Spicy Marinara Sauce

The best part of any meal for me is the sauce. I LOVE sauce.

Whenever my mother made pasta, I stressed the importance of having as much sauce as humanly possible. I’d literally circle her in the kitchen making sure she was generous with the canned tomatoes or cream, and promptly complained if I felt the sauce-pasta ratio wasn’t going to be right. What a treat it must have been to raise me.

I’ve travelled far and wide and tried just about every kind of pasta sauce there is, and after MANY fails—like years and years of fails—I’ve finally created my perfect pasta sauce.


When given the choice between red or creamy pasta sauce, I tend to lean towards red. Pair a rich tomato-based pasta sauce with some mushrooms and penne and I’m in heaven. No jokes, I gained eight kilos while living in London ordering that very combo from my fav Italian joint.

Being the chili fiend that I am, I had to add a little spice to this recipe to give it a kick. If that ain’t your jam, then feel free to leave the chili out. Either way, this spicy marinara pairs well with any kind of pasta, and makes a fine companion to my healthy vegan meatballs.


The whole thing takes no time at all to put together, which is perfect if you’re tired after work and need a quick fix. Ideally, I like to gently simmer my pasta sauces for at least three hours, but I reserve that kind of tomfoolery for the weekend when I have more time.


I hope this recipe warms your tummies the same way it’s done for me on many occasions. You can even make it ahead of time as I found it keeps well in the fridge for a good five days or so. Bon Appétit!

Spicy Marinara Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 brown onion (diced)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 6 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes


  1. In a pot, heat two tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft and browned.
  3. Add basil, chili, salt, black pepper and tomato paste, and cook for a few minutes to let the flavours sink in.
  4. Finally, add the canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Note: I like to cook my pasta sauce for a few hours on low heat to really let the flavours come to life, but I’ve also cooked it in 15 minutes when in a rush. Either way it’s delicious!