Whenever you see an online recipe labeled as “easy,” it’s often an exaggeration. For many people looking for a simple recipe, a dish that involves chopping half a dozen different veggies is an automatic turn-off. Not to mention dishes and utensils that have to be washed afterwards!
This recipe for vegan marinara sauce, on the other hand, could not get any easier. It’s much healthier than any store-bought brand, ready in 20 minutes, and exceptionally budget-friendly. Best of all, you may already have the ingredients in your pantry!
The tomatoes are really the star of this marinara recipe, highlighted and uplifted by herbs and spices. I know there’s a million recipes for marinara sauce on the internet, but I wanted to add my contribution! The result is a simple and versatile tomato sauce you can use to make your favorite pizza, Vegan Eggplant Parm, or Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs!
What is Marinara?
Along with pesto and carbonara, marinara is a classic Italian pasta sauce. With tomatoes as its main ingredient, the sauce is elevated with the use of garlic, herbs, and onions. Some recipes may venture a little further with extras such as olives and capers.
In the interest of making this vegan marinara recipe as easy as possible, it’s made using garlic and onion in powder form, canned tomatoes, dried herbs, and salt. Presto e facile!
- Tomatoes. Even though we’re not using fresh produce, you’d be surprised at the amount of nutrients in canned tomatoes! They are still an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. In fact, canned tomatoes contain larger amounts of calcium and iron compared to their fresh counterparts.
- Herbs. This recipe uses classic herbs common for Italian cooking: dried basil, parsley, and oregano.
- Aromatics. Instead of using fresh garlic and onion, this sauce contains garlic and onion powder. It’s quicker, more accessible, and removes the necessity to add oil to your dish.
How to Make Super Easy Vegan Marinara Sauce
This recipe is so simple, there’s pretty much no progress aside from opening a can or two and twisting the lids off some spices. Here’s how you make this delicious sauce:
1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Bring the contents to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to low and cook for at least 20 minutes. Ideally, your sauce cooks for 20-60 minutes.
3. It’s ready! Enjoy.
Recipe Tips, Variations and Substitutions
- Use crushed tomatoes only. This recipe calls for crushed and diced tomatoes. Although technically you don’t even need the diced tomatoes, unless you like a chunky texture to your marinara sauce.
- Add baking soda. Tomatoes are naturally high in vitamin C, which often results in sharp, tart flavor. This may sound a little crazy, but if you need to cut through the acidity of the sauce, you can add a small pinch of baking soda.
- Synchronize the cooking process. If you’re serving this marinara over pasta, my suggestion is to start this sauce when you start the water boiling for the noodles. This way, the sauce simmers for a good 20-30 minutes for the best result.
- Get creative. The herbs and spices I used for this recipe aren’t set in stone! Feel free to toggle the recipe slightly depending on what you have on your spice shelf. Try it with rosemary, marjoram, sage, smoked paprika, or allspice.
- Use canned garlic. Another alternative to chopping garlic yourself is to use minced garlic that comes in a jar. It’s all about ease and accessibility!
- Make a large batch! The beauty of a pantry recipe such as this one is that making double the amount takes the same effort.
Storing Vegan Marinara Sauce
If you’re not serving the sauce straight away, this is one of the easiest leftovers to store. For short-term storage, transfer marinara into an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. For a longer solution, you can split the sauce into portions and freeze it.
Alternatively, you can pour the sauce into a sanitized jar while it’s still hot. Close the lid and allow it to cool down at its natural pace. This will create a vacuum, sealing the jar. You will know that the process was successful if the jar lid is slightly concaved. Store in the fridge for up to a month.
The grand appeal of marinara is its versatility. A good tomato sauce will take a dish to a whole new level!
- Stuffed Zucchini Boats. A delicious and picturesque vegan meal.
- Vegan Eggplant Parmesan. A vegan twist on a classic chicken parm dish.
- Vegan Pizza. Every good pizza starts with a good sauce.
- Vegan Meatballs. Serve with spaghetti or in a sub sandwich!
- Spaghetti Squash. A lighter, fiber-rich alternative to pasta.
Super Easy Vegan Marinara Sauce
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder feel free to use 2-3 cloves fresh
- ½ tsp onion powder feel free to use 1/2 a fresh onion, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes add a few pinches if you like your sauce to have a little heat
- Pinch black pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour.
- This recipe calls for crushed and diced tomatoes, but you can use crushed tomatoes only if you don’t care for a chunky texture.
- To cut through the acidity of the sauce, you can add a small pinch of baking soda.
- Feel free to toggle the recipe slightly depending on what you have on your spice shelf. Try it with rosemary, marjoram, sage, smoked paprika, or allspice.
- For short-term storage, transfer marinara into an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. For a longer solution, you can split the sauce into portions and freeze it.
About the Author
Cat Harvey is a recipe creator, food photographer and writer with keen interest in wellness, movement, and environment. Since the start of her freelance career in 2017, Cat has been helping people transition to a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. Read more about Cat.
16 thoughts on “Super Easy Vegan Marinara Sauce”
There is nothing better than the smell of this while it’s simmering! I’m making several batches to put in Mason jars and give to co-workers with some fresh grated parm and cute Christmas tree shaped pasta. Thanks for the recipe – it’s so good!
The flavor is just right when following the recipe as given. I added 3 T tomato paste to make for a thicker sauce. Also 1 t sugar, that is just my preference. If I had 1-2 fresh carrots I would have simmered them in the sauce instead and then removed when finished. I like the sweetness carrots add.
Melissa: 2 cups, for the diced & 3.5 cups for the crushed.
So 5.5 cups total.
The poundage, or # of tomatoes varies, according to what type of fresh tomatoes you are using, such as more Roma tomatoes would be needed than 2 large 1 pound tomatoes.
If you are buying fresh tomatoes, by the pound, (16oz.) then, you’d need at least 3 one pound tomatoes.
16 oz.(1# fresh tomato) x 3 = 48 oz.
28 oz (can)+ 15 oz. (can) = 43 oz. total.
So that’s about a half cup difference, between canned, and fresh. I don’t think that half a cup will make that much difference, when the sauce is cooked down.
One might need to add some tomato paste, if the sauce is too runny.
Yum, that looks great. I was just wondering, how long does it stay refrigirated without turning bad and does it freeze well?
Great recipe. – I added a liittle extra garlic (I love garlic) and 2 tsp sugar, then I poured it over grilled eggplant.
I’m trying to cut salt and sugar and oil from my diet, in addition to going vegan, so I nixed even Ragu Traditional. I tried Muir Glen canned sauce but the flavor wasn’t right and was disliked by our whole household. I’ll be trying this and omitting salt.
This sauce it’s amazing, I have it bookmarked because I’ve made it so many times now. I do use fresh garlic and onion. I cook very healthy all the time, it’s great not having to buy supermarket sauce but being so easy atthe same time.
i love this recipe! i make it with a health cheese sandwich. it is a delectable quick and easy dish!
How many fresh tomatoes would replace the canned?
lovin” all of the ingredients in this perfect Italian classic recipe! I’ll have to make this when my tomatoes are ripe! Thanks!
One of the best sauces on earth. The longer it simmers, the better the taste, but the whole cooking time is really worth the effort.
I do this every week, except with fresh tomatoes, which are marked down at our local produce shop ($0.99 gets you 5-6 vine tomatoes; score!). with a bit of knife work, some time in the slow cooker, and then finishing up on the stove top, I have fresh marinara sauce for the week.
I’ve pretty much eliminated canned foods from my diet (too much sodium; BPA in the lining), but occasionally have some on hand for emergencies. 🙂
thanks for sharing this recipe!
This looks like my go to marinara recipe! Until I get carried away and end up chopping up a gazillion veggies to throw in there!
Haha that’s exactly what happens to me – I had to force myself to leave it simple this time 🙂