Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Making spaghetti sauce from scratch is surprisingly easy, and not surprisingly, delicious (especially if made with locally grown or homegrown tomatoes). This one is loaded with other veggies like carrots and celery for a super healthy sauce.
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Day 41: Family Support (or Lack Thereof)

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While this dish takes a little bit of time to prepare, it takes very little skill. I recommend to double (or even triple) this recipe for lots of leftovers with little additional effort.  The extra sauce can be thrown in your freezer for another day. Now that I have spoiled my family by making this sauce with tomatoes from our garden, I am going to have to load up at the next farmer’s market and freeze enough sauce to last us until the next tomato season. Wish me luck with that one!

Also, if you think your kids will detect and detest the veggies in this sauce then try puréeing them in the food processor for a better disguise. Or you could just leave them out and increase the onion if necessary. My kids like it when I serve a side of garlic toast (whole-wheat toast topped with butter & garlic powder and toasted) with this dish.

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65 thoughts on “Homemade Spaghetti Sauce”

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  1. I have an allergy to wheat. Can substitute spelt or other flours into the recipes.

    I was eating rice crackers but they are a no, no. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks, Pat

  2. What kind of herbs (and how much) would you add to this? Never made homemade spaghetti sauce. Very excited to try this but I’m assuming you’d add some garlic and some kind of green herbs?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Your preference, really. Garlic, basil, oregano or an Italian blend of seasonings.

      1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        There are several organic brands that are tasty and fit the real food bill. I like Amy’s. Here is the ingredient list: ORGANIC TOMATO PURÉE, FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, ORGANIC BASIL, SEA SALT, ORGANIC GARLIC, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, ORGANIC BLACK PEPPER. I’ve tried several that I really like.

  3. Jennifer, if you want, you can try doing what I usually do, Rinse them the day before you’re going to use them, pat them dry, place into a zip lock bag and into the freezer. The next day, as soon as you put them under the tap with warm water their skins slides off easily.

  4. I have a bunch of very small cherry tomatoes that I would like to use up for this recipe, but peeling them seems impossible because of their size. What happens if I leave the skins on and just use an immersion blender to try and break them down?

      1. I always out the tomatoes in my vitamix with the skins on and the sauce turns out just the same.

  5. Hi!

    If I’m using fresh tomatoes, would 2 lbs = 2 cups? Or about how many cups of fresh tomatoes & juice should I use?

    Thank you!

  6. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Melissa. I don’t think the flavor is altered much and, in fact adds depth, to the sauce. The veggies should be pureed before cooking. :) ~Amy

  7. I just found your page while searching for a homemade sauce that I can sneak veggies into. I’m trying to get more veggies into my daughter who doesn’t like them very much. Any other ideas on how to get some veggies into my family where they will eat it is always welcome. I plan to check out your blog when I am done here. I wanted to know if adding the veggies in this recipe alters the taste to where they would be able to pick them out and also you said that you can puree the veggies if you wanted, where would that step go in the recipe? Thanks.

  8. Does this read that its an easy recipe but “suprisingly, not delicious”? I read that four times…still sounds like its an easy but not great recipe lol

  9. I have made my own sauce for over 25 years. I haven’t tried this sauce yet but I know when I make sauce the oil goes in the pot first and the meat is browned before I add anything. It takes away that tangy taste (that many people love), if you like a sweet sauce, brown the meat first.

  10. Sorry about my English. the canned is not good. Use the real tomatoes and they are better tasty and more health than the canned.

    Believe me.. Many European like me used the real tomatoes and no canned. Thats why they made awesome tasty than canned is a yucky.

  11. I wanted to do some canning this summer and wanted to use this sauce but i wasnt sure if i could. Do you know if that is possible or if i have to use specific recipes?

  12. I made this recipe a few days ago. I wanted something except pasta to put it on. I used some small cauliflower florettes slightly steamed. It turned out quite tasty.

  13. Lisa, I love your recipes only 1 thing …. You still use wheat or should I say gluten contaminated ingredients . I substitute w/gluten free ingredients so I can still enjoy your delicious recipes. As for gluten it was a freak thing my wife and daughter wanted to try the PALEO DIET and that was the beginning of it all. We did it for 3-4 months but I need dairy so being the chef I found it was gluten they was bothering me after I trie to eat board walk pizza and was sick for 3 days anyways keep it up delicious and yummy recipes. Don’t try gluten free unless you are sure your ready for a life change but ALL FOR THE GOOD IN SO MANY WAYS!!!

  14. Hi Amy! With all the facts about staying away from canned tomatoes (bpa in lining,etc), are the organic canned tomatoes canned differently? Thank you-

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Deb. Only if they are marked BPA free. You can also find tomatoes in both glass jars and boxes. :)~Amy

  15. How do you freeze your left over sauce? Jars? Bags? And then how do you defrost? Thinking I might brave some homemade sauce…but if I do, I’m making enough for a few meals :). Thanks!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Meaghan. Lisa uses freezer safe canning jars/jelly jars and typically allows them to thaw overnight in the fridge. ~Amy

  16. Made this and put it on spaghetti squash! Made a yummy veggie dinner! Also the long cooking time required for then sauce made my house smell so delicious!

  17. I combined your recipe with another recipe that a commenter left and let me tell you! YUM! The carrots add a sweetness that I love! I have been unsatisfied with the red sauce recipies out there, however, this turned me into a believer! I combined this with your yummy meatballs. My two year old and my husband gobbled them up! Simple, healthy and delicious. That’s my kind of food.

  18. Disappointed that an alternative to using fresh tomatoes in this recipe is canned ones. There is no way these could fit into your ‘real food’ classification. The amount of BPA in all canned foods is well known and most definitely unhealthy and not okay in a healthy lifestyle.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Anne-Marie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. There are actually some companies who are now using BPA free cans, including Muir Glen tomatoes. It’s definitely harder to find, but there are some out there who are avoiding BPA. Jill

  19. I made this to use up some garden tomatoes today. I knew my brother and dad wouldn’t like the hunks of vegetables so after I finished I puréed the sauce. Now it’s a little more orange than red but I think it will still pass picky eater inspection!! Trying to get more veggies in for boys that eat fried foods multiple times a week!

  20. I saw where you stated this recipe can be frozen. I am wondering if anyone has ever canned it and had success?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Rachel. I freeze tomato sauce all of the time so I don’t see why you couldn’t freeze this recipe. Jill

  21. I love this recipe! I use canned tomatoes though. But do you have any suggestions about brands? All the ones I find have calcium chloride added, which I guess helps keep the shape and prevent the tomatoes from breaking down in the sauce. And citric acid, although it says “naturally derived.” Are these still considered “real foods?”

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Try to find canned versions with the least amount of additives possible. There will be better options at health food stores and also with organic brands. If you don’t have good options locally you can always order online.

  22. I love your website and I am always looking for ways to have my family eat better, but I am new to this whole website so any beginner ideas you can give would be very much appreciated!!

  23. Hi Lisa, LOVE,LOVE,LOVE, this Spaghetti sauce! I have a son and I am also always trying to get as many veggies in him as possible. I made this for dinner tonight, and it was a huge success. I didn’t have celery, so I substituted it for green pepper instead. I must say both me and my husband were a little leery about the carrots (I almost didn’t add them), I’m happy I did! Thank you~Breann

  24. To me this recipe looks great. But my husband doesn’t eat chunks of tomatoes and I don’t have anyway to puree them myself. Any suggestions?

  25. Question: I am obsessed with your blog as well and have tried several of your recipes and have told all my friends they have to try cause everything has been amazing and a HUGE hit with my family…..SOOOO on to my question…..I always hear that when making spagetti sauce it takes hours could this be done in a crock pot????

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      So glad you like the blog and the recipes! I have not tried this particular recipe in the crock pot, but I have heard of “spaghetti sauce” recipes that work in the crock pot. Maybe google some of those recipes, compare it to this one and come up with your own version that works!

  26. Obsessed with your blog! I make a similar spaghetti sauce, but ALWAYS add a little red wine to the mix. The alcohol cooks out, but the flavor it adds is amazing.

  27. Hi Lisa,

    Do you have a pizza sauce recipe or do you modify this one at all for pizza?

    Thanks and I continue to love your blog!


    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I actually buy our pizza sauce at our farmer’s market…are you in the Charlotte area? If so it’s at the Matthews Market and it is so good!!

  28. House of Twirls

    Hi Lisa!
    I am brand new to your blog and I must say the more I read the more I want to cry out of joy that I am not the only person/ mom that is trying to go back to REAL food!
    You are an inspiration and thank you for posting all these amazing recipes!
    I also turned my family’s traditional and wonderful sauce into my sneaky vegetable spaghetti sauce. The main difference is that I use summer squash and zucchini chopped up and thrown in after everything else is ready to stew. It looks like it will never blend in but give it a couple of hours. Not much left for the kids to gripe about, especially when we use it for extra cheesy baked ziti/ penne the second night!
    Grateful in Florida,

  29. A good alternative for a “creamy sauce” is tofutti sour cream with herbs/cheese…it is a lot better for you while adding in the cream you so desire.

  30. Lisa, I am really loving your blog! I found it on a Food Inc fb post! i was inspired by you and made whole wheat asparagus pancakes with ww flour, baking powder, fresh locally grown asparagus, organic eggs, organic grass fed skim milk, salt pepper and organic cheddar cheese. I used ffree greek yogurt with tequilla lime seasoning i got from whole foods to dip. YUMMY! Did I get all the rules right? Ok now that I have gotten off track, let me get back to my original question…I have tons of home grown Rutgers tomatoes, can I make “gravy” with that too?

    1. Thank you for the comment and it sounds like you are on the right track with all of your ingredients! Also, I think any variety of tomatoes would be good in the sauce it would probably just slightly alter the end result depending on what you use. Any homegrown tomatoes would be delicious in there though!

    2. Thank you for the comment and it sounds like you are on the right track with all of your ingredients! Also, I think any variety of tomatoes would be good in the sauce it would probably just slightly alter the end result depending on what you use. Any homegrown tomatoes would be delicious in there though!

  31. To me, this sounds more like a vegetable sauce than a traditional marinara or “spaghetti” sauce. Here’s how I make mine:

    1 medium onion, diced
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    28 oz can Muir Glen tomato puree
    1/2 cup red wine
    Fresh basil from my garden
    Salt & Pepper
    1 Tablespoon olive oil

    Saute onion in oil until softened, add garlic and cook for a minute. Add wine and cook until almost all the liquid is gone. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes.

    Sometimes I add a pat of butter or two at the end – it really rounds out the flavors and mellows the sauce if it’s too acidic. I also like to add chopped fresh tomatoes, if they are available from my garden. I add them when I add the puree.

    This sauce is amazing! It’s honestly the best marinara sauce my husband and I have ever had. We use it for pasta as well as pizza sauce.

    1. Yes, you are right it is more of a vegetable tomato sauce. I guess being a mom of little ones I am always trying to fit veggies in whenever I can! I just printed your recipe and look forward to trying it as well. Thank you!

  32. I have a question unrelated to this recipe, but related to pasta in general. For pasta dishes that are cream-based, what would you use for the cream, to make it an “approved” pasta dish? I just love those cream pasta dishes, and usually stay clear of them in general, but there HAS to be a healthy alternative!

    1. Cream is technically not “highly processed” therefore it is okay to still use. I would just use it in moderation. There are many ways to define eating “healthy” (I will address this in a future blog post) and those on a “low fat” diet may avoid cream all together. I don’t really see cutting out processed foods as a diet though it is a more of a new lifestyle where cream is acceptable, but should be used in moderation (just like natural sweeteners, oils, etc.). I hope that helps!