Homemade Marinara Sauce

Soooooo, are you a jarred spaghetti sauce kind of family? Guilty here. Some jarred sauces have an off-taste- mostly too sweet due to (unnecessary) added sugar. I do have to say though that I love Classico’s Tomato-Basil variety, and I use it more often than not. But then I received Kelsey Banfield’s new cookbook The Naptime Chef in the mail. I flipped through her book trying to decide from the oodles of delicious-sounding recipes what I wanted to make. When I saw the recipe for Homemade Marinara Sauce I thought… Wow, that looks super easy. And guess what? It was. I’m not sure I’ll buy the jarred stuff ever again!

Just 6 simple ingredients turn this recipe into 6 cups of marinara sauce. I used up all my sauce in just one recipe, but you can certainly use some now and refrigerate (up to 2 weeks) or freeze (up to 3 months) the rest! I’m thinking…make ahead in mass quantities!  Here’s the super-simple how-to:

Heat some olive oil in a pan.

Add a bunch of sliced garlic and cook it in the oil until your whole kitchen smells of garlic and the garlic itself is golden. I have a garlic press that has a dual-chamber press and slicer, which makes slicing garlic VERY easy to do.

Tear apart 4 large leaves of fresh basil and stir those into the garlic in the pan.

Pour in two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes with their juices, and bring that mixture to a boil.

Add Kosher salt and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes, swirl in a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, and your sauce is done! See how easy? If you want to save some of it for later use, just cool it down before storing. See the printable recipe below for details.

Kelsey Banfield is a fellow food blogger friend of mine, and her debut cookbook, The Naptime Chef,  was released on March 12th, 2012 Kelsey has always loved to cook. When her daughter was born, time for cooking became more challenging. Kelsey began using her daughter’s nap times to reinvent her favorite recipes and create quick meals, leaving her more time to spend with her family. You certainly don’t have to have any nap-age children to utilize The Naptime Chef cookbook. My son is well past nap-age (though I’d certainly love it if he took a snoozer once in a while), yet I’m excited to try the following recipes from this book: Strawberries and Cream Overnight French Toast, Caramel-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins, Creamy Parmesan and Chive Polenta, Summer Gazpacho, Bistro Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce, Sticky Orange Drumsticks, Chocolate- Zucchini Loaf, and Uncle Will’s Dirty Blondies. Everything looks so good! I’m thinking this would make a lovely gift for a baby shower too 🙂


I’m giving away one copy of Kelsey Banfield’s The Naptime Chef cookbook, courtesy of Running Press.   This giveaway is open to anyone who has a mailing address in the USA OR CANADA. One winner will be chosen via random.org on Wednesday, March 14th and will be contacted via email. The winner will receive The Naptime Chef cookbook to be mailed from Running Press.  This giveaway is now closed- the randomly selected winner is commenter #307 Jennifer- congrats!  Thanks to all for entering!

The Naptime Chef is available for purchase on Amazon, and it will be in bookstores too. It’s official release date is Monday, March 12th. You can visit author Kelsey Banfield on her blog: The Naptime Chef, on Twitter and Facebook.

Yield: 6 cups

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 50 min

Homemade Marinara Sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, with their juices
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


1. In a large saucepan or deep skillet, warm the olive oil at low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the basil.

2. Pour in the tomatoes with their juices, bring the sauce to a boil, and then add the Kosher salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 45 to 50 minutes. As the sauce thickens toward the end, stir in the balsamic vinegar. Remove the pan from heat.


*To store: cool the sauce to room temperature before storing. It will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, and it will keep in a covered freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

Source: RecipeGirl.com (re-printed with permission from The Naptime Chef cookbook)