Rustic Tomato Marinara


First of all, I owe my family, friends and coworkers a big huge apology.  You see, I will not be giving away my excess homegrown tomatoes from my garden to them ever again.  It’s not that I don’t like to share or that I am a stingy person or that I like to hoard my garden produce.  It’s just that I need the tomatoes because I have learned how to make my own homemade Rustic Tomato Marinara Sauce from scratch. And in my opinion, this Rustic Tomato Marinara sauce is worth apologizing for.


The key to this delicious sauce is freshly picked, perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes.  This bucket full of lemon boy’s, early girls, green zebras, pineapples, mortgage lifters and a handful sweet millions was used in my Rustic Tomato Marinara.  What makes this sauce “rustic” is that I did not peel the tomatoes or seed them before tossing in the pot for cooking.  I say, so what, who cares?  A stick blender takes care of the tomato skins and as a result there’s very little waste and a fantastic tomato flavor.

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My Rustic Tomato Marinara is one of those recipes that works better by taste and feel rather than following the recipe exactly.  Why?  Every variety of tomato is different and some cook faster than others.  Also, you can add whatever blend of spices and herbs you like.  If you like it spicy, add some red pepper flakes.  It’s all about you and your taste. The next time you have an overabundance of tomatoes, make some Rustic Tomato Marinara.  Enjoy! Tessa


  • 1 gallon tomatoes (about 5 pounds, quartered)
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup wine (I used red table wine)
  • 1 cup fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • about 2 – 3 cups water
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 – 2 Tbs sugar (optional)

Grab a large pot and saute the onions in the olive oil until they turn translucent.  Meanwhile, wash and remove stem scars from tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes, making sure that all the tomato chunks are somewhat uniform in size.  Add tomatoes, wine, water, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to the pot, Cook on low uncovered for 2 – 3 hours, stirring often.  Add garlic near the end of the cooking process.  Using an immersion or stick blender, blend sauce until smooth or desired consistency.  If the sauce is too watery or thin, cook the sauce longer to reduce or if it’s too thick, add more water.  Taste your sauce, add sugar if necessary.  The purpose of the sugar is to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat.  Use sauce immediately or cool and put into plastic containers to freeze for later use.  Makes about 2 – 2 1/2 quarts.

20 thoughts on “Rustic Tomato Marinara

  1. Mad Dog

    Ha ha – I completely understand your reasoning. I think I’d have to keep them all too! I always make a few batches myself from the farmer’s wonderful tomatoes before the season ends. Tinned tomatoes and the the lacklustre supermarket varieties just don’t come close :-)

    1. Tessa

      Hey Mad Dog! I completely agree with you. I would not recommend making this sauce with the tomatoes from the grocery store. It’s just not the same.

    1. Tessa

      Thank you Smidge! I have a few of my heirloom tomatoes growing in large pots. I squeeze in as many tomato plants in my little garden as I possibly can :).

  2. mjskit

    This is the first year that I’ve grown heirloom tomatoes and I’m hooked! I’ve always bought them at the growers market so I know how good they are, but there’s nothing better than picking your own. What a lovely variety of heirlooms and love the way you make a tomato sauce! No peeling, no deseeding – just all of the tomato goodness thrown into the pot. What a great tomato sauce Tessa! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Karen

    There is nothing better than enjoying a marinara sauce in the middle of winter from our homegrown tomatoes. Your garden is certainly giving you a bountiful crop this year. Loved your tomato vinaigrette as well. It seems like we are both enjoying our tomatoes this year.

  4. Raymund

    If youre not giving a way those tomatoes why not give away the sauce :)
    Thats what my colleage do, she also stopped giving tomatoes and started giving out some sauce, home made versions like this is much delicious less the preservatives.

  5. Pingback: A Review of Three Heirloom Tomatoes – Growing to Eating | MJ's Kitchen

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