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Extension > Family > Live healthy, live well > Healthy bodies > Eat smart > The recipe box > Basic marinara sauce

The recipe box

saucepan with sauce in it

Basic marinara sauce

English | español

Make a large batch of this homemade red sauce to keep on hand. It's great on pasta, pizza, burgers, stews, and more.

Number of servings: 8
Serving size: 1/2 cup


1 medium onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 28-ounce or 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes (or 4 cups fresh, chopped)

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1-2 teaspoons dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Water as needed to thin the sauce


Time needed: 20 minutes preparation; 20 minutes cook time

  1. In a large pan on the stovetop, sauté onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the pan.
  3. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Stir occasionally.

Nutritional information

Calories 52
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 423 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 11 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Total Sugar: 5.7 g
Protein: 2 g

Allergens: None noted

Tips and variations

Use marinara sauce with pasta, as pizza sauce, in Italian style soup, or in baked dishes.

Use fresh tomatoes in season for lower sodium and a fresher flavor.

Refrigerate leftover sauce for up to 3 days.

Freeze sauce in 1-quart freezer bags. Thaw in warm water for 10 minutes before using.


This recipe was developed by University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development staff.

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