Desperation Marinara Sauce

This year, our tomatoes have gone wild. We have been eating so many of them that we are starting to smell like them. We planted Roma and cherry tomatoes, and I can’t count how many we’ve given away (gladly, too).

Each day we end up picking an enormous bowl of them, and I have filled six large freezer bags full of them. These days I am making loads of what I call “desperation marinara sauce” with them; I don’t want to waste all that produce.

Also, since our garlic, onions and peppers have also been prolific, they are added right in with the tomatoes. If you ever need a quick and delicious tomato sauce, this is what I’ve been making for weeks:


Lots of tomatoes, washed and chopped

Lots of *chopped onions, garlic and green peppers

1-2 T. of olive oil

1-2 cans tomato paste

a squirt of hot sauce if you like

2-3 T. agave or sugar

chopped basil leaves (feel free to use the dried kind)

chopped oregano leaves (ditto)

salt and pepper to taste

a few generous glugs of red wine

1-2 T. balsamic vinegar


In a large saucepan (or smaller if you’re going to make a smaller batch), heat the olive oil (medium heat). Drop in the chopped garlic, onions and peppers; stir. Let them soften up, and then add in the chopped tomatoes.

A word here about peeling the tomatoes: since our tomatoes are Romas, which are usually about a finger-length long, and cherries, the skins are quite thin, so I don’t bother. 

Stir everything and let the mixture heat and spread their favors around. Add in the hot sauce if you like, stir, and then add in the basil and oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir as needed; the mix is going to be chunky at this point.

Next, add in the agave or sugar. Why? Because tomato sauce can be acidic, and the agave (you use a lot less than with sugar, BTW) can give the sauce a bit of sweetness to balance it.

Depending on how much sauce you have, add in the tomato paste. Why? Because tomato paste gives the sauce more richness and body. Plus it tastes great.

Next, pour in the wine and stir. If you feel that the sauce is too lumpy, then just grab your potato masher and smoosh the lumps down. Stir and add in the balsamic vinegar, which gives the sauce a nice finish.

Try it on raviolis or whatever kind of pasta you enjoy. And it’s easy to freeze, too!

*Do yourself a favor and buy one of those chopper thingys. This is the kind I use:

Prepworks by Progressive Onion Chopper




One thought on “Desperation Marinara Sauce

  1. Jodi says:

    OH I LOVE your recipe! It is just how I like to cook with “lots,” “squirts,” and “glugs!” 🙂

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