Fully Loaded Marinara Sauce

Fully Loaded Marinara

Fully loaded marinara sauce is a way to sneak lots of vegetables into your family’s pasta dinner.  The chunks of vegetables effectively hide the fact that there’s no meat in this sauce.   Baker’s man didn’t utter a complaint.  If, however, your family eschews vegetables, simpley blend all of the vegetables into a smooth sauce to hide them.  Of course, this method will make the carnivores in the house realize there’s not meat in the sauce, but…

Disclaimer:  The photo above is of bolognese sauce which is why it looks like there’s meat in it.   I didn’t have a photo for this recipe, but will eventually update the post to contain one.     

Pasta is an inexpensive pantry staple which can be used to create a variety of delicious and nutritious dishes.  In fact, pasta is considered one of the world’s favorite dishes.  Whole grain pasta bathed in marinara is actually a fairly healthy dish.   In addition, many pasta dishes are quick and easy to prepare.

Before I get to today’s recipe, let’s talk about what is the best way to prepare your pasta dishes, but first, let me give you a list of a few different ways that people cook Spaghetti sauce.

Option A:  The sauce comes from a jar or can, and is heated up on the stove with a few frozen meatballs tossed into the sauce as it heats.

Option B:  This cook starts by browning some ground beef in a pan and then tops it with a jar of pasta sauce.  Once it’s heated through, it’s served over spaghetti noodles.

Option C:  This batch of spaghetti begins with some sauteed onions and bell peppers and  some browned Italian sausage.  Once these ingredients are cooked, a jar of spaghetti sauce is poured over the top and heated.

Option D:  The sauce is made with freshly chopped onions, garlic, herbs and spices mixed with crushed tomatoes and simmered on the stove for hours until the flavors have combined.

So which one is the best?  The answer may surprise you.

All of them are equal.  No matter how you make or reheat your spaghetti sauce, it is better and more economical and usually healthier to make it yourself than to run to a restaurant and buy it.    The important thing is that you are trying to cook at home.  You’ll notice that the recipe below is actually a combination of options C and D, and it’s great with either ground meat sauteed with the vegetables in the beginning or with meatballs tossed in while the sauce is simmering.

What will you need to make this recipe?

From the Pantry:

  • olive oil
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • dried basil
  • dried parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • crushed tomatoes
  • spaghetti sauce

From the Refrigerator:

  • mini sweet peppers
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • yellow crookneck squash
  • mushrooms

From the Root Cellar:

  • onion
  • garlic

Today’s recipe could also be called clean out the fridge spaghetti.  It’s a favorite dish for those times when vegetables are abundant and you need to use them up.  It’s also  a great way to sneak a few extra veggies into dinner.  It’s also a great way to make a vegetarian dish for meatless Mondays, and if you puree the sauce, your kids, or your picky husband, will never know that they’re eating extra vegetables.  Personally, I prefer a chunky sauce, so we just serve a more rustic sauce.

Give our recipe for Fully Loaded Marinara a try and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fully Loaded Marinara
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
A thick and hearty marinara sauce so chock full of vegetables that no one will miss the meat. This is a great sauce to use to top pasta on a meatless Monday. Total Cost of Recipe is $4.18 or about $0.53 per serving. A pound of pasta costs about $1.00, so this meal is very frugal and very nutritious.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil ($0.28)
  • 7-8 mini sweet peppers, thinly sliced ($1.00)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped ($0.19)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.11)
  • ½ cup shredded carrots ($0.13)
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped ($0.50)
  • 1 small yellow crook-neck squash, chopped ($0.34)
  • 1 (8 oz) package mushrooms cut into bite sized pieces ($1.00)
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite Italian seasoning blend ($0.12)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil ($0.06)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley ($0.04)
  • salt and pepper, to taste ($0.03)
  • 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes ($1.28)
  • 1 (24oz) jar or can of spaghetti sauce ($1.00)
  1. Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in olive oil until they begin to sweat.
  2. Add shredded carrot and saute for a few minutes until carrot is beginning to get tender.
  3. Add chopped zucchini, crookneck squash and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes until squash begins to wilt and mushrooms release their liquid.
  4. Season with Italian seasoning, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper and mix well.
  5. Allow to cook for a few minutes to allow flavors to combine.
  6. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
  7. Add crushed tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and mix well.
  8. Bring to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
  9. Serve over pasta

Fully Loaded Marinara Sauce is loaded with so many vegetables that no one will notice there's not meat.
This photo is of bolognese sauce. I didn’t have a photo of this vegetarian sauce. I will update this post the next time I make this sauce.

This post was updated March 2018 to add pricing and Nutrition Facts.

Nutrition Information is for 1/8th of the Fully Loaded Marinara Sauce recipe without pasta.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 0.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 647mg
Total Carbohydrates 28.6g
Dietary Fiber 4.9g
Sugars 12.5g
Protein 5.7g
Vitamin D 510%
Potassium  22%
Calcium 6%
Iron 20%

Disclaimer:  Nutritional information is calculated using online tools such as those available at cronometer.com or verywellfit.com.  We make every attempt to ensure that this information is calculated correctly, but this information should be considered estimates.   Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe.  In addition, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition-fact sources, databases and the algorithms used.   You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.  Under no circumstances will PattyCakesPantry.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information provided. 

3 thoughts on “Fully Loaded Marinara

  1. Years ago I used to make my own spaghetti sauce similar to Option D. Like Option D, I cooked it for hours. It was the best spaghetti sauce! But your recipe looks very nutritious and appetizing. It makes me want to make spaghetti!

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