Recipe by Amanda Long, food blogger at The Homemade Cook.

Weeknight cooking can be a scramble. From the time you get off work, grab the kids and head home, you would never think to make fresh homemade marinara sauce for dinner. Pop open the jar, heat and serve. 

But this recipe I’d like to share with you working moms. And I provided an Instant Pot version if you have one (or any other electric pressure cooker) to get homemade quality tomato sauce on your table, even on weeknights. The stove-top version of this recipe is just as easy and quick. 


5 large tomatoes 

1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste

½ onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic

3 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs of fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)

4 large basil leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)

1 tsp balsamic vinegar


Dice the tomatoes and all other ingredients in a blender and puree. The sauce will reduce while cooking.

In a saucepan add the marinara and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes up to 2 hours. The longer you cook the deeper the flavor will be. But it is good for a quick weeknight sauce as well.

NOTE: Add fresh diced zucchini and mushrooms for a chunkier version.

Have an Instant Pot?

Add the marinara to the instant pot. Set on high pressure for 20 minutes. 

I like to brown sausage or ground beef, drain it and then it back to the pot with the marinara and then cook it for 20 minutes to make a meat sauce.