Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

What to do with all those summer garden tomatoes? Make a fresh tomato marinara sauce from those fresh cherry or heirloom tomatoes! Dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes!

white bowl of ziti pasta on a white plate with some tomato sauce and a fork

Ever found yourself strolling through a summer farmer’s market and before you knew it were loading the car with a basket full of garden fresh tomatoes? Or maybe you’re blessed with a green thumb and are able to coax vegetables straight from the garden. My grandmas both benefited from amazing gardens and made glorious from scratch tomato sauce. And now it’s your turn with this amazing fresh tomato marinara sauce!

You’ll be dipping it in my Italian Focaccia Recipe in no time!

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Why this recipe

fresh garden tomato on a white background with loose basil leaves and more tomatoes in a white basket

Three words:

  • Fresh. Summer garden tomatoes are perfect for this sauce recipe because it showcases their amazing flavor.
  • Easy. Made in one pan, this tomato sauce is perfect for those weekdays when the days are long and you don’t want to be stuck washing a sink full of dishes.
  • Fast. If dinner in thirty minutes sounds good to you, then keep reading. You’ll be eating in no time!

As soon as you peel the tomatoes…in 30 seconds.

How to peel a tomato

steps showing how to core and peel a tomato

Peeling a tomato sounds intimidating but is actually one of the easiest parts of this already easy recipe. And you’ll learn a new party trick to share with your friends!

  1. Core the tomato removing the center core. Gently squeeze the tomato to remove the seeds [1].
  2. Make an “X” at the cored end of the tomato.
  3. Drop into rapidly boiling water for 30 seconds tops.
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate [2].
  5. Once cool to the touch, peel the tomato from the top down [3].

TOMATO TIP

After peeling, gently squeeze the tomato to extract the seeds.

-Josie + Nina

Choosing a ripe tomato

Practically any fresh ripe tomato can be used to make marinara sauce. Look for a firm, smooth-skinned tomato with bright red color. Heirloom tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and big garden tomatoes make a beautiful homemade marinara sauce.

You also can even use a canned tomato to make this sauce.

I won’t tell.

What you’ll need

white basket of tomatoes, onions and fresh basil with some garlic on a white background

At the very least, you’ll need:

  • tomatoes
  • garlic
  • onion
  • fresh basil

You can certainly add other veggies if you like. See my FAQ’s below for more ideas!

Step-by-step instructions

three pots of sauteed onions, tomatoes and homemade marinara sauce

Take your already peeled tomatoes [see above] and roughly dice them into a medium chop.

Btw, get some pasta water boiling if you’re planning on eating this tonight!

  • Saute some onion in a little olive oil and once the onion is nice and golden add some garlic and saute until you can smell it [about 30 seconds or so].
  • Add the tomatoes along with some julienned basil and salt and pepper then reduce the heat to simmer the sauce for thirty minutes.

Guess what?

Sauce is done!

Tips for success

white bowl of ziti pasta with some fresh tomato sauce in front of a window

I love sharing ideas to help you successfully make this recipe right from the start.

  • This tomato sauce is great for very ripe tomatoes as long as they aren’t musty or showing signs of mold.
  • Feel free to add any kinds of other vegetables you like. Zucchini, eggplant or spinach would be great additions.
  • Sprinkle in a little crushed red pepper while sauteing the onion for a touch of zingy heat.

Storage, reheating and freezing

white bowl of ziti pasta with some fresh marinara sauce and a fork in front of a window

Make ahead

This easy marinara sauce can be made ahead and used within three days.

Storing

Store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag until you’re ready to use.

Freezing

Absolutely! I have recently learned about these awesome freezer storage containers called Souper Cubes from my friend Michele at Cup of Zest [be sure to check out her ah-ma-zing cocktail creations!!]. I love the idea that you can pop out just the amount of this quick marinara sauce that you need.

Reheating

To reheat from frozen. Allow to come to room temperature either in the fridge overnight or on the counter for an hour or so.

Thawed sauce. Once thawed or at room temp, reheat in a saucepan on the stove over simmering heat until hot. Or heat in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 second increments until warm.


Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


white bowl of ziti pasta with some fresh marinara sauce and a fork in front of a window
5 from 8 votes

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

What to do with all those summer garden tomatoes? Make a fresh tomato marinara sauce from those fresh cherry or heirloom tomatoes! Dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes!
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
 

Instructions

To core the tomatoes

  • Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil.
  • Core the tomato removing the center core with a small knife or tomato corer (I got mine from Pampered Chef a while ago).
  • Gently squeeze the cored tomato to remove the seeds.
  • Make an "X" at the cored end of the tomato with a sharp knife and drop the tomato into the pot of boiling water for 30 seconds tops.Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Once cool to the touch, peel the tomato from the top down.

For the sauce

  • Take your already peeled tomatoes [see above] and roughly dice them into a medium chop.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and once heated, saute the chopped onion. Once the onion is nice and golden (about 3-5 minutes), add the chopped garlic and saute until you can smell it [about 30 seconds or so].
  • Add the diced tomatoes along with the basil, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to simmer the sauce for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mangia!

Notes

Make ahead. This easy marinara sauce can be made ahead and used within three days.
Storing. Store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag until you’re ready to use.
Freezing. Freeze in a ziploc bag or airtight container for up to three months.
Reheat Instructions:
To reheat from frozen. Allow to come to room temperature either in the fridge overnight or on the counter for an hour or so.
Thawed sauce. Once thawed or at room temp, reheat in a saucepan on the stove over simmering heat until hot. Or heat in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 second increments until warm.
Course: Dinner, First Course, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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8 Comments

  1. Easy, quick, delicious! Peeling tomatoes was simple. I added a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and dried Italian seasoning, then fresh basil at the end, and a little tomato paste for thickening. Lovely fresh taste!5 stars

  2. Lori,
    This is the best marinara we’ve ever had! Really! It’s so fresh and flavorful + easy. I had tomatoes on the vine and also “little wonders”. The vine tomatoes were really easy to peel. The little guys weren’t easy, so after about 10 of them, I said “how bad can a little skin hurt us?” My husband had 3 helpings – definitely a first. Thank you so much for your inspiration and recipes.. ❤️❤️5 stars

    1. Wow Linda! Thank you so much! I pretty much use what I have for sure…and you are so right about the skins…they won’t hurt you. Love that your husband enjoyed it! It is beyond easy..have some in the freezer right now myself. And I so appreciate your taking the time to rate and review the sauce 😊