Give your pizza night a serious upgrade with my homemade Low-Sodium Marinara Pizza Sauce. Made with fewer than 10 ingredients and only a few minutes of active prep, this super versatile Pizza Marinara recipe is the DIY condiment you didn’t know you needed!
I love a good homemade pizza. The sauce, the toppings, all the cheese. Honestly, make-your-own-pizza night is one of my favorite things when I don’t know what else to make for dinner!
Pro Tip: Pizza night is also an awesome interactive dinner! Let everyone have a personal-sized base, then serve all the toppings on the side so everyone gets the exact pizza they want. CRISIS AVERTED.
But store-bought pizza sauce is awful. Why is it so runny and salty? A bad sauce can ruin your homemade pizza. Good pizza sauce makes all the difference!
Oh, and if that weren’t enough to love, this delectable red sauce is as versatile as they come. Use it for pasta, as the base of a shakshuka, layered into my favorite pasta-less pasta bake. It’s rich, thick, and perfect in every way, for any occasion.
- What is pizza marinara?
- What does it taste like?
- Why You’ll Love This Pizza Marinara Sauce Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How To Make Marinara Sauce for Pizza (& More!)
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- Pizza Marinara Nutrition
- Pricing Info
- Other Italian-style recipes:
What is pizza marinara?
Picture this: you’re strolling through the streets of Naples, the birthplace of pizza, and you catch a whiff of something utterly irresistible. It’s that tantalizing aroma of a piping-hot pizza with marinara sauce!
In case you didn’t know, marinara is the unsung hero of the pizza world. It’s a simple and vibrant tomato-based sauce that’s bursting with flavor. It’s essentially the Ina Garten of pizza toppings, suave and sophisticated, yet oh-so-deliciously humble. No fancy frills or complicated methods here! All you need are a few key players: tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, some herbs, and a sprinkle of magic.
You might be wondering, “Why is it called ‘marinara’?” Well, legend has it that Italian sailors used to whip up this sauce on their ships during long voyages. See, “marinara” means “mariner’s” sauce in Italian. Those clever sailors knew that even on choppy seas, they could count on this sauce to give them a tomato-ey taste of home.
What makes this pizza marinara so drool-worthy is that perfect balance of tangy and savory flavors. The tomatoes provide a natural sweetness, while the garlic adds a subtle kick. And the herbs? They’re the supporting actors in this blockbuster, adding depth and bringing the whole sauce ensemble together.
This better-than-Pizza Hut marinara sauce is the ideal companion for a classic Neapolitan pizza, which usually consists of a thin, chewy crust topped with this vibrant red sauce, a sprinkle of oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s like a Mediterranean dance party in your mouth!
What’s the difference between marinara and pizza sauce? Is marinara the same as pizza sauce?
If you’ve been wondering “is pizza sauce marinara sauce?” The answer is yes — they are one and the same! That means while this pizza tomato sauce is excellent on your favorite pie, it’s also a delight on pasta or as a marinara dipping sauce for soft and chewy breadsticks.
What does it taste like?
Prepare yourself for a taste that’s gonna make you go, “Mamma mia!”
First, we’ve got olive oil strutting its stuff, adding a smooth, slightly fruity note to the homemade marinara sauce. It’s the kind of ingredient that whispers, “Ciao, bella!” as it coats your tongue. Then, here comes garlic, the life of the party! It brings that unmistakable zing and earthiness, like a tiny flavor bomb that explodes with aromatic goodness.
Next up, we pour in a splash of red wine. Oh, we’re getting fancy now! It adds a subtle richness and depth to the marinara pizza sauce, giving the sauce a touch of elegance that makes you feel like you’re dining in a fancy Italian trattoria.
Now, let’s bring in the stars of the show: canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. These pantry heroes team up to bring the sauciness to life! The crushed tomatoes bring a burst of freshness, while the tomato paste adds a concentrated umami richness that’ll make your tastebuds do a happy dance.
To spice things up a bit, we sprinkle in some dry oregano. It’s the little herb that could, infusing the sauce with a delightful earthiness and a touch of fragrant nostalgia. And what about onion powder? It’s the sauce’s best-kept secret, adding a subtle hint of savory sweetness that keeps you coming back for more — no tears required.
Next up we have fresh basil, the crown jewel of our pizza marinara sauce! Its vibrant green leaves bring a touch of freshness and a burst of aromatic delight. Just imagine tearing up those leaves and scattering them over the sauce like confetti! 🎉
Finally, we season it all with a pinch of salt, the humble flavor enhancer that brings out the best in every ingredient. But, since we’re making this at home, we can keep the sodium levels in check. Low-sodium marinara sauce FTW!
Now, take a moment and envision the result: a luscious, velvety red sauce with layers of flavors, from the tangy sweetness of the tomatoes to the aromatic herbs and spices. This marinara sauce recipe for pizza is a culinary fireworks display, exploding with delight in your mouth. Now all that’s left to do is pile on all your favorite pizza toppings.
Why You’ll Love This Pizza Marinara Sauce Recipe
Oh, homemade pizza sauce, you’re truly the saucy superstar of the culinary world! There’s something magical about crafting your own sauces and condiments from scratch. It’s like giving your pizza a personalized, VIP treatment that no store-bought sauce can replicate.
Perhaps my favorite part about DIY-ing your own pizza sauce is that you’re in control of every ingredient. That means you can customize it to suit your taste AND add a pinch of love to every simmer. The result? A sauce that’s bursting with freshness, flavor, and that special homemade touch.
Aside from being the best marinara sauce for pizza, this recipe is also:
- Made With Fewer Than 10 Ingredients – And most of them are pantry staples. 😉
- Quick & Easy – You’ll have enough marinara to make 2 large pizzas in just 30 minutes or less.
- Versatile – Yes, marinara is a delight on pizza. But it’s also super yummy on just about any kind of pasta, paired with meatballs on a sub, or as a marinara dip sauce for bread of any kind!
- Budget-Friendly – Making your own restaurant-quality marinara sauce isn’t just easy, it’s also a smart way to get gourmet flavors on a shoestring budget.
- Healthy – Homemade pizza sauce is free from artificial ingredients, preservatives, coloring, and high fructose corn syrup. Plus, I’ve also crafted this recipe to be low-sodium so you can eat at will without the bloat!
As promised, you only need a few simple ingredients to make this pizza marinara sauce recipe. Here’s what to grab:
- Olive Oil – I prefer the flavor of extra virgin olive oil, but any olive oil will do.
- Garlic – Fresh is best, but I won’t tell if you use jarred minced garlic or frozen garlic paste to save on prep time.
- Red Wine – You’ll only need a bit, so there will be plenty leftover for drinking with your homemade ‘za! If you’re not much of a drinker, I strongly suggest getting a box of red wine for your pantry. The airtight design makes it perfect for long-term storage.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes – For bright tomatoey flavor and the perfect saucy viscosity.
- Tomato Paste – For adding extra depth of flavor and a bit of umami goodness, plus helping avoid the dreaded thin pizza sauce conundrum. If possible, reach for double-concentrated tomato paste for the best flavor.
- Dry Oregano – This earthy, slightly peppery Italian mainstay is a must for pizza sauce.
- Onion Powder – For mild allium sweetness without any fuss.
- Salt – For basic seasoning. Just a tad makes a huge difference!
- Fresh Basil – For a bright, herbaceous note.
If your pantry is in need of a restock, but you still want to make this pizza marinara recipe, here are some easy swaps you can make:
- Olive Oil – While olive oil feels decidedly more Italian than any other options, you’re welcome to use the oil of your choice here.
- Garlic – In a pinch, you can use ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove of garlic. If you’re garlic-free, try using a pinch of asafoetida instead.
- Red Wine – If you don’t have red wine on hand, try using sweet, syrupy balsamic vinegar instead.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes – If you want to use fresh tomatoes, opt for a meaty variety like Romas. Give them a quick blanch in boiling water, then peel and roughly chop them before blitzing them in a blender or food processor. Alternatively, you can use tomato purée or even canned tomato sauce, although this will result in a thinner, smoother sauce.
- Dry Oregano – You can use 3x as much fresh oregano, or swap in Italian seasoning instead.
- Onion Powder & Salt – If you have onion salt on hand, you can use it instead of onion powder and salt.
- Fresh Basil – In a pinch, you can use ⅓ as much dried basil instead.
How To Make Marinara Sauce for Pizza (& More!)
My simple marinara sauce for pizza recipe comes together in under 30 minutes. Here’s how:
Step 1: Cook garlic. Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, until slightly golden.
Step 2: Simmer wine. Add the red wine and heat for 1-2 minutes, until reduced by about half.
Step 3: Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, onion powder, and salt. Stir until combined, then cover and cook on low for 5-6 minutes.
Step 4: Finish the sauce by stirring in the fresh basil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before making your pizza!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
While I think this is the best marinara pizza sauce around, taste is subjective. Here are a few ways you can customize the recipe to fit your exact preferences:
There are plenty of optional variations and dietary adaptations you can explore to make this recipe your own. Here are a few ideas to get your culinary creativity flowing:
- Veggie Power: Embrace the goodness of vegetables by adding your favorites to the sauce. Consider finely diced bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, or even some roasted eggplant. Sauté them before adding the garlic at the beginning of the recipe.
- Spice it Up: If you like your pizza to have a spicy kick, feel free to add some crushed red pepper flakes or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the sauce.
- Herb Extravaganza: While oregano is the traditional herb for pizza marinara, there are plenty of others to play with. Try adding a pinch of thyme, rosemary, or even a hint of dried basil to enhance the herbaceous notes in your sauce.
- Extra Low-Sodium: If you’re watching your sodium intake, opt for no-salt-added canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to reduce the salt content even further.
Here are a few fun and flavorful marinara sauce pizza ideas that you can make using your delicious marinara sauce:
- Margherita Magic: Stick to the classics with a Margherita pizza. Top your pizza with a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce, fresh slices of melty mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and bake to bubbly perfection. Simple, yet oh-so-delicious!
- Mediterranean Delight: Take your tastebuds on a flavorful journey with a Mediterranean-inspired pizza topped with crumbled feta cheese, sliced black olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and a sprinkle of dried oregano.
- Pesto Paradise: Combine the flavors of marinara sauce and pesto for a heavenly combination. Add your favorite toppings like sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spinach, and grilled chicken.
- Veggie Galore: Celebrate the vibrant world of veggies with a loaded veggie pizza. Spread marinara sauce on the dough, then pile it high with your favorite roasted vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions, spinach, and zucchini. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake until the crust is crispy and the toppings are tender. It’s a garden-fresh delight!
- Breakfast Pizza: Pizza for breakfast? Count me in! Create a brunch-inspired pie by spreading marinara sauce on the dough and topping it with cooked bacon or sausage, sautéed mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and cracked eggs. Bake until the eggs are cooked to your liking, and indulge in a hearty breakfast pizza.
While I love serving this marinara sauce on pizza, it can also add a delicious twist to a variety of dishes. Here are some playful, non-pizza serving ideas to explore:
- Dippity-Dip: Set up a sauce bar with marinara sauce as the star. Serve it alongside an array of dippable goodies like breadsticks, garlic knots, mozzarella sticks, or even crispy fried vegetables. When you dip, I dip, we dip.
- Stuffed Sensations: Use the marinara sauce as a delectable filling for stuffed veggies. Scoop out zucchini, bell peppers, or portobello mushrooms and stuff them with a flavorful mix of the sauce, breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs, then bake until tender.
- Zucchini Lasagna – Made with thin slices of zucchini “noodles,” protein-packed turkey, plenty of cheese, and homemade marinara? It’s 🧑🍳-kiss fantastic.
- Marvelous Meatball Subs: Whip up classic meatball subs by simmering meatballs in the marinara sauce until they’re tender and coated in that saucy goodness. Pile them onto a crusty roll, sprinkle with grated cheese, and pop them under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and golden. It’s a hearty handheld delight! (You can also miniaturize them for some seriously scarf-able sliders 🍔 )
- Pasta Perfection: Cook your favorite pasta (spaghetti, penne, or rigatoni, perhaps?), toss it in the marinara sauce, and serve with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Add some fresh basil leaves for a pop of color and freshness.
Recipe Success Tips
There are a few things I’ve learned about how to make marinara sauce for pizza:
- Sauté Gently – You want the garlic to become lightly softened and fragrant, but don’t want to let it get too much color.
- Simmer For Thickness – If your sauce feels too loose, just keep simmering it to evaporate away any excess liquid. Make sure to stir it on occasion to keep it from scorching or sticking to the bottom of your pan. While a short simmer will yield a tasty sauce, you can also continue to simmer it for up to an hour to further develop the flavors.
- Use Non-Reactive Cookware – Stainless steel or enamel is perfect. Avoid cast iron (unless it’s coated with enamel), as the acidity of the tomatoes will react with the metal and cause your sauce to taste like a 9-volt battery. 🤢
- Give It A Rest – Much like soups and stews, marinara pizza sauce is better after a day or so in the fridge.
You can definitely use marinara sauce for homemade pizza. Most people will not be able to tell the difference, especially after you add all of your pizza toppings! This pizza marinara sauce can be used as pizza sauce or as marinara!
It sure does! In fact, it’s my go-to red sauce for pizza.
Yep! Freezing marinara sauce is a great way to extend the shelf life of this delightful condiment. To make freezer marinara sauce, allow it to cool completely before freezing. Pour into wide-mouth jars, leaving 1-2 inches of room at the top of each jar to allow it to expand while it freezes.
Pro Tip: Pizza dough and cheese can also be frozen for future use!
To make this pizza marinara sauce vegan, ensure that the wine you use is vegan-friendly (some wines use animal-derived fining agents). Double-check that your tomato paste doesn’t contain any added animal products. Otherwise, this recipe is naturally vegan-friendly and full of flavor!
Pizza sauce works great on top of chicken, flatbread, in pastas, and even as a dipping sauce!
Yes, you can! Make sure to use wide-mouthed jars, and leave about 2 inches at the top for the pizza sauce to expand in the freezer. If you fill the jars too full, they will break and your pizza sauce will be ruined!
Pizza Marinara Nutrition
Let’s have a chat about why homemade marinara sauce is the bee’s knees when it comes to healthier options. Get ready for some tasty knowledge!
When you whip up marinara sauce from scratch in your own kitchen, you become the boss of what goes into it. No more additives, preservatives, or excessive sodium and sugar that often sneak their way into store-bought versions. It’s like waving goodbye to those sneaky fillers and saying hello to a sauce base that’s all about pure deliciousness and healthier choices!
Now, let’s talk about the star of our show—the mighty tomato! Those juicy beauties are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, not to mention the superhero antioxidant called lycopene. This lycopene fella has been linked to all sorts of awesome health benefits, like reducing the risk of certain cancers and keeping your heart happy. Who knew pizza could be a health food?!?
This pizza marinara sauce is really low in calories, carbohydrates, and sodium, and is full of flavor without a ton of added preservatives, sugars, oils, and other additives you may find in other pizza sauces.
Compared to other pizza sauces, I think the biggest different here is the sodium level. Most store-bought pizza sauce is loaded with sodium, and usually has added sugar, too! 🤨
There is minimal sodium in this recipe without any sacrifice of flavor, and the only added sugar here is from the wine, and that’s pretty negligible.
Overall, this is one healthy homemade pizza sauce that you can feel good about feeding to your family!
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 39 calories
- Total Fat: 1 gram
- Protein: 1 gram
- Sodium: 176 mg
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
What I paid to make this recipe:
- 2 tsp olive oil: $.15
- 4 fresh garlic cloves: $.10
- ¼ cup red wine: $1.00
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes: $.89
- ¼ cup tomato paste: $.23
- 2 tsp dry oregano: $.12
- ½ tsp onion powder: $.01
- ¼ tsp salt: $.01
- 2 tbsp fresh basil: $.35
Total for 30 oz of sauce comes out to be $2.86, or $.24 per serving!
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Low Sodium Pizza Marinara Sauce
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 fresh garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup red wine
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tsp dry oregano
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fresh basil minced
- Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, until slightly golden.
- Add the red wine and heat for 1-2 minutes, until reduced by about half.
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, onion powder, and salt. Stir until combined, then cover and cook on low for 5-6 mintes.
- After about 5-6 minutes, uncover and stir in the fresh basil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before making your pizza! This makes about 30 oz of sauce, or roughly enough sauce for 12 servings/2 large pizzas.
- After the sauce is done cooking, allow to cool completely before freezing. Pour into wide-mouth jars, leaving 1-2 inches of room at the top of each jar to allow it to expand while it freezes.
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Upgrade your homemade pizza night with this pizza marinara sauce from scratch! In only 15 minutes, you’ll have the most flavorful, freezer-friendly sauce ever!