30-Minute Fresh Tomato Marinara

Delicious restaurant-quality marinara sauce made from fresh tomatoes, and done in 30 minutes. Made with just 4 ingredients (plus salt).
Course basics, condiments, sauces
Cuisine gluten-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian
Keyword 30-minute marinara, fresh tomato marinara
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Total Yield 4 cups
Calories Per Serving 80 kcal
Author Yup, it's Vegan


  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 4.5 lb fresh tomatoes stem pieces removed (72 oz./2040 g.) (any variety; see notes)
  • 1 large sprig fresh basil
  • 3/4 tsp salt scant (or to taste)


  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to a food processor. (Don't worry about peeling or seeding them). Pulse the food processor until the tomatoes are broken down into a salsa-like texture (very small chunks). If you want your sauce to be completely smooth, rather than a bit chunky, see my tips in the recipe notes.
  2. In the widest pan you have (avoid using a saucepan; see notes), warm the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for about 60 seconds, just until it becomes fragrant and sizzles a little bit.
  4. Add the chopped tomato mixture and a generous pinch of salt; stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce to a steady simmer. Do not cover.
  5. Take a sharp knife to score the stem of the basil sprig in a few places, without cutting all the way through. Place the basil sprig on top of the sauce and press it down.
  6. Continue cooking the sauce uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 more minutes, or until thickened to your desired texture. You may notice that the marinara sauce looks pink at first, then eventually turns a brighter reddish orange as the tomatoes cook. Some of the oil will start to separate to the top. Cooking time will vary depending on the variety of tomatoes used, and will be longer if you don't use a shallow, wide pan.
  7. Season the sauce to taste with additional salt. Leftovers, once cooled, can be stored in the refrigerator in a glass container for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

You can use any variety of tomatoes that you like, as long as they're red. Smaller tomatoes will generally result in a sweeter sauce.

A regular width pan will result in a longer cooking time, because there is not as much surface area for the excess liquid to evaporate. Using a saucepan with tall edges will cause steam to be trapped longer around the surface of the sauce and thus also increase the cooking time. In both cases, the sauce will still taste great but will not have quite as pronounced of a fresh tomato flavor as they continue to cook.

For a completely smooth marinara sauce, I recommend either: (a) peeling the tomatoes and then pureeing the food processor mixture thoroughly, or (b) using a high-powered blender to finely pulverize and puree the skins and flesh of the tomatoes; this may require stopping a few times to scrape down the sides.

Sorry, I don't know whether this recipe is safe for canning!

Nutrition Facts
30-Minute Fresh Tomato Marinara
Amount Per Serving (1 half cup)
Calories 80 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Sodium 225mg 9%
Potassium 606mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 7g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 42%
Vitamin C 57%
Calcium 2%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.