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!
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.