Mom’s Stupendous Marinara Sauce

marinara sauceCooking and food were a big deal in our house. When I think back to holidays during my childhood there was an eclectic mix of food. Mom’s family emigrated from Northern Italy and she is an amazing cook. My Dad is a Swede and Grandma Allie was worthy of a Chopped Kitchen!

I didn’t start cooking until my mid-40’s. It was mostly out of necessity, we relocated to Lake Tahoe and restaurant food was expensive and not very tasty. During my mom’s first visit I asked her to teach me how to make her famous Marinara sauce. Surprised but grateful since my sister isn’t a cook, that the family sauce recipe wouldn’t end with her she eagerly taught me. Every time the garlic and onion start to sauté the smell takes me back to my childhood.

Mom’s Stupendous Marinara Sauce

Olive Oil

 1 Med to Large sweet onion chopped

4-5 large cloves garlic finely chopped (I usually add more. You can never have too much garlic!)

4 TBSP Butter (Earth Balance Sticks are my favorites)

1 large can (1lb 13oz) tomato sauce

2 cans (14 oz) diced Italian blend tomatoes (basil, oregano and garlic)

¾ of one empty 14oz can of water

½ tsp Basil

1 TBSP Parsley

½ tsp Italian Seasoning

1 tsp Oregano

¼ tsp Allspice

1 tsp-tbsp coconut sugar to taste

4 large Bay Leaves

2 Stalks celery cut in half

Cover the bottom of a 4 qt or 6 qt for a double batch nonstick pan in olive oil and heat. Add butter and allow it to melt. Sauté onions and garlic until the onion becomes transparent, 5-10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours on the stove or place in the oven at 350 for the same amount of time. Stir every ½ hour. Cool remove bay leaves and celery.

Serve over cooked shells or spaghetti squash.

I usually make a double batch and then freeze the sauce in small containers. This makes for handy easy home cooked meals any day of the week. There are so many dishes like Zucchini Polenta Bake that can be made in a matter of minutes if you have sauce on hand.

Know someone who is short on time or talent for cooking but loves tasty meals. They will thank you for sharing this with them.

cj "cathy jo" johnson





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  1. […] sauce! Personally, I don’t think there is a sauce recipe on this planet that is better than my mom’s stupendous marinara sauce. Normally I make a large batch of sauce and freeze it making it easy to put the vegan portobello […]

  2. […] cups boiling water with a pinch of salt 2 to 3 cups good-quality flavorful marinara sauce. I use  Mom’s Stupendous Marinara sauce which I make ahead of time and freeze 2 medium zucchinis, sliced 1/4 inch thick 1 1/2 cups […]