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The Best Homemade Marinara Sauce {Naturally Sweetened-No meat}

This is hands down my favorite marinara sauce it's adapted from my mom's that she is famous for. If you have followed my recipes before you know I have when jarred sauce is full of added sugar. Instead this recipes makes use of the natural sweetness in carrots which perfectly balance the acidity in the sauce.

One of my favorite tricks my mom actually taught me through her chili recipe (another famous one) is to add the dry spices early and the fresh spices lately. I toast the spices in the oil with the fresh veggies before adding in the tomatoes. This enhances their flavor and will have your kitchen smelly HEAVENLY real fast.

A huge batch of marinara is a stockpiled must for me. I always have a few freezer bags of it on hand to pull out at the drop of the hat. There's no meat, dairy, gluten or crazy ingredients so it's the perfect counterpart to any dish for any guest.

It's delicious on our Healthy Chicken Parmesan over spaghetti or spooned over our Chicken Parm Sandwich with Zoodles. Swirl some around on our Greek Yogurt Pizza Crust for delicious pizza or make a crowd favorite, meatball subs!

A few of my unconventional favorite ways to use my marinara sauce is as a dipping sauce for our Air Fried Arancini or our Low Carb Calzones.

But to me, the most classic way to enjoy our marinara is alongside spaghetti and homemade meatballs.

There's only one problem with learning to make your own homemade sauce... you'll never want store-bought again.

So if you're ready to become a sauce snob and be known among your friends for making "the best sauce", scroll down because all it takes is a few simple ingredients.

The Best Homemade Marinara Sauce

9 cups or 18 servings


  • 2 28oz cans and 1 15oz can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 large onion (~100g)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (or 1/2 tsp dried basil and 1/2 tsp dried oregano)

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 tbsp carrots, grated (~25g)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Optional: fresh basil and/or parsley, roughly chopped


  1. In a large heavy bottomed sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Sauté onions and carrots for 3-4 min in olive oil until they begin to soften.

  3. Add all of the spices and garlic to the pot. Stir to combine and sauté another 1-2 minutes.

  4. Pour in crushed tomatoes. Use 1/4 water to get all of the crushed tomatoes out of the cans and add to the pot.

  5. Stir to combine. Toss in the bay leaf (whole). Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for at least 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Right before removing to heat, stir in optional fresh herbs. Season was additional salt and pepper as needed. Remove bay leaf or leave in and just avoid in serving.

  7. Serve hot with your favorite Italian meal. Some of my favorites are meatballs, chicken parmesan or our air fried arancini.


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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.


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Nutrition Facts
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