Sweet and Savory Marinara Sauce

Some weekends I am far too busy to meal prep anything complicated for the coming week. However, every once an awhile I find a little extra time and I try to prepare and put back plenty of those more difficult meals so we can enjoy them for weeks to come. Like any family, my fellas enjoy pasta dishes with red sauce. You don’t really think I’m going to feed them tomato sauce out of a jar, do you? There’s no love in that!

For this post I would like to share my recipe for marinara sauce. I’ve been using this recipe for well over a decade. Red sauce is easy to prepare year round as canned tomatoes, whole, diced, or crushed, or a combination of these may be used to craft a delicious sauce. Make sure that you choose canned tomatoes with no added salt. The Hungry household does not like the texture of chunky tomatoes therefore I always select crushed tomatoes for our sauce. I like to use fresh herbs when they are available to add to the flavor profile of my red sauce. At times when fresh is not available, dried herbs will do.

Tomatoes are a rich source of the flavonoid antioxidant, Lycopene which together with caroteoids help to protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Studies indicate that Lycopene may reduce risk of cancers such as prostate cancer and skin cancer. In addition, they are abundant in vitamin C and potassium and contain good levels of vitamin A and B-complex vitamins.

Trust me when I tell you that as the aroma from this sauce wafts through the house your family will stop in their tracks and come to see what that delicious smell is. If you make the sauce, they will come. See what I did there? Ha!

This is a recipe I regularly use for meal pre-prep. The marinara sauce freezes beautifully so I like to make a very large batch and freeze it in quart size bags for future use. During those busy weeks when you need to throw a meal together but don’t have time to prepare anything complicated, you will thank me!

Next I will share my recipe for meatballs, which also freezes beautifully and makes meal prep during the week a BREEZE!


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Sweet and Savory Marinara Sauce
My marinara sauce uses a little sugar to balance the acidity of of the tomatoes. The garlic, onions, and herbs make it delightful and tasty sauce that can be used with any pasta dish.
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  2. Add onions and saute until translucent then add garlic and saute until slightly caramelized and golden.
  3. Now that the onions and garlic are tender and golden, add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Using a whisk, stir until well combined.
  4. Add the oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that mixture does not burn.
Recipe Notes
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 236
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11 g 16 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 8 %
Monounsaturated Fat 8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 841 mg 35 %
Potassium 486 mg 14 %
Total Carbohydrate 35 g 12 %
Dietary Fiber 7 g 28 %
Sugars 25 g
Protein 5 g 11 %
Vitamin A 27 %
Vitamin C 36 %
Calcium 6 %
Iron 23 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
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