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This pasta marinara features a homemade sauce and comes together in minutes! Boost the nutrients with a few handfuls of spinach, and you’ve got dinner.

Pasta marinara
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Here’s the thing. Pasta marinara can be as simple as opening a jar of marinara sauce and making a pot of spaghetti. But what’s the fun in that? Homemade marinara sauce can be easy to make and adds the extra love that takes it from a cheater dinner to a real deal meal. This pasta marinara is ultra flavorful, with a tangy sweetness from fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar. To add a hit of nutrients and make it into an easy weeknight meal, there’s a few handfuls of spinach thrown in. It all comes together into a cozy plant based dinner that everyone around the table loves. Ready to get started?

Got an Instant Pot? Use this Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe instead!

Easy marinara sauce

What’s behind a great pasta marinara?

What makes this pasta marinara special? Well, the marinara. This recipe uses our Easy Marinara Sauce. It was an invention for my best friend, who asked me, “How can I make a really good and really easy marinara sauce?” It comes together in just 15 minutes, which is saying something for a marinara. Some marinara sauces can take hours to simmer! Here are the secrets behind this one:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes. Canned fire roasted tomatoes taste sweet and smoky, since they’ve been roasted over an open flame before canning. This is what makes the sauce so quick to put together. (See below on what to do if you can’t find them.)
  • Balsamic vinegar. Balsamic adds a tangy flair to this sauce.
  • Fresh basil. It’s worth using fresh basil for this one, as it adds the perfect peppery undertone. If it’s not summer, seek it out in the fresh herbs section in your grocery.
  • Garlic powder. In most of our recipes we use fresh garlic, but in this marinara you can get away with garlic powder. This means you don’t have to chop any veggies for this sauce!

Also try: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with meat or veggie crumbles!

Pasta marinara

What if I can’t find fire roasted tomatoes?

Fire roasted tomatoes are key in this recipe, because of their sweet flavor right out of the can. These tomatoes have been charred over an open fire, then canned. Other tomato varieties can taste bitter out of the can, and need to be cooked for longer.

Want to order them online? If you love online shopping like we do, here’s a link to buy Fire Roasted Tomatoes on Amazon.

If you can’t find fire roasted tomatoes for this recipe, you can substitute any high quality variety of canned tomatoes. You may find you have to cook the sauce a little longer to remove the bitterness. Take a taste at the end, and see if it needs a little extra love.

What people are saying about this recipe

We’ve had a few recipe testers try this pasta marinara before sharing it. Here’s what they had to say!

  • “My husband is a total carnivore and he loved this; he said it’s a definite keeper! I expected him to comment that it needed meatballs or sausage, but he liked it just the way it was.” -Amanda
  • “Oh my, I scraped the bowl clean on this one! The flavor was awesome and it was so easy, it was exactly what I needed right now.” -Erin
Pasta marinara

How to serve pasta marinara

Pasta marinara is a perfect easy weeknight dinner. Here are a few ways to make it into a filling meal:

This pasta marinara recipe is…

Vegetarian, plant-based, dairy-free and vegan. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

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Pasta marinara

Homemade Pasta Marinara

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 1x


This pasta marinara features a homemade sauce and comes together in minutes! Boost the nutrients with a few handfuls of spinach, and you’ve got dinner.


  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves or chopped spinach, tightly packed (optional)
  • 8 ounces spaghetti pasta
  • Parmesan cheese or goat cheese crumbles, for serving (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, whole basil leaves and spinach (if using). Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Pour the marinara sauce over the pasta. Garnish with chopped basil. If desired, serve with Parmesan cheese or goat cheese crumbles: but it’s just as good without!
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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