Homemade Garlic Marinara (with a secret ingredient!)

Let’s face it…opening a jar of marinara can be so easy on a night when you just want dinner to be fast and easy. But most pasta sauces have a dirty little secret – they are LOADED with sugar! Some brands have up to 13 grams per serving!! There are a few choices out there that are good, but they can be hard to find and frankly, they can be pretty pricey.

So why not make your own fast and easy marinara that is sure to be delicious and low on the sweet stuff!

I used this very simple recipe from Delish.com as a base, but then “Gina-fied” it just a bit!

Here we go!!


  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or diced
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbs butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp umami seasoning (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbs oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped


  1. Add oil to hot pan (medium heat).
  2. Once oil starts to heat up, add in the garlic, stirring a bit to avoid burning.
  3. Add tomato paste, stirring constantly to ensure garlic is coated.
  4. Pour in crushed tomatoes, water, basil and seasoning.
  5. Stir until all is mixed well, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once sauced has simmered and thickened, stir in butter – a few cubes at a time, until butter has dissolved.
  7. Pour over your favorite Italian dish or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate in airtight jar for 3-4 days!


Can I make it spicier?

Absolutely! Many marinara recipes (including the one from Delish.com) call for crushed red pepper flakes. But I’m not big on spicy so I tend to leave those out.

What else can I put in it?

Mushrooms onions or olives are a fine compliment to this marinara. However, I like to create a simple base sauce that I can sock away for a day or two and then add things like veggies or sausage as I use it.

Why is there butter in this sauce?

I personally find that a pat of butter or two does a beautiful job counteracting that extra bit of acid / metallic taste that can come from tomatoes (especially if you use canned). Guests probably won’t be able to identify what makes this sauce extra umami-licious, but…it’s the butter!

How do I store it?

Unless you’re into legit jarring/canning, I’d personally store in the fridge on account of the added dairy in the recipe.



  1. This is so delicious, easy to whip up, made a batch for Keto pizza today and spaghetti squash later this week. Thanks for another NSNG recipe!