This vegan marinara is a favorite among vegans and non-vegans alike. It's easy and delicious, with only 12 ingredients, you can cook up in 45 minutes for a fantastic meal!
I love making this easy homemade marinara sauce. It's not only tasty, slightly chunky, and filling, but it also takes less than an hour to make on the stovetop! Give this marinara try if you want something that tastes great and is healthy too.
I have made many variations of marinara, with some recipes taking 20 or 30 minutes to make. For me, the best flavor comes in at 45 to 60 minutes.
There's nothing better than making a batch of marinara with fresh and wholesome ingredients. This recipe is gluten-free, has no added sugar, and is vegan.
All you need to make this marinara sauce is the following:
- Large stockpot
- Food processor
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- Wooden spoon
- large can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes - do not drain
- Roma tomatoes - save the liquid from the chopped tomatoes
- extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- four cloves of garlic
- carrot - this adds sweetness, eliminating the need for sugar
- red onion
- sea salt
- black pepper
- red pepper flakes
- tomato paste
- baking soda, to neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes
- fresh basil, chopped, to stir in at the end
History of marinara sauce
There are many stories about how marinara sauce came to be. I found this article interesting while researching this topic. The marinara sauce originated in Naples; one story says that it was invented by mariners returning from the Americas with a newly discovered fruit in the 1700s, the tomato. Another story says that marinara sauce was made for the sailors when they returned from the sea, by their Neapolitan wives.
The marinara sauce recipe is traditionally simple and usually calls for crushed San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. You can experiment and tweak the ingredients to your liking, as I did.
🍅 How to blanch the Roma tomatoes
Before you make this Vegan Marinara Sauce, you will need to blanch the tomatoes before removing the tomato skins. Here's how to do it:
- Drop the tomatoes in boiling water and put the lid back on. You will want them in the pot no longer than two minutes total. Remove the lid after 30 seconds or so, and stir the tomatoes around quickly. Put the lid back on, repeat in another 30 to 45 seconds.
- When the two minutes are up, drain the tomatoes in a colander and run cold water over them.
- Cut an X on the bottom of each tomato and remove the skins.
- Chop the tomatoes in large pieces, save the liquid along with the tomatoes.
🔪 How to make this Vegan Marinara Sauce
Blanch the Roma tomatoes as described above.
Pulse the onion and garlic in the food processor until finely diced, scraping the side of the container and setting aside.
Add the fresh tomatoes with the canned tomatoes and pulse briefly for about 10 seconds. You want the sauce to be chunky.
Saute the onion, carrot, garlic, salt, and both types of pepper until softened. Add the tomato mixture and tomato sauce.
Simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as desired. Add the baking soda and stir in the basil.
🥗 How to serve
You can also use this Vegan Marinara Sauce as a base for other tomato-based sauces, like spicy arrabbiata or puttanesca.
I love to serve this simple healthy vegan marinara with my favorite pasta or zoodles (zucchini noodles) during the summer. It pairs perfectly with my homemade Easy Vegan Meatballs.
You can also serve it on top of Vegan Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms. I would skip the mushrooms in this case, and just make the polenta.
How to store the sauce
- Let the marinara cool, and then place it in a glass container and refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days. I found this resource useful for storage tips.
- To freeze it, let it cool first, place it in a glass container, and then in the freezer. You can either freeze a whole batch or split it into individual portions for up to 4 to 6 months.
- To defrost, transfer the frozen marinara into the fridge the night before cooking. Reheat it in a saucepan.
I'd love to hear from you! If you make this Vegan Marinara Sauce, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @resplendentkitchen and hashtag #resplendentkitchenrecipes, so I don't miss it.
Vegan Marinara Sauce
- 2 ¼ pounds fresh Roma tomatoes peeled and roughly chopped, instructions are below for how to peel them
- 1 small red onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 28-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes with juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot shredded
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt divided
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons basil leaves chopped
- Select a large stockpot and fill with enough water to cover the tomatoes. Set the water to boil. Place the tomatoes in the pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, no longer. Drain the tomatoes in a colander and cool quickly by running cold water over them. Let cool briefly; cut an X in the bottom of the tomato with a knife. Peel the Roma tomatoes and chop them, keeping the liquid as well.
- Pulse the red onion and garlic in the food processor until finely diced, scraping the side of the container. Set aside.
- In a food processor, combine the Roma tomatoes with the canned tomatoes, including the liquid. Pulse for a few moments until semi-smooth yet still chunky. Place in a medium bowl.
- Heat the large stockpot on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add olive oil. When shimmering, add red onion, garlic, carrot, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Saute for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Set heat to medium-low to avoid burning the vegetables.
- Add the tomato paste and reserved tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, adding remaining salt, and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if desired. The sauce will have cooked down. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda until it dissolves, and stir in the basil.
- Refrigerate the remaining sauce after it has cooled for up to 3 to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 4 to 6 months.
- This recipe can be doubled or tripled and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Adjust seasonings to your taste! If you like spice, add more red pepper flakes.
- Makes approximately 5 cups of marinara sauce.