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Hearty Marinara Sauce in Pan

Fresh Marinara Walnut Sauce Recipe

A satisfyingly simple and hearty marinara sauce made with fresh tomatoes, walnuts and lightly roasted garlic. This homemade pasta sauce is fabulous on spaghetti, lasagna, baked ziti or zoodles! Fresh Marinara Walnut Sauce is freezer friendly, vegan and gluten free.  | This recipe makes 4 C (1kg). At about 1/2 a cup each, this recipe serves 8.
Course Condiment, Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Hearty Marinara Sauce, Marinara Sauce Recipe Fresh Tomatoes, Spicy Marinara Sauce, Walnut Marinara Sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 168kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


  • 3 lbs (1.37 kg) Fresh Tomatoes I like stupice, roma, early girl and/or a variety of heirloom.
  • 1/4 C (60g) + 2 Tbs + 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided
  • 3-4 Cloves of Garlic large and plump
  • 3/4 C (75g) Walnuts
  • 1 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes For a more mellow spice, add 1/2 tsp or take it up, using 1 tsp.
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 5-6 Leaves of Fresh Basil optional
  • 1/2-1 tsp Sugar optional but helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Taste your sauce before adding. If too acidic, add a little sugar.
  • For Serving (optional): Favorite Pasta, Pesto, Parm and fresh torn Basil


  • Preheat oven to 450f (232C) and set oven rack in the center. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Remove stems of the tomatoes and slice in half. Place on prepared sheet pan and toss with 2 Tbs of olive oil. Arrange tomatoes evenly on the pan. Place the garlic (skins removed) on a small piece of foil, drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil and wrap loosely. Place the foil packet on the sheet pan with the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes and garlic for 25-30 minutes rotating the pan once while roasting. If you have time, the garlic will benefit from another 10 minutes in the oven. The tomatoes should be soft, juicy and with some charring. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • At some point while the tomatoes and garlic are roasting, toast the walnuts in the oven on a small sheet pan for 4-5 minutes. This is a high heat for walnuts, so they can burn quickly if left in the oven too long, so keep an eye on them! They'll be golden and fragrant when ready. Set aside to cool.
  • In the work bowl of a food processor, or blender add the roasted tomatoes and all their juices, garlic, walnuts, tomato paste, pepper flakes, sea salt, oregano and basil if using. Pulse ingredients a few times, then pour remaining olive oil (1/4 C / 60g) in a steady stream while pulsing the blender or processor. Taste for salt and sugar adjustment. Add a few grinds of black pepper if desired. An immersion blender can be used as well.

How to Store Marinara Sauce

  • Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to one year. I use canning jars to store this recipe.

Easy Serving Suggestion

  • Share this hearty marinara sauce with your favorite pasta. Thin with reserved pasta water and serve with Parmesan, fresh torn herbs and top with pesto. Don't forget the crusty bread and bottle of red!


Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 467mg | Potassium: 484mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1572IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg