This one is simple but very handy and cost effective (under $5 for ingredients)! I originally started making Deborah Madison’s version for a pizza sauce in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (amazon affiliate link, it is on page 507) but it has changed a lot, especially with the six pound Costco sized can of crushed tomatoes ($2.69 each). You can make the equivalent of about 7 jars of store-bought marinara (they’re usually a pound a jar) for a fraction of the cost. I make a batch put it into freezer ziploc bags, get as much air out as possible, then lay them flat until frozen. Laying them flat helps with defrosting later on.
My mother in law and I call this one of our “fast food” options because you can take out some sauce, some white rice pasta (tinkyada is our favorite, amazon affiliate link) or quinoa and frozen veggies and you have yourself a dinner you can make with a baby on your hip.
Sometimes I put in mushrooms or red peppers, there are many options, but this is the cheapest and easiest. If I have fresh herbs I use those, if I am out of fresh garlic I use granulated garlic, so it is flexible. Here are the photos.
5 quart saucepan with lid or splatter screen
Cutting board, knife
6 pound 10 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 a head of garlic (about 12 cloves) crushed
4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of dried basil
3 tablespoons of dried parsley
1/2 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt (and to taste)
Heat your pan on medium, add oil and heat until shimmering. Add your diced onion and fry until translucent. Then add your sugar, garlic, and spices. Fry another minute or two and then add the crushed tomatoes slowly (they will splatter coming out of the can). Add the whole can of tomato paste. You’ll see a picture below with additional basil and parsley, I started with two tablespoons of each and it wasn’t enough so I added more. Adjust your spices and seasonings to taste after they’ve had a chance to cook together a little. Get the sauce to simmer and then reduce to low, put the lid on a little off kilter so that your sauce doesn’t splatter but air can get out. Cook it for an hour to meld and reduce the liquid, then taste and adjust your spices as you like.
Once it has cooled, put a quart ziploc bag inside a measuring cup (I use a 2 cup pyrex, amazon affiliate link) on a kitchen scale (amazon affiliate link to the one I use) and set it to zero. Then you can measure one or two pounds of sauce per bag. I actually do 2 pound bags because rice pasta soaks sauce up really fast and you need more of it for a meal. Mark the bag with the date so you make sure to rotate batches in and out of the freezer. You can also mark if they have extra ingredients, this one is good for wheat free pizza but I make versions with veggies inside for other dinners.
You can also add oregano but I find dried oregano makes my food taste dusty (anyone else find this?) so I use it sparingly or not at all. It is quite nice fresh but even brand new dried oregano is not my thing.