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Oil free Marinara Sauce

5 from 3 votes

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This Oil-free Marinara sauce is so easy to put together, tastes wonderful, and is a great base for a variety of Italian recipes.

Bowl of pasta with oil-free marinara and loaf of multi-grain bread

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Oh, how I love Italian Food! I could never get tired of the pastas, the sauces, and the breads and cheeses! I wish there were more good vegan options in the restaurants in my area. But, alas, there are not, so it’s up to me to create these vegan dishes myself.

While I do at times resort to store bought marinara sauce, those sauces are usually higher in sugars, salt, and oil than I would like. While the jarred sauces are certainly convenient, I like to be able to control what goes into my sauce.

This oil-free marinara sauce is a staple recipe in my house. I usually double the recipe and freeze it in wide mouth quart jars. This provides me with the start of several meals.

Some of the ways I use this sauce are:

When I was growing up, my mom regularly made huge pots of spaghetti sauce. It would simmer for hours on the stove. Those sauce making days usually ended up being pizza night. She would thaw out frozen bread dough for the crust, spread on a generous amount of sauce, and top it with all of our favorite pizza toppings.

I have many memories of birthday slumber parties with Mom’s pizza, followed by ice skating, and going home to stay up all night talking and giggling. Oh, those were the days!

What’s in this oil-free marinara sauce?

Like my mom’s sauce, I like to add extra vegetables to my marinara sauce for additional nutrients and flavor. In addition to the tomatoes, my sauce is filled with onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Plenty of herbs are added, as well as just a touch of red wine. The wine can be omitted, and the sauce is still wonderful!

Wooden cutting board with ingredients for marinara sauce

How to make this marinara sauce

Begin by sauteing the onions, celery, and carrots. You don’t need to use any oil to saute your vegetables. Just make sure to start with large pot that has been preheated to about medium high.

As you saute the vegetables, you will start to see some browning on the bottom of the pan, and the vegetables will start to stick. Add a couple tablespoons of water and stir to deglaze the pan. These caramelized bits will add nice flavor to your sauce.

Pan of vegetables sauteing with wooden spoon for stirring

After the onions have become translucent, add the garlic and saute for about two more minutes. Add water as necessary to prevent sticking. Be careful not to let your garlic burn.

Pot of sauteed vegetables with wooden spoon and minced garlic added

Then add in the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.

Tomatoes and herbs added to large pot for making marinara sauce

Simmer the sauce for at least an hour, so the flavors can develop and the vegetables can soften.

Pot of cooked marinara sauce with wooden spoon full of sauce

Before serving, puree the sauce with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree it in batches in a blender. You can puree it until it is very smooth (how my girls like it), or leave some chunks of vegetable in it.

Pot of marinara sauce with immersion blender in pot

And there you have it! A nice big pot of savory marinara, ready for your favorite Italian dish!

White bowl of pasta with Oil Free Marinara, a slice of whole grain bread, a sprig of basil

How long does this Oil-Free Marinara keep?

You can store this marinara in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or store extra sauce in the freezer for up to 6 months.

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

Are you new to oil free cooking? Check out my Oil Free Cooking Tips to learn more about oil free baking, roasting, sauteing, and more!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a rating and feedback below. It only takes a few seconds, but helps other visitors to my site and helps my site gain other readers. Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment!

And come join my Oil Free Vegan Recipes and Support Facebook group, where you can share your favorite oil free vegan recipes, and give and receive support on your plant based journey.

Bowl of pasta with oil-free marinara and loaf of multi-grain bread


Teresa Sklenicka
This Oil-free Marinara sauce is so easy to put together, tastes wonderful, and is a great base for a variety of Italian recipes.

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 93.2 kcal


  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 6 – 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup


  • Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until the onion is soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for a few more minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for at least one hour.
  • Puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency.


If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend in small batches in a blender.


Calories: 93.2kcalCarbohydrates: 20.5gProtein: 3.9gFat: 0.7gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 392mgFiber: 5gSugar: 11.8gVitamin A: 2900IUVitamin C: 28.9mgCalcium: 100mgIron: 3.2mg
Keyword Gluten Free, Oil Free, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nutrition calculations are approximate.

By on May 16th, 2019

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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6 thoughts on “Oil free Marinara Sauce”

  1. 5 stars
    I made this and it was really good! I made a couple adjustments too. Added a small can of mushrooms and left out the sweetener. My somewhat picky husband thought it was delish. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be making this a lot!


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