5 Minute Basil Marinara Sauce


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5 Minute Basil Marinara Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

Fresh and fragrant basil straight from our garden was the inspiration for this marinara sauce. We have an abundance of this herb coming up in the garden right now and I snipped handfuls of leaves while I was harvesting squash.

The aroma of fresh basil was so enticing that I couldn’t resist whipping up a simple marinara sauce to serve over brown rice pasta and simple sauteed zucchini for our lunch. This was such a hit with my kids, there isn’t a bite of noodle or zucchini left in the house.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

If you’ve never made your own marinara sauce, you’re in for a treat. With just five minutes and hardly any effort, you can transform a humdrum pasta dish into an exciting flavorful meal.

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Homemade pasta sauce has tons more flavor than the jarred stuff but most of us just don’t have the time to chop, prep and simmer fresh tomato sauce into a marinara sauce. This recipe uses canned crushed tomatoes to make it a breeze to whip up a homemade marinara sauce in moment’s notice.

How to Make Marinara Sauce

Five minute marinara sauce begins by lightly sauteing garlic and basil in a generous portion of extra virgin olive oil until fragrant. I also love to use a touch of crushed red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper to give the sauce a tiny bit of extra “zing.” 

Crushed tomatoes are added to the garlic, basil, and olive oil and simmered until all the flavors come together. Once cooked, this sauce is ready to serve right away.

We’re fortunate to have plenty of home grown basil available right in our garden. You definitely don’t have to grow it yourself but you do want to use FRESH basil in this recipe. The dried stuff just won’t taste the same!

This homemade marinara sauce recipe also freezes wonderfully. Consider doubling or tripling the quantities of each ingredient so you have plenty on hand for leftovers.

Storing the sauce in freezer safe bags is a great space saver for small freezers. Divide the (cooled) sauce between bags in whatever portion sizes you like.

To reheat frozen marinara sauce, remove a bag from the freezer and let it hang out in the refrigerator until thawed. Once completely thawed, pop it in a saucepan and warm until heated through.

Marinara Sauce Recipe

There are so many uses for this easy, quick and inexpensive marinara sauce that you really can’t afford not to know how to make it! 

My kids may have eaten every single bite of the brown rice noodles and zucchini I whipped up to eat with this for lunch, but luckily I set a little of the marinara sauce aside first so we can have Soft Eggs over Marinara for breakfast with the leftovers tomorrow (as requested by my son).

My kids and I would probably eat this marinara sauce a hundred meals in a row served in different ways–and luckily I bet there are a hundred different ways to eat it. 

I love it with fresh summer squash in Spaghetti and Marinara with Baby Pattypans  or served on any type of pasta (gluten free or otherwise) with sauteed or roasted vegetables. It’s so very good on zucchini ribbons as well! 

A favorite variation on this easy sauce is Mushroom, Pepper and Sausage Ziti Marinara. It takes this simple marinara and adds loads of vegetables, meat, cheese and just a little pasta for a fast and hearty dinner that’s ready to eat in just 30 minutes.

5 Minute Marinara makes an incredible dip for Italian Eggrolls as a fun spin on a pasta night, or an appetizer with a big Italian meal. And imagine how delicious this sauce would be served alongside Fried Mozzarella-Pepperoni Sticks or Cheater Skillet Breadsticks. (Spoiler: pretty darn delicious.)

The sauce recipe itself is naturally gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and dairy free. It’s a perfect canvas for adding your favorite veggies and proteins–but most importantly, it tastes amazing.

Are you as excited as I am about this sauce yet?

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5 Minute Basil Marinara Sauce


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves finely minced (about 2 tablespoons minced)
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes


  • In a cold saucepan, combine everything except for the tomatoes. Set the heat to medium and saute for about a minute, just until the pan is fragrant. Add the tomatoes and increase heat to a low simmer. Simmer 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Pour over the pasta or vegetables of your choice. Enjoy!
  • FREEZER MEAL: This recipe can be double or tripled in order to freeze extra amounts. Portion into freezer safe Ziploc bags or resealable containers. Simply thaw in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove when ready to use.
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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Beth says

    I love the idea of serving this over zucchini. I'm cooking with zucchini all the time these days, and would love this variation. Thanks!

  2. barnowl1702 says

    Hi, I have never made fresh marinara before but I just found your recipe and would love to try it. Can I use fresh Roma tomatoes for this? I purchased fifteen pounds in bulk from a local organic farm recently without really knowing what I would do with them. They were just so pretty I could not resist. I wish I had found your site earlier, your recipes look so amazing! Thanks!