Basil Marinara, my kitchen staple [Vegan/Gluten-Free]

A simple and delicious tomato sauce that will spruce up any plate of pasta.

Not only is pasta my ultimate comfort food but making pasta sauce is a therapeutic ritual for me. Taking few hours to myself with a glass of red wine and the smell of olive oil and onions in the air is just heavenly. I remember making sauce with my dad as a little girl, we’d spend painstaking hours rolling out meatballs and crushing tomatoes with our bare hands. I don’t eat meatballs anymore but a really great marinara is a tomatoey bliss that doesn’t really require a lot of extras. My marinara recipe is great on it’s own, or with pasta, wild rice, on a pizza, on eggplant parmesan, or incorporated into a cream based sauce. I make a vegan rose sauce with this tomato sauce and cashew cream which very yummy and soon to be up online.  However you use your marinara, it’s a delicious kitchen staple for just about anyone and everyone.

Basil Marinara MTLVEG Montreal Vegetarian

The recipe will make about 2.5 litres of sauce (2 large 36 oz and 1 small 16oz mason jars full).


  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 – 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 5 cans of whole tomatoes*
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano

*The quality of tomatoes will make a big difference. Buy tomatoes that are soaked in tomato juice rather than water. The cheaper brands are cheap for a reason and their tomatoes often taste watery and plain. I typically go for pastene tomatoes which can come out to about $3.00 per can – ouch! If you want to save money, buy half of the cheaper prices and half of the choice grade tomatoes. Just don’t cheap out too much or your sauce will suffer!


  1. Pre-crush tomatoes in their juice one of two ways:
    • Pour 5 can tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with hands, keep juice from can.
    • Using a hand blender, blend each can of tomatoes (the lazy method or in my case the I have tendonitis in my hands so blender is my friend metion).
  2. Heat olive oil is a large pot over low-medium heat, add onion and cook until tender ( 5 – 10 mins).
  3. Once onions are tender, add garlic, dried basil, oregano and cook for 10 mins, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the tomatoes and fresh basil, stir throughly and raise heat slightly.
  5. Allow sauce to come to a boil then lower heat quickly to avoid burning the bottom of yours sauce.
  6. Add salt & pepper to taste and simmer sauce on medium-low heat for about 1 – 2 hours, stir often. Sauce will slowly thickens.  *The time required to cook the sauce will depend on the type of tomatoes that you use. Lower grade tomatoes are more watery which means more time on the stove. Allowing sauce to cook for longer will give better results.
  7. Once sauce reaches a thick consistency and there is no more water floating to the top, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Mason jars are the best storage method. They will last a long time in the fridge, I usually keep mine for up to a month before I run out.

And that’s all! Let me know what you think in the comment section below.