Recipe of the Month: Marinara Sauce

. January 2, 2017.

This recipe is adapted from Fl!p Your K!tchen, a new cookbook and meal planning tool by Ann Arbor resident Liza Baker of Simply: Health Coaching. Integrative nutrition health coach, kitchen coach, and COO of a family of four, Baker brings her passion, knowledge, and experience to the table to help you discover how best to show up in your life and in your kitchen.

Marinara Sauce

A basic vegan pasta sauce—ready in the time that it takes to bring water to a boil and make pasta. If you like a chunky sauce, use diced tomatoes; for a smoother sauce, use puréed. Tomato season is short in Michigan, so I tend to use canned tomatoes for this recipe: if you don’t can your own, look for BPA-free cans containing only organic tomatoes and maybe salt.

Makes approximately 1 quart


1 T olive oil

¼ c finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 T tomato paste

1 T sugar, or to taste

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ c red or white wine

1×28-oz can diced or puréed tomatoes


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat just until it shimmers.

Add the onion, turn the heat down to low, cover, and sweat the onion until soft and translucent, but not browned.

Add the garlic, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, turn the heat back to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste begins to turn dark brown.

Add the wine all at once, and stir, scraping up the browned bits from the pan’s bottom.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Immediately turn down to a simmer, cover partially, and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes.

Cool to room temperature before refrigerating in a tightly covered container.

Do ahead

Marinara will last a week in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container.

This recipe can easily be doubled (or more). Once it’s been refrigerated overnight, it freezes beautifully for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Don’t worry if the sauce seems watery after you thaw it as it will come back together when you heat it.

Variations + Fl!ps

Tex-Mex: omit basil but with the oregano, add 1 tsp ground cumin seed, 1 tsp ground coriander seed, 1 T chili powder (or to taste if it’s pure ground chile!), 1 tsp cocoa powder. If you have an open beer, use ¼ cup of that in place of the red wine. Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes in place of the regular ones.

For sauce with a kick, add red chili flakes, starting with about ½ teaspoon and increasing to taste.

Add chopped fresh basil and/or oregano just before serving.

Use your marinara sauce in a delicious South of the Border Rice and Beans Casserole!

Find out more about Fl!p Your K!tchen and Simply:
Health Coaching at