This is my absolute favorite way to make Marinara Sauce! This recipe is a staple in my house and can be used for everything from chicken parmesan to meatballs to even being used as a dipping sauce for breaded chicken tenders or zucchini.
I’ve always been a big believer in making homemade marinara sauce. You can tailor the recipe and ingredients to your taste and, even more importantly, your homemade version does not contain any of the unnecessary preservatives, additives and sugars found in pre-canned sauces. I know you’re probably thinking “Who’s got the time to make marinara sauce – especially every time I want to use it in a meal?” And I can completely understand! What I love about my Marinara is that it freezes like a dream, allowing me to create large batches at a time and store jars full of this delicious sauce in the freezer so I always have it on hand – talk about convenient!
This is a simple bright Marinara Sauce. It has a beautiful true tomato flavor that is lightly complimented by fresh garlic, onions and oregano. I add a unique twist by incorporating crimini mushrooms, which produce a wonderful earthy undertone to the sauce!
For this recipe you will need celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms, fresh garlic, a 28 oz can of organic crushed tomatoes with basil (I love organic Muir Glen), organic tomato paste, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, dried oregano, granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley, water, and a dried bay leaf.
In a 4-quart saucepan, sauté the finely diced celery and carrots in 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Make sure to season everything with a touch of salt and pepper.
Add the minced onions and mushrooms to the celery and carrots, along with another teaspoon of olive oil, and sauté them for 5-10 minutes, or until the onions are softened and translucent and the mushrooms have released their liquid. (Again season every layer!!!)
Sauté the minced garlic for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant, then add the tomato paste – making sure to cook the paste for several minutes in the saucepan. (It is good to cook the paste a little in order to get that raw canned tomato-ey taste out. Cooking and browning it will also help to intensify the tomato flavor, which is always a good thing!)
Once the tomato paste has cooked out for a couple of minutes, turn the heat down to simmer and add the canned crushed tomatoes, making sure to scrape up the browned tomato paste from the pan’s bottom. Follow that with the water, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, dried oregano, granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley, and dried bay leaf. Stir until everything is mixed well, then cover and allow the sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes so that all the flavors blend together. (Make sure to stir the sauce occasionally to prevent burning.)
After about 10-15 minutes, remove the lid, stir and continue to cook the marinara sauce (partially covered by the lid or uncovered completely) for another 20-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened to your desired consistency. (To keep the sauce splatter to a minimum but still allow ventilation, I always cover the saucepan with a dry paper towel…oh the lengths that I will go to avoid a messy stovetop!)
When the marinara sauce reaches your desired thickness, give a last check for seasoning and remove the pan from the heat. At this point you are pretty much done!
You can either choose to serve this sauce as is – in this deliciously rustic chunky form or smooth it out a tiny bit by running an emersion blender through the sauce. I prefer the latter since I typically like my marinara sauce to be between a chunky and smooth consistency. I also feel that pureeing some of those larger pieces helps to further blend the flavors together. Either way is perfectly wonderful though – just a matter of personal preference. 🙂
You can store this sauce in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for longer storage.
If you are hesitant just try it…once you start making homemade Marinara Sauce you will wonder why you ever bothered with the canned version in the first place!
- 1½ celery sticks, minced
- 1½ carrots, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- ½ cup minced baby bella mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-6 oz can of organic tomato paste (Brand: Whole Foods 365)
- 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil (Brand: Muir Glen)
- 1 cup water
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ¾ tablespoon granulated garlic
- ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 1-2 dried bay leaves
- In a 4-quart saucepan, sauté minced celery and carrots in 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium heat until softened, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the finely diced onions and mushrooms to celery and carrots, along with another teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until onions are softened and translucent and mushrooms have released their liquid.
- Add and sauté minced garlic for 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add tomato paste and cook in pan for several minutes. (It is good to cook the paste for a few minutes in order to get that raw canned tomato-ey taste out. Cooking and browning it will also help to intensify the flavor.)
- Reduce heat to simmer and add canned crushed tomatoes, stirring to loosen up the browned bits from the pan bottom.
- Pour in water and add kosher salt, cracked black pepper, dried oregano, granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley, and the dried bay leaf to the sauce. Stir everything until mixed well.
- Cover pan and allow sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes so flavors can blend together. (Make sure to stir sauce occasionally to prevent burning.)
- Partially remove cover, stir and continue to cook marinara sauce (partially covered by the lid) for another 20-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened to your desired consistency.
- Check sauce one last time for seasoning and remove pan from heat.
- OPTIONAL: At this point you are pretty much done! You can either choose to serve this sauce as is - in this deliciously rustic chunky form - or smooth it out with an emersion blender.
- Serve or store in refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, place sauce in airtight containers in the freezer.