Easy Roasted Garlic Marinara (Oil-Free)

I’ve tried a lot of marinara recipes but this one is my absolute favorite! That’s it, I’m never making another one again! This is really easy to make and the roasted garlic is a nice touch! Plus it freezes nicely. My toddler loved this too!

In an effort to reduce my pasta intake, I mixed the sauce with beans and pasta and served it over spinach (I got the idea from Melomeals!). It was delish!!!

Roasted Garlic Marinara with beans and pasta over spinach

Original recipe is from Melomeals… I changed it a bit to make it oil-free and a bit lower sodium.

Roasted Garlic Marinara

  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (for roasting the garlic)
  • 10 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes (I did less to make it toddler friendly)
    • 1 t marjoram
    • 1 t rosemary
    • 2 t dried basil
    • 2 T balsamic vinegar (for deglazing)
    • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used no-salt added canned tomatoes)
    • 28 oz can diced tomatoes with their liquid (I used tetra packed tomatoes)
    • Salt/Pepper to taste
    • 1 c fresh basil or parsley
    • 1 carrot, shredded (add to cut acidity instead of sugar)


    1. In a cold pan place the balsamic vinegar and garlic in the pan. Turn heat to low and slowly caramelize the garlic This took me about 25-30 minutes.
    2. When garlic is golden and fragrant, turn heat up to medium and add the spices.
    3. Cook spices for 1 minutes, then deglaze with balsamic vinegar
    4. Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cover for 20 minutes
    5. Taste and adjust seasonings, stir in fresh herbs
    6. If the sauce is too acidic, add 1 shredded carrot or 2 t sugar (I added a shredded carrot)

    Roast garlic

    Add spices then tomatoes, simmer

    Add fresh basil

    Add carrot to cut acidity



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  1. Pingback: Lentil Quinoa Stew with Red Chard | Kid Tested Firefighter Approved

    • It’s the best sauce I’ve ever had and I’ve tried A TON of recipes! Thank you!!

  2. Ang S. Reply

    I’m curious about your carrot addition. I’ve used sauted carrot in many of my (old days) meat recipes including tacos. However, it appears that you add the carrot in fine shreds raw and towards the end of cooking so it won’t soften… is that right? And, you’re saying that it will cut the acidity in place of sugar? I belive it for cooked carrot but I’m surprised about the raw. Unless there’s a missing step in the “method” where the sauce then simmers all day?

    • Hi! The raw carrot cuts the acidity instead of sugar better than cooked, in my experience. The original recipe calls for raw, that’s why I added it and really liked it. I’ve never tried simmering this sauce for a long period of time, have you? Let me know how it turns out if you do! :-)

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