Pasta, pasta, pasta! Who doesn’t love pasta? Strangely enough, pasta has been the glue that holds my family together. And no we aren’t Italian. You see, I’ve been a veggie since I was 15 years old and my husband has been a meat eater (aka not a veggie eater) since he was born. As you would expect, dinners are difficult. But pasta is a meal we both enjoy because we can both eat it our own “special” way. He can add his meatballs and I can add my veggies. We tend to have pasta at least once a week and today is that day.

This is my first time making pasta as a vegan, and when I checked the label on our go-to sauce, Ragu, I found out that it has added cheese, sugar and salt. So my challenge today is to make a sauce that we can both enjoy. Did I mention that he likes really smooth sauce with no tomato chunks, and I like chunky sauce with lots of veggies? No? Yeah, now you see the depth of my sauce issues.

While researching vegan sauce recipes I came across a sauce made from fresh tomatoes and then another made with canned tomatoes. I want to try both, but I decided to start with the fresh tomato recipe. I love the challenge of taking whole tomatoes, which my husband hates, and making it into a smooth and silky sauce he loves! Game on!

Authentic tomato marinara sauce from fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic.

Author: Wellness Mama   Recipe type: Sauce   Cuisine: Italian   Serves: 6-8


  • 5 pounds of fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded (to peel, cut a small “x” on the top and drop in to boiling water for 10 seconds and drop in to an ice bath. Skin will easily peel off) I only had 3 lbs so I altered the other ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or tallow) I didn’t use oil, 
  • 3 medium onions, diced I used 2
  • 8 cloves of fresh garlic (or more to taste), finely minced I used 5 but could have used more
  • cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped I used all of this, can’t have too much fresh basil
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme leaves (or ½ tsp dried) So I used a sprig but I stripped the leaves and chopped, because I didn’t read the instructions 🙂
  • 1 sprig of fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano) Same as above
  • 2 bay leaves (remove when done)
  • 2 sprigs of parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 carrot (1/2 should be grated and added to sauce, the other half should be added at the end of cooking and then removed)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon honey I didn’t use honey
  • Mushrooms – I added mushrooms to the sauce because I like to put stuff in my sauce that my husband wouldn’t normally eat. Shhhhhhh
  • Tomato Paste I added half a can at the end because it looked a little lacking in the red color.


  1. Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat. Skip this, because the veggies have enough liquid in them to saute.
  2. Add diced onions, garlic and grated carrots.
  3. Saute for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and tender.
  4. Add tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley and sea salt.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken.
  6. Add carrot piece for the last 30 minutes to absorb acidity.
  7. Remove sprigs of herbs and piece of carrot.
  8. Optional: Use an immersion blender to puree sauce until smooth (for a thicker sauce, skip this step.) I put it all in my blender and made it super-duper smooth, just how my hubs likes it.
  9. Use fresh or store in the fridge up to 1 week, or can it according to your canner’s instructions for tomato products. I actually froze the rest in plastic bags.
  10. I also used pasta that was quinoa and golden flax seed to bump up the protein a little.

So hubs ate it (with meatballs) and of course he liked it! He said it wasn’t a very strong flavor, but he liked it! Unfortunately, I have a bad cold and tasting food isn’t on my “can do” list.

Update: I did defrost some and had it with pasta and lentils and I have to say, it was DELISH!! I think the longer it sits the more the flavor melds together. Oh and I can taste again!