Easy Homemade Oil-Free Marinara Sauce Recipe by Joyful Balance

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Hello, my chickpeas! I have always believed that a good sauce is the most important component of a meal, and marinara sauce is no exception! There are lots of pre-made marinara sauces available at the store, but sometimes when I want to make a meal just a little more special and dressed up, I love to make my own. That’s where my Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce comes in!

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe by Joyful Balance: Vegan, WFPB, and Oil Free

This delicious sauce elevates your pasta or pizza to the next level, and it’s easy to make! It’s even oil-free, and of course vegan. Let’s get into it!

Inspiration for Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Easy Vegan Homemade Marinara Sauce with basil

You may have noticed by now that I’m a big pasta fan. I often joke that I was raised on pasta and Tex Mex as my main food groups, and that is honestly pretty accurate! Pasta is one of my main comfort foods since it was a staple in my house growing up, and nothing says comfort like a delicious marinara sauce to go with it! Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a store-bought marinara sauce if that’s what works for you. But once I started playing with making my own at home, it quickly became my favorite option. Now it’s my go-to for simple but delicious pasta nights, and I also enjoy using it on pizza!

When I decided to play with this recipe so that I could post it to the blog, I had a few things I was specifically going for. First, I wanted to include some delicious sautéd onion for some extra veg, freshness, and flavor. Second, I wanted it to be oil-free (which is hard to find in store-bought options!). And third, I wanted it to be relatively quick & easy. This recipe checks all of those boxes and I think you will be pleased with it!


Easy Homemade Plant-Based Marinara Sauce with basil and vegan parmesan

This one has a pretty short and sweet ingredient list. Let’s take a look at what we are working with today.

  • Onion & garlic: these will be sautéd and provide a pop of fresh flavor. I tried testing this one once with onion powder and garlic powder rather than the fresh options, and it would do in a pinch, but the freshness of these ingredients really can’t be beat!
  • Crushed tomatoes: after trying this recipe with a number of different canned tomato options, I decided that crushed were the best consistency! It’s just the right level of chunky but not too chunky.
  • Dried oregano and basil: these flavors are very necessary for a good marinara sauce!
  • Tomato paste: this is going to add just a bit more depth and richness to our sauce.
  • Maple syrup: we want to find a good balance of savory with just a bit of sweetness, and that sweetness will come from our maple syrup!

How to Make Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce with spaghetti and vegan parmesan

You guys know the drill: check out the full recipe below for the details. But here are the basics:

  1. Sauté onion
  2. Add garlic, sauté a bit longer
  3. Add all other ingredients and bring to a simmer
  4. Reduce the heat and cook for a few minutes
  5. Add salt to taste
  6. Enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce with pasta and basil

Have fun fitting this one to your preferences if desired! Here are some ideas of other twists you can put on this Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce:

  • Out of dried oregano & basil? I’ve also used a blended Italian seasoning before and it will work in place of these if needed!
  • Do you like your marinara sauce super smooth? Substitute the crushed tomatoes for plain tomato sauce instead if you want a smoother texture.
  • Wanting some extra veggies thrown into the mix? Add whatever veggies you’d like when you sauté the onions! Bell peppers or zucchini could also be a fun addition.
  • If adding this Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce to pasta, feel free to add just a couple tablespoons of pasta water to the marinara sauce right before combining the sauce with the pasta. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does help the sauce stick to your pasta a bit better.
  • This recipe makes a pretty big batch, so get creative with how you use it throughout the next few days! Try it on simple pasta or pizza, use it as a sauce on roasted or air fried veggies, or even use it on a sandwich! It would also be delicious as a dip for a vegan grilled cheese, or on some Crispy Potato Gnocchi.
  • If you’re a big pasta fan, be sure to check out my Taco Pasta and my Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms next!


Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Recipe by Delaney Romero – Joyful BalanceCourse: SauceCuisine: Italian
Servings (on pasta)


From Start to Finish



This Homemade Marinara Sauce is the perfect balance of mostly-savory but also a little bit sweet! It’s simple to make and will really elevate your meal. Great on pastas, pizzas, roasted veggies, or even sandwiches! Enjoy!

*Note that “From Start to Finish” includes a few minutes to prepare your ingredients (mostly dicing onion and mincing garlic), and then about 25 minutes to complete the recipe directions.


  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano

  • 1 Tbsp dried basil

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

  • Salt, to taste


  • Bring a medium nonstick pot to medium-high heat on the stovetop. Add just a bit of water to prevent sticking, and add your onion. Allow to sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add garlic to the pot and continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes, until garlic is very fragrant.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, tomato paste, and maple syrup to the pot. Stir to combine. Lower slightly to medium heat, partially cover with a lid, and bring to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, continue to cook at this temperature for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the temperature to low and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Serve as you wish and enjoy!

Happy cooking! If you made this recipe don’t forget to tag me (@joyfulbalanceofficial) on facebook or instagram so I can cheer you on for your sauce-making ways.

Stay joyfully balanced!

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  1. Pingback: Roasted Veggie Pasta Sauce (Sheet Pan Sauce) Joyful Balance

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