This is my favourite thick and rich marinara sauce recipe. This sauce is so easy to make and is the perfect base to a range of different recipes. You’ll never need to buy store bought sauce again!
Marinara sauce is a rich tomato sauce usually made with garlic, herbs and often a splash of wine. There are many variations with the origins of the sauce in Italian-American cuisine. This recipe is not authentic, nor is it trying to be. It’s simply a sauce inspired by the many variations of marinara sauce and is one that I personally find really easy and incredibly delicious.
In Australia, marinara sauce is often confused with our dish of spaghetti marinara which is a seafood mix cooked through a rich tomato sauce and tossed through spaghetti. It’s a dish I grew up with and was often found in the homes of many Australian families thanks to the easy ‘marinara mix’ packets of seafood you can get at the local supermarket.
This marinara sauce can certainly be used as the basis of a seafood marinara. It’s a very versatile sauce that can form the base of many meals and is a great recipe to be able to simply add a tonne more flavour than any store bought sauce could provide.
Plus, did I mention just how easily it comes together?
Ingredients for easy marinara sauce
The thing I love the most about this recipe is just how simple the ingredients list is. Usually I have all the ingredients on hand ready to go making this a great option for when you’re looking for dinner inspiration.
- Dairy-free butter – traditionally olive oil is used and you can certainly use that here instead but I found with the dairy-free butter the end result just had that extra richness that I think makes it extra delicious.
- Garlic – this is the key to the flavour of this sauce, it may seem like a lot but trust me, it’s going to make this sauce amazing.
- Passata (tomato puree) – this is the secret to just how easy this sauce is. By using pureed tomatoes (ensuring the ingredients are only tomatoes and salt) you’re going to end up with a deliciously smooth sauce without any additional work.
- Red wine – this is optional, but I find it gives the sauce just that bit extra richness. I use any that I have on hand so it’s usually a Grenache as that’s my favourite to drink, but a shiraz would be perfect.
- Dried herbs – I used a combination of oregano, parsley and basil. You can definitely use fresh herbs instead here or a combination of both depending on what you have available.
How to make dairy-free marinara sauce
To make this sauce all you’ll need is a small or medium sized saucepan and a wooden spoon.
Start by melting some dairy-free butter in the saucepan over a medium heat and add in all of the crushed garlic.
Don’t let it get too hot as you don’t want to burn the garlic as if it does you’ll need to start again because there is no recovery from burnt garlic and you’ll end up with a bitter/burnt tasting sauce which nobody wants.
Just let the garlic infuse with the melted butter for a couple of minutes until things get super fragrant.
Add in the passata sauce, the wine if using and your herbs stirring everything together.
Let the sauce gently simmer for about 20 minutes, giving the sauce a stir every now and then. If it starts to spit and make a mess of your stove, it’s probably just a bit too hot. Turn it down and let it gently simmer.
The sauce will thicken a little and you’ll know it’s done when you give it a taste and the tomatoes have started to taste sweet rather than bitter.
Marinara sauce serving suggestions
This sauce is so delicious, it’s great served with a range of different recipes to add extra flavour. These are just some of my favourites;
- Use it as a pizza sauce like on this easy prosciutto pizza.
- Make a meatball sandwich.
- Toss it through some pasta for an easy meal.
- Serve it alongside these baked beef meatballs, perfect for dunking.
- Spread some sauce over a pre cooked chicken schnitzel, top with cheese and bake for the perfect chicken parmigiana.
- Add some fish, calamari, prawns and maybe some mussels to the pot of sauce and let the seafood cook. Serve the seafood marinara with crusty bread or pasta.
If you don’t need to use the sauce straight away, you can freeze the sauce in portions as you’d wish to use them in an airtight container for up to three months. To defrost, leave in the fridge overnight or on the kitchen sink to defrost.
More easy sauce recipes:
Simple Marinara Sauce
- 60 grams (¼ cup) dairy-free butter
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 x 700 gram jar passata (tomato puree)
- ⅓ cup red wine optional
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Place the dairy-free butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it melts. Add in the crushed garlic and mix, turning the heat down to low to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Once fragrant, add the passata, red wine if using and herbs and stir to combine.
- Let very gently simmer for about 20minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and doesn’t have any bitter flavour to it.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.