Friday's Fixin's: A Little Marinara Goes a Long Way


Last week, some girlfriends came over to cook a bunch of vegan, gluten free dishes.  Before you say, “Ewwww,” let me tell you that we made some seriously yumma recipes courtesy of excellent instruction from Daisy and Gaby of Seasons Catering.

The one I’m going to share with you today is a Marinara Sauce.  The official title of the recipe is “Basic Marinara Sauce;” however, there is NOTHING basic about this recipe.  It is SO GOOD!

One of the Silver Lining things about Marinara is that it can be used for many purposes.  Of course it’s great on pasta. Speaking of which, I’m super excited to be turned on to Tinkyada brown rice pasta spirals. Gluten free and high in protein are what I call Win-Win.



Marinara is also delish on top of sauteed spinach, sea bass or clams. If you eat meat, I imagine that it’s good on chicken as well.

Another Silver Lining of Marinara is the health benefits (because you know that’s how I roll!). As I’ve mentioned here before, tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that helps reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Tomatoes have many other nutrients as well, including vitamin C, potassium and folate, a B vitamin that helps build and maintain cells. Like I said, Win-Win!

(Not So) Basic Marinara Sauce


  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped (when I read “finely chopped” it means “food processor”!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatos (San Marzano is a preferred brand by those in the know.)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves


  • In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the celery, salt and pepper.
  • Sauté until all the vegetables are soft.  You can do this for as few as 10 minutes, but a little trick is to allow them to simmer for as long as an hour.  This, according to our wise instructors, makes a big difference in flavor!
  • Using a potato masher, smash the vegetables into a chunky paste.
  • Add the tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, also about an hour.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  • Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Though it takes a long time to make (so NOT how I usually roll!), the huge benefit is that the batch can be frozen for up to 3 months AND has so many uses that it makes the effort worth the while.

Added Silver Lining:  Everyone who walks in your house says, “What smells so good?”

I did my best to take photos of the marinara, but they bombed.  Besides, you know what marinara looks like, right?  So instead, since I’m on a tomato kick, I’ll share with you a photo of Andy Warhol’s Tomato Soup Can from the Jane and Marc Nathanson Gallery at LACMA. I never tire of this.


Because the recipe is Italian today…

Uno non può pensare bene, amare bene, dormire bene, se non ha mangiato bene.

– Virginia Wolf


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  1. Catie says

    Hollye I loved this!! I am currently off of gluten and diary (doctor's orders – been having some serious stomach aches!) and this is JUST what I was looking for!! You're the greatest!