When it comes to a great homemade marinara sauce, there's really no store bought comparison. Making it from scratch is the way to go! This refined sugar-free, Paleo & Whole30-friendly recipe yields a huge batch of delicious sauce, perfect to have on hand for any recipe that calls for a great tomato or marinara sauce! Rich, rustic and full-bodied, this sauce has that all-day simmered flavor, but only takes about an hour from start to finish thanks to the Instant Pot! Marina recipes are a dime a dozen, but this one truly stands out amongst the rest!
Having a tried and true tomato sauce recipe under your belt is basically a right of passage into food blogging land. Am I right?! That being said, I am longgggg overdue for getting this recipe posted. I've been tinkering with it for weeks, and it's FINALLY PERFECT! This marinara sauce is FAR from basic. With ingredients like roasted red peppers, fire roasted tomatoes and plenty of herbs and spices, this sauce puts any and all store bought pasta sauces to shame. It will make your house smell like your wining and dining in a restaurant in the heart of Little Italy or like ...real Italy.
This hearty and delicious homemade sauce goes with so many dishes -pasta, meatballs, pizza, you name it! The possibilites are endless. I used to always have a jar of store bought, overpriced sauce in my pantry, but since developing this recipe I always have plenty of my own stashed away in the freezer for quick and delicious Italian-inspired dinners.
Ingredients for the Best Instant Pot Marinara Sauce
- Carrots, Red Onion & Celery: in French cooking, this combination of ingredients is called a "mirepoix." In my opinion, all good sauces begin with a mirepoix. In this recipe, it serves as a building block for an incredibly flavorful, aromatic tomato sauce.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves: duh.
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Unsweetened Grape Juice
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- Diced Tomatoes (Canned or Fresh): if using fresh tomatoes, make sure they're in-season and perfectly ripened.
- Vegetable Broth (or Water)
- Italian Seasoning Blend
- Coconut Sugar: coconut sugar is out on a Whole30 unfortunately, so omit this if you're on a round.
- Parsley, Sea Salt, Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes, Pepper, Nutmeg
- Tomato Paste
How to Make this Marinara Sauce Whole30 Compliant
First and foremost, make sure you're checking the ingredients on all of the canned goods. Finding compliant roasted red peppers, canned tomatoes and vegetable broth is fairly simple. but they're certainly not all created equal. READ, READ, READ those labels!
Although coconut sugar is considered Paleo, it's out on a Whole30 because it's ...sugar. No biggie. Simply leave it out for a Whole30 compliant pasta sauce or replace it with 2 to 3 pureed dates.
How to Make Marinara Sauce in the Instant Pot
Begin by prepping all of the ingredients that need to be prepped. Rough chop the carrots, celery and red onion. Peel and smash the garlic cloves. Dice the roasted red peppers, and if you're using fresh tomatoes in place of canned diced tomatoes go ahead and dice those up now as well.
Preheat the Instant Pot. Program it to "SAUTE" (normal heat). When the pot displays "HOT," add the EVOO . Warm the oil until it's hot but not smoking (about a minute). Add the chopped carrots to the pot and saute until they just begin to soften (about 2 minutes). Next, add the chopped celery and onion (saute for 1 minute), followed by the garlic cloves. Give everything a good stir. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add the grape juice to the pot. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have absorbed most of the liquid and then turn the Instant Pot off ("CANCEL").
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, except for the tomato paste! Stir everything together and then add the tomato paste to the top (don't stir it in to everything else)!
Now all you need to do is leave it to your Instant Pot to work it's magic. Lock the lid in place, seal the valve and program the Instant Pot to "HIGH PRESSURE" for 30 minutes. It will take about 20 minutes for the IP to begin pressure cooking. Once the IP beeps and the cooking has completed, turn the IP off, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid and bask in the glory of your homemade marina sauce.
Once you're done basking, using either an immersion blender or a blender, blend the sauce at high speed until the smooth, desired consistency of traditional marina is reached. If you're using a blender, you'll probably have to work in batches. I like to portion the sauce into freezer-safe baggies (about a pint each) and freeze them until they're needed for a recipe.
Uses for Instant Pot Paleo Tomato Sauce
This recipe yields about 3 quarts of sauce, so you're going to have plenty to store away for later. This sauce is great to have on hand whenever a recipe calls for delicious tomato or marinara sauce. I like serving it:
- as pizza sauce.
- with my favorite gluten-free pasta or sprialized vegetables.
- as a sauce to simmer fresh meatballs in.
- as a flavorful sauce to poach fresh white fish in.
- as a simmer sauce for eggs.
- as a delicious liquid to steam fresh shell fish (mussels and clams in).
- with a spoon.
How to Store Marinara Sauce
Before refrigerating or freezing, cool the sauce to room temperature. Homemade marinara sauce will last in an airtight container for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. I simply ladle 2 cup portions in freezer-safe plastic baggies and freeze them until I need tomato sauce for a recipe. You can either defrost the sauce in the refrigerator for a few hours or in a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes.
Instant Pot Marina Sauce FAQs
My Instant Pot is warning me that it's "BURNing." Now what?!
Don't panic. This is most likely happening because you stirred the tomato paste into the sauce. Doing so made the sauce itself too thick and the IP is most likely detecting that there isn't enough thin liquid in the pot and the bottom is becoming too hot triggering the "BURN" warning. Once again, don't panic. If your IP is telling you the sauce is burning, simply turn the IP off and release the pressure completely before carefully removing the lid. If there's any burnt content on the bottom of the pot, scrape it up with a wooden spoon and then add 1 to 2 cups of vegetable broth or water to the sauce and stir. Resume the pressure cooking and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
My Sauce is Very Acidic. What Did I do Wrong?!
You didn't do anything wrong! A well-rounded tomato sauce has the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. If you omitted the coconut sugar or you used fresh tomatoes that weren't ripe and in-season, there's a good chance your sauce may be a bit off balance. No worries! To balance out the acidity, add about a ½ teaspoon of baking soda at a time until the sauce mellows out. PS: baking soda is Whole30 compliant (I double-checked)!
Can I Substitute Fresh Herbs for Dried?
Absolutely! Dried herbs are generally more potent then fresh, so if you swap out any of the dried stuff for fresh, you'll need 2 to 3 times the amount that this recipes calls for.
Any other questions? Don't hesitate to ask! Drop your questions in the comments, shoot me an EMAIL at [email protected] or message me VIA any of my social media outlets (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter). I hope y'all savor this delicious sauce as much as I do! It's definitely a keeper! ENJOY!
PIN NOW! MAKE LATER!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- Mediterranean Lamb Stuffed Eggplant with Dairy-Free Lemon Herb Sauce
- Whole30 All-Purpose Sauce
- "South of the Border" Slow Cooker Bolognese Stuffed Potatoes
Perfect Instant Pot Paleo Marinara Sauce
- ½ cup carrots chopped
- ½ cup celery chopped
- ½ cup red onion chopped
- 8 cloves garlic smashed
- ½ cup roasted red peppers chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup unsweetened grape juice or red wine (if not strict Paleo/Whole30)
- 2 (28 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
- ½ cup vegetable broth or water
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasonings
- 2 tablespoons basil dried
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon parsley dried
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano dried
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- Prep vegetables.Chop the carrots, celery and onion. Peel and smash the garlic cloves. Dice the roasted red peppers. Dice the tomatoes (if using fresh).
- Turn Instant Pot on "SAUTE" (normal heat). When "HOT" is displayed, add EVOO and heat until hot but not smoking (1 minute). Add the chopped carrots and saute while stirring until just softened (2 minutes). Add the chopped celery and onions, stir and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic, stir and saute until fragrant (30 seconds).
- Stir in the grape juice and cook, stirring frequently until the liquid has cooked off (5 minutes). Turn the Instant Pot off ("CANCEL").
- Add the chopped roasted red peppers and the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot (except for the tomato paste) and stir. Add the tomato paste to the top of everything else, but do not stir! Leave it be on top of everything else!
- Lock the lid, seal the pressure valve and program to "PRESSURE COOK" at "HIGH PRESSURE" for 30 minutes. When cooking is complete, turn the Instant Pot off and let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Blend the sauce in the IP with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Serve hot with your favorite vegetable noodle/pasta or cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.
- To make this sauce Whole30 compliant, omit the coconut sugar completely or use 2 to 3 pureed dates in it's place.
- This recipe yields about 3 quarts of sauce. Portion sauce in freezer-safe resealable bags and freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost in refrigerator, microwave on the stove as needed.
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