Introduction: Don't-Let-the-Tomatoes-Go-Bad Marinara Sauce

Picture of Don't-Let-the-Tomatoes-Go-Bad Marinara Sauce

It's the time of year when my counter is overflowing with tomatoes I've bought and been given by family and friends.

Last night I noticed the basket of cherry tomatoes I bought were starting to shrivel a little, so I decided to make a delicious marinara sauce to use them up. I also had a few homegrown tomatoes from my parents' garden, so I threw them in, too.

This sauce doesn't take too long to make, and it feels good to use up fresh tomatoes before they get moldy or turn into dried tomatoes (I think the acidity level of the tomato determines which way it will go).

Ingredients I used:

  • Tomatoes ( all sizes and colors — the more variety, the more interesting the flavor)
  • Olive oil
  • Red onion
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Dried rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • Salt

Step 1: Chop Tomatoes

Picture of Chop Tomatoes

Chop the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Get rid of any tough, woody parts — sometimes the part right under the stem is worth tossing.

Step 2: Simmer

Picture of Simmer

Throw the tomatoes in a saucepan on low heat. Bring them to a simmer, and then shake them in the pan or stir occasionally.

I've seen some recipes where you strain out the tomato skins and seeds. No! The skins contain a higher concentration of the carotenoids and flavenols, and those are good for you. Besides, you're not a baby that needs puréed food (probably). So leave the skins in.

Step 3: Chop Onion and Garlic

Picture of Chop Onion and Garlic

Finely chop an onion and some garlic. I used a small red onion and about 12 cloves of garlic, because... well, I don't have to defend my garlic choices. That's what I did.

Step 4: Sauté Onion and Garlic

Picture of Sauté Onion and Garlic

Turn the heat on medium-low under a small saucepan. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat for a few seconds, and then add the chopped onion. Sauté for about a minute, then add the garlic.

Cook for a couple minutes, until the onion starts to look slightly translucent. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, your tomatoes should still be simmering. Take a whiff. They smell so good!

Step 5: Add Basil and Combine

Picture of Add Basil and Combine

Get a few leaves of basil, scrunch them together, and slice into thin strips.

Add the basil and the onion-garlic mixture to the tomatoes and combine. Mmm, it's starting to look and smell really tasty.

Step 6: Add Herbs and Seasonings and Let Simmer

Picture of Add Herbs and Seasonings and Let Simmer

Now it's time to add herbs. I used rosemary, sage, and thyme. I ended up adding more than what is shown here, because I like strong-flavored sauce. Add salt at this point, too.

Taste it periodically and make additions as you see fit. Remember: you can always add a little more, but you can't take it out once it's mixed in, so just add a little at a time.

Altogether, I'd say I simmered the sauce for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 7: Bon Appétit!

Picture of Bon Appétit!

Now it's business time. What do you want to put your sauce on? French bread pizza? Polenta? I didn't do anything fancy, I just had it on some spaghetti. (I actually prefer angel hair pasta, but I didn't have any.)

I topped it with some pre-grated Parmesan and Romano cheese dust, and it was delicious.


skatingduck24 (author)2016-03-30

Thanks ! Im gonna try this out

19kevers (author)2015-12-20


DLopez1949 (author)2015-11-11

Another delicious add in stuffed green olives...Spanish style makes it really good. Use with bread or pasta.

DLopez1949 (author)2015-11-11

Actually I am still simmering my sauce as I write the comment. It is very delicious. I added carrots, fresh basil and dried basil, and oregano. I only used one onion and a lot of garlic. I am keeping it vegetarian by not adding meat.

DLopez1949 (author)DLopez19492015-11-11

me again. I do have a picture of it simmering, but I am not sure of how to post the image.

animeguard (author)2015-06-02

yummmy , just look at it make me hungry

Wired_Mist (author)2015-02-01

Gota love home made pasta sauce :D

I've allways used Roasted Garlic too, any other Veg you like to add in?

xxlauraxx (author)Wired_Mist2015-03-08

It could be good to add capers to the mix. That would add a dash of vinegar flavor that I sometimes crave.

Luv2cook74 (author)2015-01-02

yum, I must try this, love tomatoes and herbs and pasta together, it's good to have a meatless dish once in a while :)

Luv2cook74 made it! (author)2014-12-08

I added leftover veges from previous night and made my own pasta and it was delish.

xxlauraxx (author)Luv2cook742014-12-08

You made your own pasta? That's awesome. This looks delicious, thank you for sharing your photo.

Luv2cook74 (author)xxlauraxx2014-12-14

thanku for replying to my post, yeah, my pumpkin pasta is now on the menu in my household and it's quick and simple to make it. I just thought it'll be fun to put a vegetable in my pasta and pumpkin looks like semolina flour, which I'm allergic to semolina flour, so I used plain flour and added cooked/mashed pumpkin and it's delish. And I can't have eggs so this is vegan pasta.

gamerguy13 made it! (author)2014-10-12

Here it is. I left it a little bit chunkier than you because I like the texture.

xxlauraxx (author)gamerguy132014-11-01

Dang, that looks really tasty! Nice work.

I tried making this again the other day, but I used a bunch of different veggies (like bell pepper, broccoli, and zucchini) and I didn't have as many tomatoes. It was good, but the ratio of tomatoes to veggies was off. It was more like a vegetable sauce. Simple is best.

gamerguy13 (author)xxlauraxx2014-11-01

Thank you. The veggie sauce sounds tasty as well. I made it again last week with some bigger red tomatoes. This picture I made with cherry tomatoes and they were a little too sweet for my taste. I bought some discounted second pick tomatoes at a nearby farmer's market and simply cut away the nasty bits. They made the best sauce I've ever made at home!

gamerguy13 (author)2014-10-12

Just made some last night for dinner. It was excellent, except I didn't have any fresh herbs to put in. Either way it still was great, thanks for the simple recipe. Might have to make more tonight.

miketibery2324 (author)2014-10-07

wow this looks soo nice im hungry ahahaa

xxlauraxx (author)miketibery23242014-10-07

Thanks! It's delicious — and good for you! If you make it yourself, post a photo of the finished meal here in the comments.

keebmn82 (author)2014-09-24

Wish ya would've posted a few days earlier. Turned mine into salsa. Looks Tasty!!

bizzycrafter (author)2014-09-23

This is a GREAT 'don't let stuff go bad' recipe. Quick, simple, and it looks delicious!! How did you manage to not include any zucchini??

xxlauraxx (author)bizzycrafter2014-09-24

Zucchini — I didn't have any! But that would have been a nice addition.

Thanks for the kind words. :)

rileywilkinson (author)2014-09-23

Sounds perfect, Miss Laura!

Yum, this looks so good! And I like that you included info about the healthy parts :)

tinaciousz (author)2014-09-23

Love the selfie at the end :)

seamster (author)2014-09-22

Nice job. Thanks for sharing this!

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