This recipe is a copycat version of Rao's, and it's sugar-free.
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Whole30 Hearty Marinara Sauce
- 2 cans San Marzano Tomatoes Crushed
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 4 whole garlic cloves minced
- 8 basil leaves torn
- 1 teaspoon dried oregeno
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- Remove tomatoes from cans and place them into a large bowl with their juices. Crush the tomatoes with your hands, the texture should be chunky.
- Place extra virgin olive oil in a large dutch oven pot over medium-low heat. Add in chopped onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and juices. Increase the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Instantly reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 hour.
- Stir in basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Serve!
This homemade marinara recipe tastes just like Rao's marinara. I love the texture of hand crushed San Marzano tomatoes.