Easy, Inexpensive, and Delicious Salt-free Marinara Sauce

I love a good marinara sauce, but the canned and jarred varieties are often filled with preservatives and a whole lot of salt. Fortunately, it is both easy and inexpensive to make your own from scratch for an investment of just a couple of dollars and about 45 minutes of time.

Having marinara sauce on hand is a great strategy for saving time and money. It can become the base for a huge number of recipes, adds flavor without adding a lot of calories, and allows you to throw together supper in about 30 minutes. Add to this the fact that you can make marinara for literally pennies and you have a sure winner.


  • 1 cup water 3-15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1- 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp dried onion flakes (I made my own by dehydrating onions)
  • 2 tsp. dried basil (or 2 Tbsp fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. sugar


Throw the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste in a pan. Use the 1 cup of water to rinse each can and throw mixture of water and residual tomato products in the pot. This way you don’t waste anything. If you any of the 1 cup of water left, throw it into the pot, too.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should thicken slightly as it cooks.

*Alternately, you can put it in the slow cooker on “low” for 6 hours, stirring after 3 hours, and slightly skewing the lid for the last 30 minutes so it will thicken slightly.

Cool and remove from pot. This sauce will keep fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Yield: 6-7 cups
Estimated cost: $3.25

Use it to top

  • pasta
  • roasted spaghetti squash
  • spiralized zucchini
  • homemade fries (Yes, it’s good this way)
  • baked potatoes

You can also use it

  • to make homemade pizza pockets
  • as a dipping sauce
  • in cabbage rolls
  • to make pizza bread
  • for meatball sandwiches
  • as the base for homemade, flavorful tomato soup

Click here for a free downloadable PDF of Salt-Free Marinara Sauce.

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