The Great Lasagna Challenge, Day 1: Marinara Sauce

We wanted to start the first day of the lasagna challenge with the marinara sauce for a very simple reason: Whatever is made first will need to keep for a few days before it’s actually used. The cheese will be best if used within a day or two, and the noodles are definitely best on the same day they’re made, so the choice was simple: Monday is marinara day! Now for a little bit of trivia: Marinara sauce means “Mariner’s sauce,” and one of the popular theories about the origin of the name is that the sauce was kept on ships because it could last for long periods of time without refrigeration. We’d love to give proper credit for that tidbit, but unfortunately it came from a magazine whose name is long-since forgotten.

Let the fun begin!
Let the fun begin!

Note #1: The following recipe makes about 48 oz. of sauce, so if you’re not in a position where holding onto that much sauce is a viable option, definitely halve everything. Around here, however, there’s no such thing as too much marinara.

Note #2: As with most vegetable-based recipes we’re sharing at the moment, this recipe will be revisited once the summer garden is in full effect and we can use garden-fresh vegetables and herbs.



– 4 Cans of Stewed Tomatoes (14.5 oz.)

– 12 oz. Tomato Paste

2/3 C. Parsley (fresh preferably, but dried can work in a pinch)

2 tsp. Basil

4 Cloves Garlic, diced

2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Pepper

3/4 C. Olive Oil

2/3 C. Sweet Onion

1 C. White Wine

This process should take 4-5 minutes over medium heat
This process should take 4-5 minutes over medium heat

First, put the onion and olive oil in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onion gets soft. Keep the white wine to the side (Do not drink it! However, feel free to do what you will with the remainder of the bottle).

This container was too small... we had to blend in two batches.
This container was too small… we had to blend in two batches.

While the onion is cooking and the wine is taunting you, place the remaining ingredients into a blender and blend them until smooth.

Watch out for splashing...
Watch out for splashing…

Pour the tomato blend into your soup pot of sauteed onions and combine; now, pour in the wine and give everything a stir.

Finally, put a lid on it and let everything simmer for 35 minutes. Congratulations, you now have sauce!


After smelling the sauce cooking, we weren’t content to wait until Wednesday to try the finished product. Instead, we made some spaghetti and got a few preemptive taste tests. The initial product is excellent: the sauce is rich without being heavy, very flavorful with a hint of sweetness from the onions (high five for recipes with no added sugar!) Pictures speak louder than words, however, so hopefully these give an accurate portrayal of our first, and certainly not last, Marinara Monday.

As always, share your results, thoughts and et cetera in the comments. We love hearing what everyone has to say!

Liked it enough to eat it by the handful
Liked it enough to eat it by the handful



Made the biggest spaghetti twirl we've ever seen... that's a good sign.
Made the biggest spaghetti twirl we’ve ever seen… that’s a good sign.
That face speaks for itself; we have a winning meal :)
That face speaks for itself; we have a winning meal 🙂






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