What's not to love about marinara? The tangy, slightly acidic bite of tomatoes, soft, sweet onions, the complex flavors of the finely chopped herbs! Oh, I wish you could take a bite of this sauce! And did I mention the versatility of this goodness in a jar? On pasta, as a pizza sauce, as a dipping sauce for breadsticks and calzones, there are so many ways to use marinara I could make countless posts just with recipes for those dishes alone. But a lot of people are so intimidated by making it fresh-- enter the jarred sauce. But, stop. STOP. Put the store brought marinara sauce and slowly walk away. It's not as hard as you think it is. My 30-Minute Marinara Sauce takes...well, 30 minutes to make and you'll think twice about buying jarred sauce again.
When my oldest was a toddler, she insisted on having psh-ghet-tiiiii as often as possible. As a result, we've eaten a lot of spaghetti over the years. While marinara sauce is a relatively low-fat sauce, I wanted to make it a vehicle to deliver as much nutrition to my then three year old as possible. I came up with the perfect solution: chia seeds. Yes, CHIA SEEDS. In the sauce. Surprise! These little seeds sitting in your cupboard can be used in something other than smoothies. And they just sort of melt into the sauce so you can't even taste them. Sneaky, sneaky!
I prefer chunky, "meaty" marinara sauce. They offer a sharp contrast to the texture of whatever they're paired with. Top some al dente pasta with the marinara sauce, add some hand-shaven parmesan cheese (or grated if you're in that camp) paired with a crusty piece of bread and you've just created my carb-friendly favorite. There is just something about a homemade pot of marinara sauce that puts a smile of my face. In fact, as soon as I finished making it, I grabbed a crusty roll and dipped right in.
Should you be so lucky as to get a piece of the perfectly softened garlic in the marinara, you are in for a piece of treat. While uncooked, the garlic is strong and pungent but once cooked in the sauce, it becomes this soft, sweet chewable treat. I fish out the pieces of garlic. I eat them off my kids' plates. I offer extra dessert to them if they give me their garlic. I am the garlic hoarder.
30-Minute Marinara is the perfect sauce to make over the weekend, store in an airtight container in the fridge and use during the week. It keeps in the fridge up to 2 weeks and even longer in the freezer, about 3 months. Or if you're canner, can it and make it last EVEN LONGER (if you don't eat it first). I'm not a canner because food doesn't last in my house long enough to be canned. And you put in a nifty mason jar, it's a great present. Giving someone a homemade jar of marinara sauce: now that's love!
30-Minute Marinara Sauce
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 8 cups 1x
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28 oz whole, peeled tomatoes
- `3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh minced parsley
- ½ tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 cups warm water
- Heat olive oil in a large pot, on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until they become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minutes.
- Add in tomato puree and whole tomatoes. Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, lightly mash the mixture to break up the whole tomatoes, leaving some pieces.
- Add in sugar, salt, basil, thyme, oregano and bay leaves. Stir in water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to prevent sticking.
- Take off heat and stir in parsley and chia seeds.