How to Make Heart Healthy Marinara Sauce

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If you’re looking a delicious marinara sauce recipe this is it. This heart healthy marinara sauce uses clean ingredients you can feel good about eating with tons of flavor, but without any guilt.

Do you know that store bought condiments and sauces like marinara and pasta sauces are often loaded with hidden sugars? That kind of disrupts the whole heart healthy idea don’t you think?

Fortunately, this easy marinara sauce not only uses simple ingredients, but has a ton of health benefits too.

You Need These Ingredients to Make Heart Healthy Marinara Sauce

You’ll be happy to know that this easy recipe only uses a few ingredients.

Canned organic tomatoes (whole and peeled): Tomatoes are the main ingredient in this homemade sauce. Tomatoes are powerful tools in the fight against heart disease and high blood pressure.. Use the best quality canned tomatoes that you can find. Fresh tomatoes are delicious but, they just won’t work for this sauce.

The tomatoes should be organic and include no additional ingredients. They can be whole or crushed. I like starting with whole tomatoes because they give this sauce a more rustic taste and feel.

Olive oil: Use premium quality olive oil for this sauce. No watered down or adulterated olive oil please.

Garlic cloves (minced): Starting with fresh garlic is an absolute must. Skip the garlic powder for this one.

Red pepper flakes:: The addition of red pepper flakes give the marinara sauce a great taste and a little kick.

Salt: Natural salt in the form of Himalayan salt, real salt or sea salt. If you’re using sea salt, make sure that it comes from an unpolluted source.

Black pepper: Start with the good stuff. Whole peppercorns that are ground fresh.

Oregano The best pasta sauces include some dried oregano leaves. It gives the sauce a wonderful flavor.

Fresh Basil: Don’t skip it. Use torn leaves or sliced thinly.

Is marinara sauce healthy?

Recipes obviously vary, but this marinara recipe contains no artificial colors, is made with fresh ingredients and has a ton of flavor. Understandably, the use of natural ingredients and the low sugar content makes this homemade marinara sauce an Italian staple and a healthy family favorite.

For example, because tomatoes are packed with lycopene (a phytonutrient that has an antioxidant effect) it helps to lower oxidative damage in the body. Since marinara sauce is made with tomatoes, this makes this recipe heart healthy and a fabulous choice for those embarking on a healthier lifestyle. The best part is that this recipe has no added sugar.

The sweetness of the tomatoes are the star of the show and they naturally shine through. However, if you find this recipe too acidic feel free to add a touch of sweetness with the addition of coconut sugar.

Beyond the tomatoes used in the recipe, you’ll also find other heart healthy ingredients like garlic, basil and other herbs that pack an anti-inflammatory punch.

Is this a low sodium marinara sauce?

While this is not technically a low sodium marinara sauce you can adjust the salt content to your likening. As written, you can estimate 1/4 teaspoon of salt per half cup sauce.

How to Use Marinara Sauce

There are many ways to use marinara sauce. But since I am an advocate of natural healthcare as well as a natural health and wellness author, everything serving suggestion is not going to make the cut.

Here are some healthy ways to use this marinara sauce recipe:

  • Topped over spiralized noodles
  • As a dipping sauce with air fryer veggies like zucchini and carrots
  • Over your favorite pasta (hopefully that pasta is non-grain based)
  • ​In place of pizza sauce
  • As a replacement for jarred spaghetti sauce

Tools You Need

Sauce pan

can opener

sharp knives

cutting board

How to Make Your Own Marinara Sauce

  1. Place olive oil in a pot on medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Don’t let the garlic turn brown.
  3. Break up canned tomatoes using a spoon or your hands before pouring the contents (tomatoes and juice) into a pot.
  4. Add chili flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Lower the heat if necessary.
  6. Stir in basil.
  7. ​Simmer for about 20 minutes or until sauce thickens up.
  8. Taste the sauce from time to time to make sure it is to you likening.
  9. Use right away or allow to cool completely before storing.
  10. ​Once cool can be stored in a glass jar with lid for up to three days.

Additions to Marinara Sauce

Vegetables like carrots, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms to make this recipe even more nutritious.

Red wine for more depth.

More herbs in addition to oregano and basil.

​To neutralize some of the acidity in the sauce coconut sugar or honey may be added.

You can also add meat like ground beef or ground pork.


Once the marinara has completely cooled, store it in a clean airtight glass container for up to 3 days. To reheat, add the marinara to a sauce pan and reheat on medium low heat. Be sure to stir occasionally to avoid burning.

Be sure to store completely before storing.

Q & A

Q: How long will marinara keep in the fridge?

A: This marinara sauce will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Q: What is the difference between marinara sauce and pizza sauce?

A: The main difference between pizza sauce and marinara sauce is the consistency. That difference in this consistency is is based on the fact that marinara sauce is typically used as a sipping sauce or over pasta while pizza sauce is more easy to spread and made to top pizza.

Marinara sauce also tends to be more robust in flavor. It can include meat, vegetables and generally contains more herbs. Pizza sauces are not chunky and meant to spread evenly over the crust.

​Q: Is marinara sauce heart healthy?

A: Absolutely! Do to ingredients like like tomatoes, garlic and basil, marinara sauce (especially this recipe) is a heart healthy sauce.

Q: What’ the secret to flavorful homemade marinara sauce?

A: The secret to a flavorful marinara sauce are the ingredients. Try to source canned tomatoes from vine ripened fruit for the most flavor. Use fresh garlic versus anything pre-minced. Start with 100% extra virgin oil and fresh flavorful basil.

Yield: 8

Heart Healthy Marinara Sauce

Heart Healthy Marinara Sauce

Heart healthy marinara sauce recipe with no added sugar.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 large can (28oz) can whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 10-15 basil leaves cut in small ribbons


  1. To pan add olive oil.
  2. Next add minced garlic to pan and stir.
  3. Make sure that the garlic does not burn.
  4. Using a can opener pour the tomatoes and any reserves juices into the pan.
  5. Use a wooden to break up the tomatoes before adding chili flakes, salt, pepper and oregano. This will add deep flavor and complexity to the sauce.
  6. Add the basil leaves being sure to stir well to incorporate into the sauce.
  7. Simmer on medium low heat for 20 minutes. until it thickens.
  8. Taste intermittently.
  9. Once you like the consistency remove from heat to serve right away in any of your favorite dishes.
  10. May also be cooled completely and stored in a glass covered container for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 66Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 530mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 0g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and is not always accurate.

Other Recipes You May Like

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Slow Cooker Chili

Looking for More?

There’s more where that came from. Are you embarking on a new and healthy lifestyle, but need some help on how to do it? Then read my new book, Be FINE: Your Prescription to Age Well, Beat Bulge and Stop Disease.

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