Homemade Marinara Sauce

There has been a lot of talk lately about how much added sugar is in everything. And it is true! Look at the food labels on almost all of your favorite foods. Corn Syrup, High Fructose Syrup, Sugar…the list goes on and on and while there is nothing wrong with a little bit of sweet here and there, some of the places where sugar is added is ridiculous. Ketchup for crying out loud. There are 4 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon of ketchup in a popular brand and 3 of them are from sugar that has been added. When cooked right, tomatoes can have their own sweetness to them. Just try roasting them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes and you will know exactly what I mean.

And don’t get me started on sodas and cereals. Some “healthy” adult-marketed cereals has just as much if not more sugar in them than Fruit Loops or Frosted Flakes. Crazy!

I never used to be worried about how much added sugar was in every single type of food that I purchased until my taste buds changed. Because of counting marcros, I inadvertently cut sugars from my diet. I didn’t realize that was what I was doing until it was done. All I knew was that I was cutting carbohydrates. Now, most “normal” foods loaded down with sugar are way to sweet for me, so I have started to make as much as I can from scratch.

In the end, homemade is always better because you know exactly what is in it and you can adjust the recipe to match your own personal preferences. This recipe uses no sugar, unlike most marinara sauces you will find out there, and is super versatile. So have fun with this recipe. Add and remove what you want to make it your own!

Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • 8 cups pureed tomatoes* or 4 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups diced tomatoes** or 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • fresh basil and oregano, finely chopped

*To puree the tomatoes, put cut tomatoes in your food processor and pulse until smooth. You can remove the seeds if you want, but I love the texture they add.

**Try roasting the tomatoes before using them in the recipe. Dice the tomatoes up and put in an oven proof dish (with sides). Roast in oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the skins start to wrinkle and the juices run. This will bring out a little bit of the sweet flavor from the tomatoes.

Take 3 cloves of garlic and either coarsely chop or poke all over with tip of knife. Heat olive oil in a large pan (big enough to hold the sauce mixture). Add garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat sauteing the garlic until golden brown. Do NOT burn the garlic. If garlic burns, throw out the olive oil! Burnt garlic flavor is not good.

Once garlic has browned, remove garlic and discard. Add tomatoes. Heat until just bubbling. Add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the tomatoes. You should see a layer of sauce rising to the surface that is a lighter shade of red. Skim this off and discard. The baking soda reacts with the acid in the tomatoes, and this is what will remove the bitterness of the tomatoes and why you don’t add any sugar. If you think you need it, add the other 1/4 tsp of baking soda. Just be careful not to add too much as it will flavor the sauce.

Cut up the other 2 cloves of garlic. Add remaining garlic and onion to the sauce. Cover (to prevent splashing) and simmer for at least 1 hour. I simmered mine for 3-4 hours to let the flavors really infuse. If you have an immersion blender, use this to blend the onion and garlic into the sauce. If not, add to a blender to blend or remove them altogether. Stir in herbs and serve with your favorite recipe.

You can modify this recipe by adding a plethora of minced vegetables (carrots, celery, mushrooms, spinach, green peppers, etc. all would work extremely well) or other seasonings (crushed red pepper, etc.).

Will make approximately 18  1/2 cup servings. Each serving, according to how the recipe is written, contains:

  • 2.3 grams fat
  • 16.4 grams carbohydrates
  • 3.3. grams protein
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