This simple, homemade oil-free marinara sauce recipe is perfect for spooning over your favorite pasta or lasagna. It's also a tasty dipping sauce for garlic bread. Plus it's customizable! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This easy Italian-inspired vegan marinara sauce recipe comes together quick on the stovetop with just a few simple pantry ingredients.
This is by no means an authentic Italian marinara sauce, but simply my own easy version that I enjoy.
Store-bought marinara sauce in a jar (while delicious and convenient) typically has added sugar and oil. So here you have the option of omitting those ingredients by making your own right at home!
I enjoy making homemade versions of store-bought staples (like Enchilada Sauce and Taco Seasoning) because you can control the ingredients. And also because you can cater it directly to your own taste.
Ingredients for Oil-Free Marinara Sauce
This tomato sauce requires just a few simple ingredients that you will simmer on the stove:
- Canned crushed tomatoes: Be sure to use good quality.
- Yellow onion: Or you can use sweet onion or white onion instead.
- Fresh garlic cloves: I use about 4 to 5 cloves garlic for this recipe, but adjust the amount as you see fit.
- Dried basil: Be sure your dried herbs are good quality (and not expired) for best flavor. I like using basil and oregano, but change it up with your own favorites or use Italian seasoning instead.
- Dried oregano
- Salt: I use fine grain salt for this recipe. You can also include black pepper if desired.
For a chunkier sauce: Use a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes, and break them down with a spoon as they cook.
This recipe is customizable with your own favorite flavors. A few ideas include:
- Fresh herbs: Herbs such as fresh basil or fresh parsley are wonderful stirred in at the end of cooking.
- Vegetables: Sauté veggies like zucchini, spinach, or fresh tomato to add to the sauce.
- Give it a kick: Stir in 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes for a little spice.
- Vinegar: Deepen the flavor with 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.
- Sweeten it: Add 1/2 teaspoon cane sugar or 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup to sweeten it to your taste.
Yield: This recipe makes about 3 to 3.5 cups homemade marinara sauce. (We find this pairs well with about 12 to 16 ounces of pasta.)
How to use: This sauce is great on a variety of dishes. Try is as a pasta sauce, a pizza sauce, a dipping sauce, or on lasagna. (I like to make a double batch of this sauce for this Easy Vegan Lasagna with Chickpea Ricotta.)
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. We find they keep for about 3-4 days.
Easy Marinara Sauce (Oil-Free)
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (use good quality)
- 1/2 small onion
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp. dried basil
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt (more/less to taste)
- Fresh basil (to stir in at end), 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1-2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. cane sugar (or 1 Tbsp. maple syrup)
- Finely dice onion.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onion for 7-8 minutes. (I use 3 Tbsp. water/broth for no-oil sauté method, adding more as needed.)
- Meanwhile, mince garlic.
- When onion is translucent, add garlic, basil, and oregano. Stir and sauté 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add tomatoes and salt. Stir, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings/flavors as desired. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days or freeze.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
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