Marinara sauce is a key ingredient in a number of beloved dishes. While many of us are accustomed to buying it in canned or bottled form at the supermarket, it’s really very quick and easy to just make it yourself at home! There are a number of reasons why it may be better to make your own marinara – here are just a few:
- Control over ingredients: When making the sauce at home, you have complete control over the quality and quantity of the ingredients. You can avoid artificial additives, preservatives, and excessive amounts of salt and sugar that are often found in store-bought sauces.
- Freshness and flavor: Homemade marinara sauce offers a fresher and more vibrant taste compared to store-bought options, which are often mass-produced and may have been sitting on store shelves for a while.
- Customization: You can adjust the flavors of your homemade sauce to suit your preferences. Whether you like it spicier, less sweet, or with specific herbs and seasonings, you have the freedom to tailor the sauce to your liking.
- Health-conscious choices: Making your marinara sauce at home allows you to make conscious decisions about the type and quality of ingredients you use, making it easier to create a heart-healthy version that aligns with your dietary needs and goals.
Here’s a simple and delicious recipe for homemade marinara sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for some heat)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, to balance the acidity)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil leaves, chopped (for garnish, optional)
- In a large saucepan or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened and translucent.
- Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to the pot, along with the tomato paste. Stir well to combine.
- Add the dried oregano, basil, thyme, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the sauce. Stir everything together.
- If you prefer a slightly sweeter sauce, you can add a teaspoon of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. However, this is optional and depends on your taste.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper to your liking. Remember that the flavors will intensify as the sauce simmers.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. You can simmer it for up to an hour for even deeper flavors.
- Once the sauce has simmered to your desired consistency and flavor, taste it again and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the sauce until smooth.
- Serve the homemade marinara sauce over your favorite pasta, use it as a pizza sauce, or as a dipping sauce for breadsticks. Garnish with chopped fresh basil, if desired.
Enjoy your flavorful and hearty homemade marinara sauce! You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze it for later use.
This marinara sauce recipe can be considered heart-healthy for several reasons:
- Limited unhealthy fats: The recipe calls for olive oil, which is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats that can help improve heart health by reducing bad cholesterol levels (LDL cholesterol) in the blood.
- No added sugars: While there is an optional teaspoon of sugar to balance acidity, you have the choice to omit it or adjust the amount according to your taste. Store-bought sauces often contain added sugars, which can contribute to unhealthy weight gain and negatively impact heart health.
- Nutrient-dense ingredients: The sauce is made with whole, unprocessed ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and garlic, which are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients can support overall health, including heart health.
- Lower sodium content: By making the sauce at home, you have better control over the amount of salt used, which can help reduce sodium intake. Excessive sodium consumption can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.
- Heart-friendly herbs and spices: The use of herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme not only enhances the flavor but also provides additional health benefits. Many herbs and spices have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can support heart health.
Overall, opting for this homemade marinara sauce recipe can be a heart-healthy choice due to its nutrient-dense ingredients, limited unhealthy additives, and control over sodium and sugar content. Plus, it offers a delicious and customizable flavor that can enhance your meals while supporting your cardiovascular health. Elevate your pasta dishes or use it as a pizza sauce, knowing you’re making a health-conscious choice that supports your cardiovascular well-being. Go ahead and try it, and let us know in the comments how it goes!