This flavorful sugar-free and food additive-free 5-ingredient Marinara Sauce is my go-to sauce for keto pizzas and pasta. My variation on this classic sauce is super easy to make — although it needs some time to cook to deepen the flavors to make the tomatoes exceptionally tasty and thicken the consistency. Even better: the consistency is super smooth without blending! Just try it, I bet you’ll fall in love with its simplicity and exquisite taste!
P.S. Like always, you’ll get an ample amount of suggestions on how to tweak this sauce in the Tips for Variations section at the end of this post.
How to make this Easy 5-Ingredient Marinara Sauce
There are no gimmicks here: you’ll need 5 ingredients, 1 pot, stovetop, and a little bit of time to make this tasty and smooth Marinara Sauce. You place all ingredients into a saucepan and cook over low heat, occasionally stirring, until the consistency is thick and to your liking. That’s it!
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to prepare this easy and simple — yet versatile — sauce.
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, that is, 1 lb (450 g) passata-style tomato sauce (ensure it’s 100% tomato or at maximum just some salt added)…
…tomato paste (again, the best option is 100% tomato, at maximum with some added salt)…
…1 teaspoon onion powder…
…1 teaspoon dried oregano…
…and 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) natural salt like unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt.
Mix well and bring to a boil over low heat.
Here we go, now it’s boiling.
Close the lid but not completely, make sure it’s a bit open so that the liquid can evaporate so that your sauce thickens. Keep the temperature so low that the sauce hardly boils, only simmers gently. Be careful with the hot sauce: it spills over and ‘shoots’ the scorching sauce all over if the temperature is too high.
Mix once in a while while cooking.
Now we are ready! This sauce took about 1 hour to cook.
Perfectly thick and smooth, yum!
Let cool down or use immediately with shirataki noodles or other keto-friendly noodles like zoodles (zucchini noodles).
It makes an excellent sauce for pizza, too.
I also prefer to fry 1 lb (450 g) organic ground beef and add it to the Marinara Sauce to make a tasty Bolognese Sauce — my son’s favorite! (And naturally, you can use the Bolognese Sauce as topping on your pizza or just serve it with keto noodles).
How I came up with this easy Marinara Sauce recipe
Before my keto times over a decade ago, I used to buy readymade Marinara Sauce from the store. Even I’ve always been a somewhat conscious eater, I eventually learned the dangers of sugar and food additives the hard way. Therefore, I needed better alternatives for Marinara Sauce. And since there were no better alternatives in the store, I had to develop my own recipe. Have you noticed that it happens so many times in life that when you don’t find a good enough option for something, you have to develop it yourself?
Well, before coming up with my own Marinara Sauce recipe, I used tomato paste for many purposes, like for my son’s keto pizza. However, tomato paste was so concentrated and thick that it made the whole pizza too dry.
Soon, I started pondering how to make succulent Marinara Sauce that I could use with pizza and also as a pasta sauce. Moreover, I often make Bolognese Sauce that I eat with a keto side or use as a topping for a keto pizza, and Bolognese Sauce needs a good Marinara Sauce base. Besides, my son has decided to have pizza Friday each Friday, so I definitely needed a good-quality homemade sauce.
Over time, I tried different versions of a keto-friendly homemade Marinara Sauce. First, I used only crushed tomatoes and some spices. However, the taste wasn’t to my liking, and the sauce tended to be too thin — or then I had to cook it for several hours to get the consistency to my liking.
Then, I realized that if I used both tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, the tomato paste would lend both more mouthwatering tomato taste and thicken the sauce. For a while, I was happy with my creation but then thought that I would prefer a totally smooth consistency. The chunky sauce wasn’t easy to spread on a pizza crust. Of course, I could puree the chunky sauce, but that felt like an unnecessary extra step. Well, as you know, I like to keep things simple.
I realized that if I replaced the crushed tomatoes with already smooth passata-style tomato sauce, I would end up easily with smooth Marinara Sauce. No need to puree anything, just combine the ingredients and cook the sauce over low heat until thick. Perfect!
I’ve tried many spices and seasonings in my Marinara Sauce but eventually ended up using just onion powder, dried oregano, and unrefined sea salt. Onion powder is a natural flavor enhancer that I often use in savory dishes (yep, I’ve written about this a lot). Onion powder is convenient as you don’t have to chop any onions. Moreover, onion powder keeps the consistency of this sauce smooth as there are no onion chunks that you would get from a chopped onion.
Oregano is also one of my favorite herbs, and I use it abundantly, especially in tomato dishes. Moreover, in my opinion, pizza is not pizza without oregano, so including oregano already in the Marinara Sauce makes pizza more flavorsome.
Like you see, I’ve fine-tuned this recipe over the years, and it has been one of my go-to sauce recipes for a long. Just try it (with or without the tweaks in the next chapter) — I bet you and your family will like it a lot!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 1 lb = 450 g tomato sauce (passata)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Mix well and bring to a boil over low heat.
- Once boiling, close the lid but not completely, make sure it’s a bit open so that the liquid can evaporate so that your sauce thickens. Keep the temperature so low that the sauce hardly boils but just simmers gently. Be careful with the hot sauce: it spills over and ‘shoots’ the hot sauce all over if the temperature is too high.
- Cook, until thick and the consistency is to your liking, about 1 hour. Mix once in a while during cooking.
- Use as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or make Bolognese Sauce by adding 1 lb (450 g) fried and crumbled ground beef.
Use as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or make Bolognese Sauce by adding 1 lb (450 g) fried and crumbled ground beef..
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7-Day Keto-Vegan Detox Meal Plan: Detox your body, lose weight, and maximize your health with a ketogenic vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free low-carb meal plan
Low Sugar, So Simple: 100 Delicious Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Recipes for Eating Clean and Living Healthy
Bionaturae Tomato Paste | Organic Tomato Paste | Keto Friendly | Non-GMO | USDA Certified Organic | No Added Salt or Sugar | Made in Italy | 7 oz
365 by Whole Foods Market, Paste Tomato Double Concentrated, 5.3 Ounce
Organico Bello, Tomatoes Passata Strand, 24 Ounce
Tuscanini Italian Tomato Sauce, Premium Italian Passata, 17.6oz (3 Pack) Resealable, Product of Italy
Starwest Botanicals Organic Oregano Leaf Cut, 1-pound Bag
Simply Organic White Onion Powder, Certified Organic | 3 oz | Allium cepa
Frontier Co-op Onion, White Powder, Certified Organic, Kosher, Non-irradiated | 1 lb. Bulk Bag | Allium cepa
|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if 4 servings in total|
|Protein||4.5 g||1.1 g|
|Fat||1.1 g||0.3 g|
|Net carbs||19.3 g||4.8 g|
|kcal||131 kcal||33 kcal|
Tips for variations
Marinara Sauce has numerous variations. Here are some suggestions for you on how to tweak the basic sauce:
- Add a pinch of stevia powder for some sweetness and to round the flavors
- For garlic lovers and even more flavor enhancement, add 2-4 crushed garlic cloves with the rest of the ingredients and cook until thick
- To make the sauce rich, add 1 stick (4 oz = 115 g; yes, the whole stick!) butter with the rest of the ingredients and cook until thick
- Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) capers or chopped pitted olives to the sauce for more flavor
- Chopped fresh herbs make a wonderful addition to this sauce. Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh oregano, basil, or thyme to the ready sauce. Don’t cook fresh herbs as they lose their fresh flavor if cooked!
- If you don’t have time to cook the sauce but need a quick fix, this Marinara Sauce is great also without cooking: just mix all ingredients well together, and you’re good to go!
- For a creamy sauce, add 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream and cook until thick
- For a slight tangy note, add 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry red wine or white wine with the rest of the ingredients and cook until thick. For a non-alcoholic version, use 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar instead
- If you prefer your sauce chunky, feel free to replace the tomato sauce with crushed tomatoes and the onion powder with one small chopped onion
This week went mainly with Ketokamu activities. I wrote lots of text, for example, newsletters, a blog post, product descriptions, etc.
However, the highlight of the week was when I received a sample batch of the drink that we are developing with Ketokamu and hope to bring to the market next summer.
We got several different versions of the drink and easily found the winners that we would like to develop and fine-tune further. The drink concept is entirely novel and a bit exceptional, so I hope people will like it.
Naturally, I made some more experiments and new (super simple!) recipes with our Ketokamu baking mix.
I also met a well-known Finnish wellbeing influencer and holistic healer, Yazka Love, with whom I had a nice dinner. I had this mouthwatering reindeer tartare:
I really enjoy the fall time and its colors. Nature is the most beautiful now, and it’s a real pleasure to take long walks in the colorful nature.