A healthy and easy 6 ingredient pasta sauce that you can make in less than forty minutes!
Laundry. Never over.
Weather in Chicago. Cold. I’m SO over it.
After four glorious days in sunny and warm Key West, Florida, I’m back home snuggled up with my little dogs and my computer. I missed my dogs, but I didn’t miss my computer. I needed to recharge more than I realized. Once I felt that soft salt air all of my good intentions of working a few hours a day blew away with the remnants of the cold rain that I left behind in Chi town.
And just like that I’m back in the frigid North, wrapped up in a blanket and craving a steaming plate of pasta with my healthy and easy six ingredient homemade marinara sauce.
This is a recipe that I started making when I was in my twenties and realized that pasta sauce that came in a jar wasn’t filled with simple ingredients that were good for you. They had a ton of oil, salt, sugar, and preservatives, and over the long term, that wasn’t going to do if I wanted to stay healthy. So I started making my own sauce, and it was so easy.
You can make this fresh vegan pasta sauce with basil in less than 40 minutes. What else are you going to do while you wait for the pasta water to boil?
What you’ll need to make homemade six ingredient pasta sauce
You can also add sea salt, black pepper, sugar, red wine, and pepper flakes like I do, but all of those are optional. Just know, if you do skip them, the sauce won’t taste exactly like I make it, but it will still be delicious.
Once you gather the ingredients together, mince the garlic first and let it sit for ten minutes while you prepare everything else. This releases the health-promoting alliicin that can only be created by chopping or mincing. Check this out to learn more.
While the garlic is becoming healthier by the minute, finely chop the onion and heat the olive oil or some water in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add a piece of onion to the pan, if it passes the sizzle test add the rest of the onion and stir to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook it until it’s translucent, then add the garlic and stir it around for a minute or two. Don’t let it brown or it will turn bitter and it will lose its alliicin.
Now you’re ready to add the chopped tomatoes. I like to use Pomi brand because it comes in a box and it just tastes fresher to me, and, you don’t need to worry about BPA.
Stir the tomatoes, onion, and garlic together until they’re combined then add the salt, pepper, sugar, water, wine, and red pepper flakes. Of course, many of the ingredients are optional. If you don’t have wine, you could use a little balsamic vinegar. If you’re watching your salt intake, reduce it or skip it. The same goes for the sugar, pepper and red pepper flakes. Make this your own.
To get the freshest flavor from the chopped basil, stir it into the sauce a few minutes before serving.
My kids grew up on this sauce and they love it, and their friends love it too. When my daughter went away to college and got her first apartment she made it for her friends, and they loved it. Even better, some of the neighborhood kids who used to ask if they could eat dinner with us when they smelled the sauce cooking emailed me for the recipe once they were on their own. It’s so easy and delicious. And let’s not forget, it’s a heck of a lot better for you than the crappy jarred stuff.
If you don’t eat it all you can store it in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to two months. If you want to make a huge batch and save some for later just double the recipe.
For similar recipes click on the photos below.
Have you ever been to Key West? Did you love it?
Where’s your favorite vacation spot?
Did you grow up on jarred sauce like I did?
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Healthy and Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce
- Sauce pan
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil you can use a few tablespoons of water if you don’t cook with oil
- 1 medium white or yellow onion – remove the skin and finely chop
- 2 cloves of garlic- peeled and minced
- 26 ounces container of chopped tomatoes or 8 to 10 medium tomatoes - cored and finely chopped
- ½ cup of water
- ¼ cup of red wine or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of ground sea salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves – coarsely chopped
- Note: You can also add sea salt, black pepper, sugar, red wine, and pepper flakes like I do, but all of those are optional. Just know, if you do skip them, the sauce won’t taste exactly like I make it, but it will still be delicious. You can replace the wine with balsamic vinegar if you don't drink alcohol.
- Heat the olive oil or water on medium heat in a large sauce pan. When the oil is hot (add a piece of onion, if it sizzles it’s ready) add the onion and stir them well to coat with the oil. Cook for about five minutes or until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic and stir well. Cook for one to two minutes. Don’t overcook or it will turn bitter.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, water, wine, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir until everything is evenly combined. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. It should be boiling lightly. Simmer for twenty to twenty-five minutes and stir frequently. Be careful not to scorch the bottom of the pan. If the sauce cooks too quickly and becomes too thick, add ¼ of a cup of water to thin it out and turn the heat down even more.
- A few minutes before serving add the chopped basil and stir it into the sauce well.
- Use fresh or canned tomatoes.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as you see fit.
- Omit the pepper flakes if you're not a fan of spicy.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or heat on low heat until warmed through.