Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 30 mins

A trip to the Olive Garden inspired me to create this recipe. This is a quick, easy and versatile Marinara Sauce with a delicious fresh taste. Serve over cooked spaghetti, ravioli or other pasta; sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Or chill and serve as a salsa with garlic bread sticks or tostitos.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a saucepan, saute the onions, but do not let them brown.
  2. To the saucepan, add the liquid drained from the diced tomatoes. Add the basil, Italian seasonings, sugar (or sugar substitute) and crushed red peppers. Simmer liquid and spices for about 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and cook just until heated, about 1 minute.
  4. If you prefer, you can used whole tomatoes and dice them, saving any tomato liquid for Step 2.
Most Helpful

This is a winner - I made the full recipe with only one variation I used 3/4 tsp crushed hot pepper flakes, the sauce is wonderful - first night I put apprx 3/4 cup over a serving of cooked noodles topped it with Asiago cheese Loved it. However the next day I poured the remainder of the sauce over 6 pan browned Coubtry style pork ribs in a crockpot , set the crockpot on low and cooked them for 8 hours - heaven! This sauce is very versatile and requires no changes - Thank-you BeachGirl for a taste tantalizer!!!!!!!

Bergy April 08, 2003

I thought this was a good base for a marinara or spaghetti sauce, however, I did change up a few things because when I tested it at the end, it tasted a bit bland and off to me. To start off, I did saute the red pepper flakes in 1 tbs of olive oil for a minute and then added the onions. At the end, I added 1/4 red wine, salt & pepper and 1 tsp of garlic powder and let it simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Thanks for posting, it turned into a really great sauce.

Julie421511 May 03, 2007

This is my favorite Marinara/Pasta/Cooking sauce. The Diced Tomatoes give it a nice chunkiness that other sauces that have just crushed tomatoes lack. Try it first without the sugar/sweetener first, you may not need it - depending on the tartness of the tomatoes. Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes have the richest flavor of any crushed tomatoes that I've tried. My only change was the addition of minced garlic - about 4-6 cloves. CAN'T get enough garlic!!!

GarlicFingers March 06, 2009