Simple Marinara Tomato Sauce

Homemade tomato sauce

The Spruce 

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups sauce (5 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
188 Calories
12g Fat
20g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 1/2 cups sauce (5 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 188
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 251mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Protein 5g
Calcium 229mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Homemade vegan or vegetarian cooking doesn't have to be complicated 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 cholesterol-free. 

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


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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for marinara
    The Spruce
  2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and then sauté the onion and the garlic for just a few minutes, until soft.

    Heat the onion in skillet
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  3. Add in the tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Add in tomatoes
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  4. Remove from the pan from heat and stir in the basil just before serving and pair with your choice of pasta.

    Remove pan from heat and serve over pasta
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  5. Serve and enjoy!


  • 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!

Recipe Variations

When making a homemade marinara sauce, feel free to add a few more seasonings, vegetables, or anything you'd like. A couple of 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; be sure to remove them before serving.