Aggie's Kitchen

Simple Marinara Sauce

Before I posted one of my most asked for recipes, I had to do a little research on what to call it first. This is what I learned (from Wikipedia):

Marinara sauce is an Italian-American term for a simple tomato sauce with herbs—mostly parsley and basil—but, contrary to its name (which is Italian for “sailor-style”) without anchovies, fish, or seafood. In Italy, marinara refers to a seafood-based sauce or food and does not imply that tomato is either included or excluded.

I have always assumed marinara sauce to be simple, chunky tomato sauce but I never looked up it’s actual definition. My family is from Sicily and to be honest, I don’t really remember referring to our sauce as “marinara” until we opened up our second restaurant in Florida over 20 something years ago. Our sauce was always “sauce” (not gravy either…just sauce).

My sauce, apparently, is a perfect example of what marinara is. It’s simple that’s for sure, and that’s just the way I like it. I’ve always loved tomato-ey sauces, and I have always asked for an extra scoop over the top while my mom or grandpa set up the plates. That little extra sauce made a nice companion to the extra bread I like to consume during our weekly Sunday pasta lunches. Total perfection I tell you. Nothing better than cleaning up your pasta plate with a chunk of bread.

I put together this quick marinara sauce yesterday for our Sunday lunch, served over whole wheat rotini pasta and accompanied with sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, roasted broccoli and some roasted eggplant. Oh, and don’t forget the Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

Print Recipe

Simple Marinara Sauce


  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (Italian style or regular is fine)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • good pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small handful of fresh basil torn


  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and onion. Saute for a few minutes until onion starts to soften and all becomes fragrant. Add both cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with dried oregano, salt and pepper and stir. Let sauce simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes. Taste for salt along the way and adjust. Add fresh torn basil towards end of cooking time. Serve over warm pasta and enjoy.

Follow AggiesKitchen on Instagram and show us what recipes you are making from the blog! Use the hashtag #aggieskitchen - I'd love to see what you are cooking up!

Are you following me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest? If you’d like to subscribe to Aggie’s Kitchen and have each post delivered straight to your e-mail box, then please add your email here. Happy cooking!

There are affiliate links in this post. I make small earnings through any purchases made through these links. Thank you for supporting Aggie’s Kitchen!

Keep in Touch

Never miss a recipe! Subscribe to receive new post updates via email:

30 Responses to “Simple Marinara Sauce”

  1. kelley posted April 2, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Can’t beat a simple sauce over hot pasta. Total comfort food for me and I could put a bowl of this in front of my kids 97 times and they’d happily gobble it up 97 times!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

      I’m with you! My kids can eat pasta day after day, meal after meal. Though my son tries to get crazy on me and tell me he doesn’t like “sauce” . Ludicrous!

  2. Angie posted April 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Looks so good, a perfect easy comfort food!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 11:27 am

      thanks Angie 🙂 pasta is my comfort food of choice – after pizza 🙂

  3. Paula- bell'alimento posted April 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I love a simple marinara sauce and this one is just loverly! xoxo

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 11:27 am

      why thank you my dear 🙂 Wish I could share a bowl with you!

  4. Erica posted April 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

    One of my most favorite things to eat! Yours looks fabulous

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      thank you 🙂

  5. Heather (Heather's Dish) posted April 2, 2012 at 11:52 am

    i kind of like that you put that definition in there…i never would have thought about it meaning sailor-style!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      I never knew it either! Though it definitely makes sense now that I think about it.

  6. Jenn posted April 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Hello! Looks delicious.. could I freeze it for another meal, and if so, how long would it stay good for? Thanks!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Jenn! Yes, you can definitely freeze for another meal! I would say 3-6 months is probably a safe amount of freezer time. Just make sure it’s sealed tight to avoid freezer burn. Enjoy! 🙂

  7. Brenda@SugarFreeMom posted April 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    We are thinking alike! I just made sauce over the weekend, meatless too, unlike my bolognese sauce because I needed it smooth for a recipe! Love it! We have similar tastes I think and my son also says he doesn’t like sauce, Crazy I tell ya! Oh My dad is from Rome! 😉

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      doesn’t it make you crazy to hear that about not liking sauce?? LOL. I remind him how much he looooooved it as a baby. That kid ate pasta and sauce all the time!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      oh and I love that your dad is from Rome! Have you ever been to visit? I agree, we do have similar tastes in food! 🙂

  8. Cassie posted April 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Simple is the best. This sounds so good, Aggie! Anything with basil is A-OK in my book!

  9. Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen posted April 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    That looks absolutely perfect!

  10. Bev Weidner posted April 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Ohhhhh man, I love a simple sauce! GORG.

  11. Sandy @ RE posted April 3, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Oh, the best! And I always love hearing about your family history!

  12. Bree posted April 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Looks so fresh and yummy!

  13. Jersey Girl Cooks posted April 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    This is similar to the way I make it. I can eat it every night. Yours looks delish!

  14. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids posted April 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    It looks perfect, and I love reading more about your background. Your family has a restaurant? I love that! I have always wanted to open a little cafe. 🙂

  15. Kim | At Home With Kim posted April 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    You’re killing me! 🙂 The minute my eating plan allows it, I’m so making this over pasta. FOr now…. I’m going to try it to pour over chicken with cheese on top. I’ll add it to the menu plan for this week!!!!

  16. Rachel - A Southern Fairytale posted April 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    perfection! <3 gorgeous

  17. Eileen posted June 20, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Aggie! This is perfect! I needed a recipe and I came straight here. 🙂 Don’t you feel good being my first stop?

    • Aggies Kitchen posted June 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Yay! Thank you! 🙂 this is my go to quick sauce, hope you enjoyed it!

  18. Michael posted April 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    for authentic italian sauce, always use extra-virgin olive oil..


  1. Pingback: Simple Marinara Sauce Recipe | Aggie's Kitchen – Fine Food Recipes

  2. Pingback: Marinara receipts | Framers

  3. Pingback: Weigh~In Wednesday…. is BACK!

Leave a Comment