Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Marinara Sauce - for pasta, pizzas, lasagna & bolognaise

It’s actually very easy to make a delicious tomato sauce from scratch though if you'd asked me that a year ago I wouldn't have believed you! I’ve tried so many bolognaise recipes but they all tasted like something wasn't quite right. My favourite so far is to make a ‘marinara sauce’ and, rather oddly, is the simplest of them all. In this instance less is definitely more!

I was always a stickler for the convenience and flavours of sauce from a jar but that soon became an issue when we made the switch to Organic, the brands we could choose from were suddenly reduced and carried a much higher price tag.


A big bowl of pasta can be a fantastic replenishment of energy for active weekends in the outdoors and dried pasta or spaghetti is lightweight and convenient to carry. We recommend making this sauce at home before you travel however to avoid packing many jars and other whole ingredients. Seal in a jar or plastic tub (make sure it has a tight fitting lid!) to simply heat up in the wilds, if properly sealed in a sterilised jar whilst still hot it will keep at room temperature for many months if not years. Home ‘canning’ is a big thing in America and I’d like to see it as common again one day here in the UK.


The recipe can be used just as it is, or add anything extra that you’d like such as chopped sausage, bacon, or minced beef/turkey/quorn. Chunks of courgette, mushrooms and squash can really elevate it to another realm of flavour… although I said simple is often best it’s nice to switch things up every now and then, and adding more veg to your diet where you can is something your body will thank you for! I don’t buy into restrictive diets, preferring instead to keep adding more fruit and veg until you simply have no room for too much of the bad stuff! ;)


I love the rich tomato flavour of this sauce and, depending on where you shop of course, the price tag (buying organic ingredients) is around the same as what I’d previously been paying for a jar of ready-made organic sauce – but resulting in double the amount of sauce. Win win! Find out how it’s made below:



690g jar passata

1 onion

3 cloves garlic, crushed (+ 1 more if you REALLY love garlic like us!)

olive oil

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp dried oregano

salt & pepper to taste

+ optional pinch of sugar (we don’t usually advocate adding processed sugar to recipes but since it’s unfortunately prolific in the jars we’re so used to, a little can be helpful for fussy eaters to ease the transition to enjoying more natural home-made dishes!)



1. Finely chop the onion & fry gently in olive oil in the saucepan until translucent.

2. Crush and finely chop the garlic & stir into onion. Allow to cook for around 30 seconds to begin releasing flavour but don’t allow it to burn.

3. Add the passata and herbs and season well. Add approx 1 cup of water (use it to ‘rinse’ the passata jar to make the most of what’s stuck in there and to prepare it for recycling – I love that kind of efficiency!).

4. Simmer gently for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until the sauce takes on a different nature and the oil begins to form on the surface. You might need to add a little more water to compensate what has evaporated.

5. Your sauce is now ready to use with other recipes just like the store-bought jars, except this time you know the quality of the ingredients. No refined sugar (unless you added some!), no extremes of salt nor artificial preservatives or thickeners.


The finished marinara sauce with minced beef for classic bolognaiseThe finished marinara sauce with minced beef for classic bolognaise 

I use passata (sieved tomatoes) as we like the finer texture but regular chopped or plum tomatoes will work as well - you’ll just have to use a couple of tins and put a little more effort in to break the chunks down to a level you’re happy with. Of course if you’re a grower with a glut of fresh tomatoes to make something with (or have an overly generous gardening neighbour!) then use those before reaching for the tinned stuff, though you’ll need to cook them longer and judge the quantity for yourself.


As this recipe makes double what you would normally get in a jar, pour the other half into a jar or tub and freeze for another day. I like to freeze it in two smaller portions so I have the perfect amount for using as a convenient pizza topping and can use the rest in a lasagna another day…


Have you tried making your own marinara or bolognaise sauce from scratch? Will you be trying this recipe? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

You might also like:

Homemade Pizza


Veggie Lasagna

Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

© 2014. The Waki Way. All Rights Reserved.

We encourage sharing via social media and blogs but ask that you credit The Waki Way as source.


Links & Advertising: 

You may notice we don't have those annoying 3rd party adverts or pop-ups on our site - so no diet pills and other rubbish here! If we think that something is useful to our readers and relevant we conduct our research and link to it directly.

To help support the site we make use of affiliate links where appropriate; Sarah is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. It doesn't cost you a penny extra to order anything via the links posted on this site.


Recommendations, links & advice:

*All prices stated in links are correct at the time of publishing but there may be changes in prices, promotions or discontinuations - links are tricky to keep track of so check the seller for the latest prices and availability. 

The Waki Way shall under no circumstances be liable for any damages, convictions or injury whatsoever – including but not limited to damages arising out of, related to or resulting from your access to, or inability to access, this site, and your reliance on any information or opinions provided herein. 

Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

Do you accept?