This Hearty Marinara Sauce simmers for only about 30 minutes and comes out robust and rich making it the perfect vegan spaghetti sauce. And it freezes incredibly well! This is a simple Italian sauce that you will make again and again.
I love making Italian food. The ingredients are minimal and simple and the flavors are nostalgic. There are few Italian items as ubiquitous as marinara sauce, and for good reason. Use this hearty marinara sauce for anything: as pizza sauce or layered in a lasagne. Or its delicious atop pasta or simply to dunk some crusty bread into it.
Ingredients for Making Hearty Marinara Sauce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: For flavor and for a little fat. Fat helps carry flavors, making the finished marinara have a robust flavor.
Onion: Finely diced yellow onion for flavor.
Garlic: Plenty of garlic because it wouldn't be an Italian dish without it.
Carrot: For sweetness.
Canned Tomatoes: Whole Peeled canned tomatoes, please.
Dried Herbs: Combination of oregano, basil and red pepper flake for heat and flavor.
Fresh Basil: For freshness.
Choosing the Right Tomato Variety
A good marinara sauce is all about the tomatoes. So, its important to get high quality whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes.
My favorite brand of San Marzanos is Cento. But whatever you like is fine.
Whole Peeled Tomatoes Only
Its also important to buy whole peeled tomatoes. These are the highest quality of canned tomato.
Diced tomatoes are processed with an ingredient that makes them too firm to break down.
And crushed tomatoes are widely variable and range from looking like diced all to way to almost pureed tomatoes.
So for consistency and quality, choose whole peeled and crush or puree them yourself.
To work with whole peeled tomatoes, pour the contents of the cans into a large bowl. Then, using clean hands, squish the tomatoes until they are all broken up into small chunks. It is a little messy. But, I'll do anything for an Hearty Marinara Sauce.
Add Grated Carrot for Sweetness
Growing up, my mom alway added a bit of sugar into her tomato sauce. Tomatoes are quite acidic, so the tomato sauce needs to be balanced with something sweet.
But, traditionally carrot is used. I grate the carrot on a box grater. And it ends up being undetectable in the finished sauce. But it does a really nice job balancing the acidity of this Hearty Marinara Sauce out.
How to Thicken Marinara Sauce
This Hearty Marinara sauce thickens by simmering on the stove top. As the steam evaporates, the mixture thickens and the flavors marry. It will take about 30-40 minutes of simmering to achieve a rich, robust marinara sauce.
Can you Freeze Marinara Sauce
Yes! This Hearty Marinara Sauce freezes beautifully. Simply divide it between a few containers and freeze for up to three months. DO divide it into amounts that you will use it in. And once its thawed, don't refreeze it.
Use this Hearty Marinara as pizza sauce, vegan spaghetti sauce, or if you're like me simply stand over the stove and dunk an entire loaf of crusty bread into it.
Looking for More Italian Recipes?
Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinnaigrette
Vegan Meatballs by: Minimalist Baker
Hearty Marinara Sauce
- 1 3 Quart Sauce Pan or Dutch Oven
- 1 Large Bowl
- 1 Cutting Board
- 1 Knife
- 1 Wooden Spoon
- 2 28 oz Cans, whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 3 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
- 1 Medium Carrot, peeled and grated on a box grater
- 1 Large Onion, finely diced
- 4 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- ¼ teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Dried Basil
- Pinch Crushed Red Pepper
- 3 tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
- Salt and Black Pepper to taste
- Pour the contents of the tomato cans into a large bowl. Using clean hands, squish the tomatoes in you hands until they are nicely broken up into about ¼ inch chunks. Set aside.
- Into a large dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, grated carrot and the chopped onion. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until everything is soft and the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Into the pot, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano and chili flake. Stir together and season with another pinch of salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce has thickened a bit.
- Remove from heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the fresh basil.
- Ladle atop pasta, or cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Let me know how you liked this recipe!