Homemade Roasted Tomato Marinara sauce is easy to make and so delicious! When fresh ripe tomatoes are in season this easy marinara sauce with balsamic roasted juicy tomatoes, onions and garlic is a must make!
This easy recipe will become one of your favorite things during tomato season! The roasting process caramelized the tomatoes, onion and garlic, brining out their natural sweetness and giving delicious flavors to the homemade tomato sauce.
We love our easy marinara sauce recipe but when juicy ripe tomatoes are at their prime this homemade pasta sauce is a weekly recipe. It can be used for everything from pasta, zucchini noodles, for dipping, on pizzas and wraps and more. Everything is roasted together on a baking sheet drizzled with balsamic vinegar and processed in a food processor.
You control the sauce thickness to your liking. Make it a chunky sauce or a smooth sauce. Use it however you'd use a delicious sauce.
What makes this skinny?
- The sauce is mainly vegetables: tomatoes, onions and garlic.
- We use some olive oil spray in addition to olive oil. This allows reducing the amount of olive oil used while getting the same result!
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Roma tomatoes. Also referred to as plum tomatoes, these fresh tomatoes are perfect for making sauce due to the low water content and dense tomato flavor. Choose fully ripe blemish-free tomatoes. You'll need 2 pounds.
Yellow onion. Use one medium to large yellow onion peeled and cut into quarters.
Head of garlic. The garlic will be roasted in the skin along with the tomatoes and onion. Do not peel the garlic or remove the cloves of garlic from the head before starting the recipe. Choose a large head of garlic.
Balsamic vinegar. This sweet vinegar is less acidic and adds an incredible flavor to the sauce.
How to make Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce
Printable recipe card at the end of the blog post.
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large rimmed sheet pan with foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
STEP 2. Prepare the garlic
Slice the top off the top of the head of garlic, making sure to leave it intact. Drizzle 1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil over the top of the garlic and wrap it tightly in foil.
STEP 3. Roast
Add the tomatoes and onion to the pan. Lightly spritz with olive oil spray then and drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil along with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar (photo 1). Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Add the foil wrapped garlic to the pan.
Roast for 35 minutes, or until the tomatoes are caramelized and the onions are golden brown (photo 2).
STEP 4. Make the sauce
Remove the garlic from the foil and squeeze out the garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor - be careful, it will be hot!
Add the roasted tomatoes, roasted onion, remaining two tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil (photo 3). Puree to your desired consistency (keep it a chunky thicker sauce or process to a smooth sauce) and season with salt and pepper to taste (photo 4).
Add some red pepper flakes. If you like a touch of spicy flavor, add some red pepper flakes to the finished fresh tomato sauce.
Use other fresh herbs. The fresh basil is perfect but you can also add other herbs like fresh thyme, rosemary, or Italian parsley (or a combination).
Using a large roasting pan. If you don't have a large rimmed baking sheet, a roasting pan or baking dish can be substituted.
How to Use
The recipe makes 2 ½ cups of sauce which is perfect for a pound of pasta. But there are so many other ways to use this homemade marinara sauce!
- As a pizza sauce
- On zucchini noodles or your favorite pasta (try a high protein pasta like chickpea pasta or lentil)
- As a dipping sauce
- Any way you'd use spaghetti sauce
- As a base for making tomato soup
- In roasting dishes for chicken, other meats or vegetables
- As a marinade or part of a marinade
- On sandwiches or wraps
- In a frittata
- In lasagna or our Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups
Frequently Asked Questions
2 ½ cups. The perfect amount for a pound of pasta and so many other uses! Depending on how it's being used, ¼ cup to ½ cup is generally considered a serving size. We based the nutrition facts on ½-cup serving size.
You can although avoid varieties that are very watery or with lots of seeds. If using cherry tomatoes the roasting time would be shorter due to their size. Monitor them during cooking so they do not burn or over cook.
You can! Or an immersion blender (though you'll need to add the ingredients to a large bowl first). The ingredients will be hot to handle everything safely when adding to the blender.
No!! That is used as a trick to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes in a regular tomato sauce. Most Roma tomatoes, the type we use for this sauce, are low acid tomatoes without many tomato seeds. Also the balsamic vinegar is slightly sweet too which removes the need for added sugar.
How to Store
Store the marinara sauce in an airtight container (a quart Mason jar works great) in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in an freezer-safe airtight container or freezer bags in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to use.
HOT TIP: You can even freeze the sauce in ice cube trays to use just a little at a time!