Fully Loaded Marinara

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.

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.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fully Loaded Marinara
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-8 mini sweet peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small yellow crook-neck squash, chopped
  • 1 (8 oz) package mushrooms cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (26oz) jar or can of spaghetti sauce
  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


One thought 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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