Simple Marinara Tomato Sauce

Homemade tomato sauce

The Spruce 

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 5 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
188 Calories
12g Fat
20g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
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 vegan spaghetti 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. Since the recipe only has a few ingredients, you'll get the best results if you use high-quality items. Look for Italian canned plum tomatoes and use the best olive oil you can find. The classic sauce happens to be vegetarian and vegan as well as gluten free and cholesterol free. It also comes together in just 20 minutes from start to finish.

Pair the sauce with spaghetti or other pasta or use it in a vegetarian lasagna. If you're a meat eater, add browned beef or lamb to make a bolognese, or add a vegetarian meat substitute to make a vegan version. You can use this versatile sauce in any recipe that calls for tomato sauce, such as vegetarian baked pasta or baked and breaded eggplant dish.


Click Play to See This Vegan and Gluten-Free Marinara Tomato Sauce Recipe Come Together


  • 1/4 cup olive oil (good quality)
  • 1/2 onion (white or yellow, 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 freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (chopped into ribbons, aka chiffonade)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for marinara
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  2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. 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 with the juices 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. Serve with your choice of pasta or other dishes. Enjoy.

    Remove pan from heat and serve over pasta
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  • 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.

Recipe Variations

When making a homemade marinara sauce, feel free to add a few more seasonings, vegetables, or anything you'd like. Here are a few additions that are common when making spaghetti sauce. All should be added while the tomatoes are simmering:

  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon or so of dried oregano
  • Tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of white wine
  • Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)