Classic Marinara Sauce

Classic Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a classic Italian tomato sauce that has become a staple in kitchens all around the world. It is a versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes, from pasta to pizza to meatballs. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the history of marinara sauce, the importance of its ingredients, its uses, and its nutritional role in menu planning.

History of Classic Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce has been around for centuries, and its origins can be traced back to Naples, Italy. The sauce was originally made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs, and it was served with seafood dishes. The word “marinara” actually means “mariner’s” in Italian, and the sauce was named after the sailors who first created it.

Over time, marinara sauce became popular throughout Italy and eventually made its way to the United States with Italian immigrants. Today, it is a beloved sauce that is used in a variety of Italian-American dishes.

Importance of Ingredients in Marinara Sauce

The key ingredients in classic marinara sauce are tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs. Each of these ingredients plays an important role in the flavor and texture of the sauce.

Tomatoes are the star of the show when it comes to marinara sauce. It is important to use high-quality tomatoes, whether they are canned or fresh, to ensure that the sauce has a rich, sweet flavor.

Garlic adds a pungent and slightly sweet flavor to the sauce, while olive oil helps to mellow out the acidity of the tomatoes and add richness.

Herbs, such as basil and oregano, add complexity and depth to the sauce. They also provide a fresh and fragrant aroma that is characteristic of marinara sauce.


Classic Marinara Sauce

Course Pizza Dough and Recipes, Sauces, Stocks, and Accompaniments
Author N. Jay Sorensen, MBA RDN


  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes 28 oz each
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped


  • Begin by heating the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
  • Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the two cans of whole peeled tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands as you add them to the pot.
  • Add the oregano, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After the sauce has cooked for 20-25 minutes, use an immersion blender or transfer the sauce to a blender to puree until smooth.
  • Add the chopped basil to the sauce and stir to combine.
  • Let the sauce cook for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed.


Your marinara sauce is now ready to use for your favorite pasta dishes, pizzas, or as a dipping sauce for breadsticks. Enjoy!

Uses of Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is most commonly used as a pasta sauce, but it can also be used as a dipping sauce for breadsticks or as a sauce for pizza or meatballs.

In addition to its traditional uses, marinara sauce can also be used in non-Italian dishes, such as soups, stews, and chili. Its rich tomato flavor and aromatic herbs make it a great addition to any dish that requires a tomato-based sauce.

Nutritional Role in Menu Planning

Marinara sauce is a healthy addition to any menu, as it is low in calories and high in nutrients. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants, which are important for overall health and well-being.

However, it is important to note that some store-bought marinara sauces can be high in sodium and sugar. It is always a good idea to read the label and choose a brand that is low in sodium and sugar.

In conclusion, classic marinara sauce is a delicious and versatile sauce that has a rich history and a special place in Italian-American cuisine. Its key ingredients, including high-quality tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs, are important for its flavor and texture. Marinara sauce can be used in a variety of dishes, and it is a healthy addition to any menu when used in moderation.