Vegan Marinara Sauce

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This vegan marinara sauce is a delicious tomato sauce using farm fresh tomatoes. Try this gluten free recipe when tomatoes are in season!

This fresh marinara sauce is a delicious tomato sauce using farm fresh tomatoes. Try this recipe when tomatoes are in season!

I have a complicated relationship with tomatoes.

For the first 20 years of my life, I wouldn’t go near a tomato. I couldn’t stand them. I wouldn’t eat anything derived from tomatoes. I was “that kid” who refused to eat pizza.

Then in college, I finally overcame my aversion to pizza, and I’ve embraced tomatoes ever since.

Tomatoes fresh off the vine are perfection, and the grocery store version just doesn’t compare. When I get a big batch of tomatoes from my farm share, one of my favorite things to make is fresh marinara sauce.

Vegan Marinara Sauce Tips

This vegan marinara sauce is so easy to make, and the flavor is incredible. It can be served with pasta, on pizza, or as a dip.

For the best texture, it’s important to peel the tomatoes before making this sauce. To do this, place the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer them to a large bowl of ice water. The skin should come off easily.

peeling tomatoes

This vegan marinara sauce tastes best if you can give it a few hours to simmer on the stovetop. If you’re pressed for time, you can turn the heat up a bit higher and shorten the cook time as needed.

This sauce freezes well, so you can stash some of it for a cold winter night.

Vegan Marinara Sauce

This fresh marinara sauce is so delicious and easy to make.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time:2 hours 20 minutes

Recommended Equipment


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves small garlic minced
  • 8 lbs tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil (no need to chop)
  • 2 tbs pure maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper optional


  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer them to a large bowl of ice water. (You may need to do this in 2 batches.)
  • Remove the skin from the tomatoes. Cut off the cores and remove the seeds. You can do this by scraping the seeds out with your finger, and it’s okay if you don’t get them all. (I use food-prep gloves to protect my sensitive hands.)
  • In a large pot, cook the garlic in the olive oil over low heat for a few minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over medium low heat for about 2 hours, or until it reaches the consistency you like. You can turn the heat up a bit if you don’t have 2 hours.
  • Remove the basil stalks and leaves, and serve warm.

Approximate Nutrition Info

Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 860mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3030IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 10
Calories: 104kcal
Cost: $1.28 per serving

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Price Breakdown

The cost of this recipe will vary according to the cost of your tomatoes. With tomatoes from my farm share costing $1.50 per pound, this recipe costs a total of $12.82 ($12 worth of tomatoes). It yields 5 cups of marinara sauce, or 10 half-cup servings costing $1.28 each.  If you grow your own tomatoes, this price comes way down because the cost of everything other than the tomatoes is $.82. Homemade vegan marinara sauce has a delicious flavor that can’t be found in a jar, so it’s well worth the effort.


  1. I tried this recipe, and it burned on the bottom. It’s definitely me because it happens with other sauces, and since I have the opportunity for troubleshooting, I’ll take it. It needs to cook uncovered, yes? Should I stir more at the beginning? The other factor is I’m using stainless steel, so maybe I should cook at a lower temperature?

    1. I’m sorry to hear that it burned. I simmer this sauce uncovered so it will thicken. A simmer should just be slightly bubbling, so I’m guessing you had the heat up a bit too high. Stainless steel should work fine, so just try it at low heat (getting just a little bubble) next time. Good luck!

  2. Annemarie,
    I’ve always been OK with tomato sauce, but it took a food writer at the Washington Post, writing about the summer tomato sandwich, that got me to try that bite of heaven on earth.

    This looks wonderful–I’ve canned 20 qts of crushed tomatoes, and my tomato plants are mocking me with their continual bounty. Time to move on to other tomato preparations.


    1. Kirsten, it sounds like you’ve got quite a tomato collection! It’s great that your plants are still producing so well. Enjoy!

  3. LOL, AM your story is almost exactly my experience too (minus Domino’s being my tipping point). Hated tomatoes and anything to do with them. Now as an adult, with a garden, I’m eating tomatoes – straight, several times a day. Plus salsa, diced tomatoes in all my sauce, anything tomatoes I love. Oh those cherry tomatoes that are orange; earth’s freakin candy to me!!

    Thanks for the post. Our last patch of tomatoes need to be processed and I was hoping for a spaghetti sauce inspiration.

    1. Thanks, Atiera! I’m glad I’m not the only one with a crazy tomato history. I love the sun gold cherry tomatoes too.

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