Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quick Marinara Sauce: Cheaper than the Jar

Is jarred spaghetti sauce a good deal? We think not. Good reasons for making your own:
  • It's really easy
  • It requires no skill and minimal equipment
  • It's not pumped up with added sugar, a common problem with cheap jarred sauces
  • It's cheaper - high quality sauces run $3.50 to $4.00 a jar. A can of crushed tomatoes costs as little as $1.49, which is most of the cost in homemade sauce
  • It tastes much better
If you have a saucepan and a can-opener and you know how to stir, you can pull off a decent marinara sauce. You can customize it according to your taste: add different herbs, add cheese, add veggies, add meat. It's your sauce, so you can make it your own. The basic sauce uses only pantry staples.

We'll be posting other easy tomato pasta sauces in the future, versions that aren't quite so simple. But, really, this one isn't bad in a pinch.

Quick n' Easy Marinara Sauce
(makes about 3 1/2 cups; total cost $2.41)

2 tbl olive oil
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil, crushed in your palm
½ tsp dried oregano, crushed in your palm
1 large pinch black pepper
½ tsp salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.


Tomato-Butter Sauce: replace olive oil with butter (adds 20¢ to cost)
Spicy Marinara Sauce: add 1 large pinch of crushed red pepper
Parmesan Marinara: add ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese before using (adds 20¢ to cost)
Chunky Marinara: add a 14-16 oz can diced tomatoes, increase other ingredients by half (adds $1.95 to cost)
Pesto Tomato Sauce: add 1-2 tbl prepared pesto (adds 30¢ - 60¢ to cost)

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