Favorite Recipe Friday: Marinara Makeover

Marinara makeover

Nothing beats homemade marinara.  BUT, pasta nights in my house tend to be the days we are short on time or when I’m not really in the mood to cook (yep, it happens).  That means, homemade marinara is NOT. HAPPENING.  And while jarred marinara alone is fine, I’m here to light a fire under (I mean, encourage) you to USE those 10 minutes you are waiting for your water to boil to add some flair and nutrition to your sauce. I recommend a jarred sauce that’s not loaded with salt, added sugar or competing flavors (I like Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil) because YOU are adding fresh flavor with your very own hands.  And bonus: the extra simmer time creates a depth of flavor reminiscent of homemade.  Here you go!

Marinara Makeover

Serves 4-6


1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

2 links fresh Italian chicken sausage, casings removed

1 (25-ounce) jar marinara


Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.  Add olive oil and onions and sauté until they become translucent and start to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add red pepper flakes (if using) and sausage and cook until almost cooked through.  Add marinara, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover while your pasta water comes to a boil and pasta cooks.

Nutrition Notes:

  • If you want more veggies, add sliced mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini or eggplant to your onion and garlic sauté and cook until veggies start to soften (BEFORE adding the sausage).
  • Swap white pasta for 100% whole grain.  Now-a-days, it’s very easy to find and when it’s coated in this delicious sauce, no one will notice the difference.

Serving Suggestion: Serve alongside a big salad.  Like this one :).

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