When I started checking food labels I was shocked to see how much added sugar is in jarred marinara sauces. Since then I have always made my own. You can double or triple this recipe and then portion and freeze it for up to 3 months. This basic marinara is great on its own but the possibilities of what you can add to it are endless. I’ve included some of my favorite variations but, would love to hear about your delicious concoctions.

1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped 
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
2 32 oz cans crushed tomatoes – I know, I know, not from scratch. Once I get a vegetable mill, I hope to make my own. See my Culinary Bucket List.
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp butter

1. Heat oil in a large pot over med-hi heat.
2. Sauté onions and garlic about 10 min.
3. Add carrots and celery and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Sauté until soft (and make sure those carrots are soft or Great-Grandma will ask why you put nuts in your sauce, oy!), about 10 min.
4. Pour in the 2 cans of tomatoes and toss in the bay leaves.
5. Simmer uncovered on low for about 1 hour.
6. Remove and throw away the bay leaves.
7. Add dried basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Finish by stirring in the butter.
  • Sauté 1 cup of diced mushrooms in butter and add when adding the crushed tomatoes for a mushroom marinara
  • Add 1 Tbsp of crushed red pepper when adding tomatoes for an Arrabiatta
  • Sauté 4 chopped anchovy filets, 1/2 cup capers and 1 cup each of green and black olives for 3-5 min, then add to the finished recipe for a Puttanesca