This homemade marinara sauce is made ultra-simply from scratch with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. No cans here, just delicious, fresh from the garden tomato sauce! With over 200 five-star reviews, it’s a foolproof summer classic.
When I first set out to make my own marinara sauce, I went to the grocery and gathered up what I thought should go into a homemade marinara – fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, parsley. When I got home I thought, “eh, better just check to see what the interwebs say about making marinara”.
Well the interwebs say canned tomatoes. Almost always canned tomatoes. Canned stewed tomatoes and tomato paste and canned crushed tomato and all of these sodium-filled cans of tomatoes.
But it’s summer and tomatoes are growing and I have a basket of beautiful ones sitting right here in front of me. So screw the cans. Today we’re making a fresh tomato homemade marinara sauce!
And we’re gonna leave the skin on too! Most recipes will have you blanch the tomato to remove the skin, but I didn’t find it to be all that necessary. AND the skin has healthy insoluble fiber. Double win.
“This is THE marinara sauce! When it was finished cooking and cooled, I tasted it and could not believe how delicious! When one of my daughters arrived for dinner I asked her to taste it just to be sure. She did but said nothing. I asked if it was all right. She said she was just savoring the flavor and didn’t want to interrupt that. Together we decided to leave it chunky rather than purée. It was just right. Other guests said it was the best marinara they had ever eaten.” —Claudette
How to make marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes
To make this simple marinara sauce, heat a touch of oil in a pot, add some garlic, throw in diced fresh tomatoes and let that all simmer. Not only is cooking going to break these tomatoes down into a smooth sauce and remove those sour tones, but it’s also going to increase the concentration of lycopene, one of the most potent antioxidants!
Once you’ve cooked down the tomatoes into your desired thickness and consistency, add in your flavor makers: basil, parsley, and honey.
What are the best tomatoes for marinara sauce?
You can use almost any tomato to make marinara sauce from scratch, but the best ones will be the paste tomatoes. These are meatier and have less water content, meaning you need to cook them for less time to get to that nice, thick sauce. Look for Roma or San Marzano tomatoes (and learn about the different types of tomatoes here).
What’s the best texture for marinara?
This marinara sauce is naturally chunky, but you can easily make it into a smooth and silky marinara with a quick blitz in the blender. I prefer to use a handheld immersion blender to puree it right in the pot, but you could also transfer it (carefully – hot!) to a countertop blender.
Ways to use this Homemade Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is a type of tomato sauce that’s more light and acidic than, say a pizza sauce. It’s great as a pasta and spaghetti sauce, but there are quite a few ways to use marinara (that aren’t pasta!)
- Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
- Eggplant Parmesan Poppers
- Italian Style Seitan Meatballs
- Vegan Bolognese Sauce
Got fresh tomatoes?
You can also use fresh tomatoes to make these favorites!
Seasonal Produce Tip
They say what grows together goes together, so why not use the fresh cucumber growing in your garden to make this easy tzatziki sauce? Serve it as a dip with veggies as a side or appetizer for this marinara!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 5 fresh tomatoes 1 to 1.5 lbs, diced
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp honey 15 g
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- Cook tomatoes: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and allow to simmer uncovered until tomatoes have mostly broken down, about 25 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
- Herbs: Stir in basil, honey, salt, pepper, and parsley (stem and leaves intact). Continue simmering about 10 minutes. Carefully remove sprigs of parsley with a fork.
- Serve: You can serve it like this or puree it in a food processor/blender for a smoother sauce.