Simple Weeknight Marinara Sauce
Weeknight marinara sauce is a simple classic you can make from scratch with six ingredients and just 20 minutes. Plus, with a fairly big batch, odds are you’ll be able to recruit it for double duty – pizza one night, spaghetti soon? That’s meal prep done right!
Well, another weekend in the books, and here we are back at Monday. The circle of life! Our weekend was lovely and extended a bit thanks to a local holiday, Whit Monday, so we got an extra day to hang out and relax. The weather has been much nicer here in Brussels the past few weeks – sunny and downright HOT several days – making it much more desirable to spend time outside than in. Hello, grilling season! And hello to all the quick, easy meals!
As usual, we got the weekend started off right with Friday night pizza, made even better than usual by this fantastic weeknight marinara sauce. Have you ever tried making marinara sauce from scratch? If not, you are in for a major treat when you realize how incredibly fast and easy it is – six ingredients, 20 minutes – and how much more delicious it is than store-bought.
Even better, most of those 20 minutes are inactive, so once you get everything simmering nicely, you can turn your attention to other food prep, toddler maintenance, and/or wine sipping, just popping in to give the sauce a quick stir now and again.
The speediness here is thanks to the miracle of canned tomatoes, specifically the crushed variety. With so few other ingredients, the tomatoes really shine, so I do think it’s worthwhile to seek out a high-quality brand if you’re shopping with this sauce in mind. I know many people swear by San Marzano tomatoes, so I scoop those up whenever I see them, but they can be a little hard to find, at least for me. So in their absence, I will generally look for any genuinely Italian brand. 🙂
There are so many great options with a classic marinara sauce like this – pizza, pasta, dipping for garlic bread, cheese sticks, you name it. In fact, the pizza we made with it Friday night was so amazing, easily one of our top three favorite at-home pizzas, that that is the next recipe I plan to share. Think this delicious marinara sauce, plus bacon, cherry tomatoes, and a little arugula sprinkled on top. Oh, how I wish I had another slice right now! I can’t wait to share it with you! (Update–here it is!)
More Quick Dinner Ideas:
- Classic Vodka Sauce Recipe
- Roasted Tomato and Garlic Spaghetti
- Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese
- Spicy Black Bean and Corn Tacos
- Lemon Thyme Chicken
- Curry Spiced Cashew Chicken and Rice
And then, because this recipe yields far more sauce than is necessary to top one pizza, we popped the leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days and enjoyed it again tonight with spaghetti and meatballs and an easy breezy green salad. Delicious and easy!
You can also keep this on hand then punch it up for easy meals like our favorite Italian chicken sausage pasta. Quick, hearty, easy.
Simple Weeknight Marinara Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves – finely minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 28 ounce (800 grams) can crushed or “pulped” tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-2 bay leaves
- kosher salt and black pepper – to taste
- Place oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a cold medium saucepan and warm over medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant and just starts to sizzle, about 1 minute. Be careful not to let the garlic brown.
- Pour the tomatoes into the pan, then add oregano, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If sauce begins to bubble rapidly, reduce heat further.) Remove from heat, and remove bay leaves before serving.
- Sauce can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or frozen.
- Lightly adapted from Fox and Briar.
22 Comments on “Simple Weeknight Marinara Sauce”
Does anyone know if this recipe can be canned?
Can this be made and canned to keep instead of frozen?
Unfortunately I don’t have experience with canning, so you’d have to just use your best judgment on that one!
Same for me but no oregano. Great all the time recipe for a great marina sauce.
This recipe is super simple to make and delicious. I used half for chicken parmesan and the second half will be for a pizza.
I made this tonight and was unbelievably good. Followed the Recipe and added some Italian season I had. We will add this to our weekly food and stop using sauce in a jar. Loved it!!!!
The nutritional info says serving is 2 cups. This recipe MAKES 2 cups, but what is a single serving. / nutritional info?
Hi Donna! Of course it depends on how saucy you like your pasta, but I usually use 1/3-1/2 cup per serving, which would be *approximately* 33-50 calories. Hope that helps!
Does this recipe can well?
That’s a great question! I have no experience canning, so I’m really not sure, but this page might be a good resource if you’re looking to learn more – http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/preserving-canning/canning-basics/. If you try it, please come back and let us know in the comments how it goes, I’m sure others would be interested, as well!
I love the addition of red pepper flakes! I can just imagine how good this must be on noodles or zoodles!
A good marinara sauce always comes in handy. I wonder if I can duplicate this with fresh tomatoes that are currently ripening in my backyard… 🙂
This looks delicious! Pasta happens a lot over here so it’s nice to have an easy sauce recipe!
I also love to make a marinara sauce from scratch. It’s so easy and tastes so much better than shop-bought. Yours looks so smooth and delicious!
Love the fact that it could be ready in just 20 mins! Surely this would be the best sauce that I could use for most of my cooking.
You had me at weeknight! I love weeknight hacks. Looks delish!
The hubby is training for two Spartan races so we go trailing running on the weekends and I am finding that he tends to crave pasta afterwards. This would be the perfect, little sauce to quickly satisfy those cravings.
It definitely would! And light enough to be satisfying without undo-ing all your hard work!
Even I can make this if it only takes 20 minutes! And the fact I have the ingredients too must be a sign right? ~m
Absolutely! You were MEANT to have delicious marinara tonight! 🙂
A good marinara is always a necessity! I have a few in my back pocket but I don’t think you can ever have too many! This looks delicious!
Absolutely – a good sauce recipe is always good to have! Thanks for the kind words.