Recipe: Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

Recipe: Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce

This recipe for Fresh Marinara Sauce has been in my Drafts folder for about a month. With Fall quickly slipping away, and fresh tomato harvests with it, I guess it’s about time I shared the recipe with you!

Fall harvest is one of my favourite times of the year. A bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables here on the coast, reminds of my youth in the Okanagan Valley.  I grew up in Kelowna BC, a community surrounded by beautiful orchards and vineyards. My parents have since moved to the South Okanagan where my dad who has always been an avid vegetable gardener has managed to fill half of the backyard with his garden beds. It beats cutting the lawn, does it dad?

These heirloom tomatoes that I picked up from my local produce store reminded me of my dad’s tomatoes and of the ingenious way he has of dealing with his sometimes overly abundant tomato crops.

Fresh Tomatoes

Dad picks, cleans and removes the stems from bunches of tomatoes.  He then puts them into a large freezer bag and pops them right into the freezer. No blanching, peeling or chopping.  Dad has found that it’s less work to peel the tomatoes after they’ve come out of the freezer.

Once the tomatoes are slightly defrosted, the peels just slide right off them. No blanching needed. Genius. Earlier this year, I used some of dad’s “freezer tomatoes” to make Marinara Sauce and it was just perfect.

So perfect in fact, mom called me a few days later to ask for the recipe. I’ve made my own versions of this sauce for years but have never written the recipe down. Just a little of this, plus a little of that, taste, add a little more of this and that. Doesn’t everyone have a few recipes made up of a little of this and that? I wasn’t even sure if my concoction was “Marinara Sauce” but after looking it up, I found my version is surprisingly close to the Marinara recipes that others have posted, so here you go Mom…finally, my recipe for Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce or should I call it Dad’s Freezer Tomato Sauce?

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Summary: A beautiful fresh tomato Marinara sauce. Perfect on Gluten Free pasta with a side of Steamed Brocollini. This recipe makes a large batch (about 5 – 6 cups). The sauce freezes well or you can easily split the recipe into smaller portions.
Gluten Free | Grain Free | Dairy Free | Egg Free | Refined Sugar Free | Real Food | Vegan | Vegetarian | Paleo
*** Always refer to packaging labels for the most up to date allergy information
  • 3 1/2 lbs farm fresh tomatoes, I used heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 small cans (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar, or white wine
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar, or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated (optional, omit for Dairy-Free & Vegan)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  1. Blanch, peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes.
  2. Process in a food processor until smooth. My 3 1/2 lbs of fresh tomatoes made 5 cups of tomato purée. Set aside.
  3. Add oil and chopped onions to a large saucepan, sauté until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sauté for about a minute, until fragrant.
  4. With heat on medium, add tomato purée and all remaining ingredients, except Parmesan cheese. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add Parmesan cheese (if using), stir, taste, adjust seasoning as needed.
  6. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow sauce to simmer for at least one hour, stirring often.
  7. Serve warm with a sprinkle of chili peppers and Parmesan cheese over GF pasta of choice or allow sauce to cool, refrigerate, reheat and serve later or, divide into serving sized portions, freeze in freezer safe containers for later use.
If you don’t have access to fresh tomatoes and herbs;
~ Use 2 large (28 oz) cans of chopped tomatoes, in place of 3 1/2 lbs of fresh.
~ Use 1 tsp dried per every Tbsp of fresh parsley and basil but keep in mind that it’s the fresh herbs that really give this sauce its wow factor.

Variations: ***Please keep in mind that making substitutions will change the final outcome.

~ GF Spaghetti with Marinara and Meatballs – prepare GF Meatballs using your favourite recipe. Cook GF Spaghetti according to package directions, drain and rinse. Serve Spaghetti topped with Meatballs smothered in Marinara sauce and shaved Parmesan cheese.
~ Marinara with Clams Sauce – add 1 can baby clams, drained and rinsed. Heat and serve over GF pasta of choice.

Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce



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Laureen Fox
Laureen is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in this Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.

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  1. Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe says:

    Your sauce sounds wonderful! Thanks for the additional information/substitutions about not having fresh tomatoes available, and thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop. I have recently started using grape seed oil and I really like it.

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