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Fresh Roma Tomato Marinara Sauce The Easy Way

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  • Post last modified:September 14, 2023

So, you’re looking for a homemade marinara sauce recipe? Well, look no further! This fresh Roma Tomato marinara sauce is rustic with a touch of sweetness. But if you prefer a smoother marinara sauce over rustic, that’s no problem! This sauce is completely customizable.

How To Make Fresh Roma Tomato Marinara Sauce

If you’re like me, you grew up eating store-bought spaghetti sauce. I mean… Hello? Every mom knows if you need to throw together a quick and hearty meal, spaghetti is one of the go-tos!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Store-bought marinara sauce is quite tasty. And these days grocery stores offer so many options. We probably all have our favorite brand.

Well get this, did you know that making marinara sauce from fresh tomatoes is just as simple? And with just a few ingredients! You’ll be proud that you went the extra mile. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about what is marinara sauce.

What is Fresh Roma Tomato Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce comes from stewing the flesh of tomatoes until they are tender. The sauce simply consists of tomatoes, oil, and salt. After those 3 main ingredients are added, you can add whatever herbs and spices your heart wishes!

Some common herbs and spices are red pepper flakes, oregano, and onion. Marinara can be made from canned or fresh tomatoes. 

It is believed that marinara sauce comes from the southern parts of Italy including Sicily and Naples. It is one of the simplest sauces in Italian cuisine, yet the flavors are robust! Especially when tomatoes are in season. It’s no wonder why marinara sauce is enjoyed by so many other families around the world.

All About The Fresh Roma Tomato

There are more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes, all ranging in size, color, texture, and taste. The truth is you can use any tomato you want. Many people use a variety of different tomatoes for their marinara sauce. Some large tomatoes hold a lot of water, and may not be best for your sauce. This is why Plum tomatoes are commonly used.

The Roma tomato is a Plum tomato, otherwise known as paste a tomato. These tomatoes come from determinate plants meaning the fruits will all ripen in unison. For anyone who loves canning marinara sauce, this is awesome because you’ll have more tomatoes to work with.

Plum tomatoes are adequate for tomato paste and sauces because of the amount of flesh that you get compared to water. Roma tomatoes also don’t carry as many seeds as some other tomato varieties. More flesh = Thicker sauce. Roma tomatoes are easily grown, easy to prepare, and great on a budget.

Why This Fresh Roma Tomato Recipe Works

One reason why you should give this fresh Roma tomato marinara recipe a try is because of its simplicity. The sauce is pretty rustic . No need to peel or dice your tomatoes, or chop any garlic or herbs.

Peeling your garlic is the most complex task you’ll complete in this recipe. Everything else can be thrown in the pot, and eventually cooks down into a tender sauce.  

This sauce has 6 ingredients. Remember all you need for marinara is tomatoes, oil, and salt. The other ingredients are completely optional but will add more depth and flavor to your sauce. 

As previously mentioned, this marinara sauce recipe is an awesome base for some of your favorite dishes such as spaghetti, lasagna, meatball subs, and even pizza. It’s completely customizable. Let’s talk about the ingredients for marinara

Fresh Roma Tomato Marinara Sauce


  • Roma Tomatoes– Roma tomatoes are considered one of the best tomatoes for marinara sauce because they are plum tomatoes. Although you can use any tomato for marinara, the Roma tomato has less water and more flesh than other tomatoes. Be sure that your tomatoes are nice and ripe, as this will bring more sweetness to your homemade marinara sauce. 
  • Olive oil– There’s a wide variety of olive oils in the market. From cold-pressed to extra virgin to infused. It can be pretty overwhelming. Olive oil can also be quite expensive depending on which kind you get. For this recipe, save your cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for your salad, and opt for your least expensive olive oil. Besides, you’ll be cooking it anyways. 
  • Salt. This needs no explanation. Sea salt, table salt, pink Himalayan. Use what you want. 
  • Basil– This ingredient is optional, But adds both flavor and aroma. Fresh Basil adds the best flavor. This can be added to top off your marinara, as a last element once your sauce is done. It can also be added to cook along with the other ingredients.  Dried basil works as well, and should be added at the beginning of the recipe. 
  • Garlic– This ingredient is optional. But not for me! I am a garlic fanatic I use it in almost all of my savory dishes.
  • Sugar- This ingredient is completely optional. Sugar is added to the tomatoes to help reduce the tartness that tomatoes often have, especially when cooked.  It also helps bring out the natural sweetness of the tomato. If you find that your tomatoes are sweet enough after stewing, you may opt to leave out the sugar. 

Other Equipment Needed

  • Pot or deep pan- I used my 5 qt cast iron dutch oven. You can be the judge of what you want to use. Essentially, your tomatoes are going to be stewing. So you’ll want something big enough to hold all of your tomatoes.
  • Wooden Spoon/Spatula – Yes, it must be wooden…just kidding 🙂
  • Cutting Knife


1. Clean. Wash all of your veggies thoroughly, Including your fresh herbs

2. Cut. Half or quarter your tomatoes. Peel your garlic

3. Cook. Add olive oil to the pot on medium heat. Once heated, add all of your ingredients. Simmer for 20 min, stirring and checking occasionally. 

4. Crush. After 20 minutes, use your spoon to crush your tomatoes and garlic. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can You Use Marinara Sauce for Pizza Sauce?

Yes! You can use marinara sauce for pizza sauce. Pizza sauce is just a well-seasoned marinara sauce. Just add fresh or dried oregano, onion, & red pepper. You can also add the basil and garlic if you didn’t add them to your marinara originally. 

Also, pizza sauce is usually a thicker consistency than marinara. Adding more tomato paste and allowing for the sauce to cook down(rendering the water), will yield a thicker pizza sauce. 

Do You Need To Peel Roma Tomatoes For The Sauce?

No, you don’t need to peel tomatoes for the sauce, especially if you want a heartier, rustic sauce. If you want a velvety smooth sauce, then de-seeding, coring, and peeling your tomatoes would be helpful.

What Is The Difference Between Marinara Sauce And Spaghetti Sauce?

The difference between marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce is usually the addition of meat to spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti sauce includes herbs and vegetables such as bell pepper, onion, garlic, and mushroom. 

How long does pasta sauce last in the fridge?

Homemade pasta sauces will only last for a short time since they lack the preservatives that store-bought sauces have. Pasta with cream sauce will last 3-5 days. Homemade sauces without meat or milk products will last up to 7 days. Opened jars of store-bought pasta sauce will last up to 10 days. But to be safe, follow the instructions on the packaging

Plum Tomatoes vs Roma Tomato…What’s the difference? 

Plum tomatoes and Roma tomatoes are different. A Roma tomato is a Plum tomato, but not all plum tomatoes are Roma tomatoes. San Marzano is another popular plum tomato frequently used for tomato sauces. 

What’s the Difference Between Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste? 

Tomato sauce comes from tomatoes simmered in their juices until tender. After simmering, the tomatoes are soft enough to break down into the sauce, also thickening it. The sauce will be soupy or stew-like.  

To get tomato paste, the skin and seeds are removed from the tomatoes. The tomatoes are cooked down until most of the liquid has rendered out. All that is left is the flesh of the tomato, which looks like a “paste” when done. 

Fresh Roma Tomato Marinara Sauce

How To Make Homemade Fresh Roma Tomato Marinara Sauce From Scratch Using All Fresh Ingredients

  • Pot or deep pan
  • Cooking spoon
  • 10 Roma Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Sugar (or Substitute)
  • 5 Garlic cloves (or 1 1/2 tsp of garlic powder)
  • 5-10 Fresh basil leaves (or 1 tsp of dried basil)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Clean. Wash all of your veggies including your fresh herbs.

  2. Cut. Half or quarter your tomatoes. Peel your garlic

  3. Cook. Heat pot of olive oil on medium heat. Add all ingredients. When it starts to simmer, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes,

  4. Crush. Use a spoon to crush your tomatoes and garlic to your liking. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes Feel free to use an immersion blender or food processor to make a smoother marinara sauce.

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