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Classic Tomato Marinara Sauce

This is a classic, basic tomato marinara sauce that makes an absolute staple for a lot of my pasta recipes.

Make a big batch of this sauce with fresh tomatoes and then freeze to have on hand whenever you need it.

Fresh tomatoes versus canned tomatoes

I like to make this recipe with fresh tomatoes whenever I can – this summer, we grew our own tomatoes which meant we had a real abundance (read: more than we knew what to do with!), so cooking up a batch of this marinara sauce was the perfect solution.

However, there will be some occasions where you don’t have fresh tomatoes or don’t have the time to be peeling them before making this sauce. In those cases, using whole plum tomatoes will be fine – it might not taste quite as good, but you’ll still get a good tomato pasta sauce.

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Peeling tomatoes

Peeling the tomatoes before cooking the sauce may seem like a lot of hassle but trust me, it makes the sauce a thousand times better.

Popping the tomatoes in some boiling water for a couple of minutes then rinsing in cold water makes the skins practically fall away from the tomatoes, so it’s really not as much work as it seems.

If you’ve got particularly chunky tomatoes, you might want to core them after peeling too.

To blend or not to blend

Some purists will probably tell you that blending a classic tomato marinara sauce is sacrilege – but I think it depends on what you like.

If you want a perfectly smooth sauce without the seeds and onion etc, blend away. I’ve blended the sauce with my immersion blender a couple of times when I want a really smooth pasta sauce.

If you want less hassle and aren’t too fussed, leave it chunky – it tastes the same either way!

Tomato Marinara Sauce

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A rich tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, onions, and garlic to pair with any pasta dish - perfection! Great for freezing, too.


  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 800g fresh tomatoes (use canned whole plum tomatoes if you don't have fresh)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200 ml water


  1. Boil a large pan of water, and add the tomatoes. Allow to boil for 1 - 2 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Squeeze the tomatoes out of their skins, and discard the skins.
  3. Finely chop your onion and garlic, and then add to a pan with the olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes on a low heat.
  4. Add the peeled tomatoes and stir, gently breaking the tomatoes with a spoon. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Allow the sauce to simmer on a low heat for approximately 20 minutes, or until the sauce reaches your desired thickness (a thicker marinara sauce for pizza may need longer).
  6. Optional: if you want a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender.
  7. Stir in the basil leaves at the end.


This marinara sauce is great for storing in the fridge for 3 - 5 days, and also freezes perfectly. If you've got a big batch of tomatoes you need to use up, this is a great option.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g

Nutrtional information isn't always accurate.

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Sunday 21st of June 2020

Thanks for the lovely recipe I tried it out with my pasta yesterday. I always have plenty of tomatoes from the garden too. I make jams, dips, salads but there's always plenty left. Planning to make this simple sauce in large batches and freeze it.

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