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  Homemade Marinara Sauce
and Tuscan Meatballs

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Try serving the sauce and meatballs with soft cooked polenta or your penne pasta.

Sauce will keep longer in the freezer - try freezing in quart-sized zip bags that can easily be cut away from frozen sauce or submerged in hot water for easy defrosting.

The meatballs can also be made with lean, ground chicken. They are also good in a meatball sub.

Roasted red peppers come packed in water or in oil. Both are flavorful, but typically the water-packed peppers are cheaper and better for your waistline. Look for jars at dollar stores and other discount stores to save money.


There’s something about a simmering stockpot of homemade marinara sauce that just warms your heart and your kitchen. Plus, you’ll save a bit of money over purchasing store bought pasta sauces – and you’ll have the satisfaction of creating something magical and thoroughly customizable. 

As for the meatballs, they’re made with ultra lean ground turkey (98 percent fat free) when it’s on sale, sautéed until golden brown and stored in the freezer for easy meals.

For the marinara:

2, 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4-5 garlic cloves, smashed
|Salt and pepper to taste
And recommended seasoning:
       1 tbs dried basil and 1 tsp dried oregano

Sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat in a non-reactive deep stockpot until translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and spices. Simmer over low to medium heat for half-hour to an hour stirring occasionally and adding water if it is becoming too thick or pasty. 

Then, with either an immersion blender, a food mill or a regular blender (the latter two will need to be done in batches), puree the sauce to your desired smoothness. You can even omit this step and leave chunky if you like. Store in the refrigerator for a week or store in the freezer. 

Yields at least 40 oz of sauce.

For the Tuscan meatballs:

1 ¼ to 1 ½ lbs of lean ground turkey
2 tbs olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped, roasted red peppers (from jar)
4 to 5 oz of fresh spinach, steamed and squeezed dry
Salt and pepper
1 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
2-4 tbs dry breadcrumbs
Flour for dusting meatballs
Olive oil for browning/cooking meatballs

Mix the turkey through the grated cheese together like you would to make a meatloaf – then add breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time until meatball mixture is firm enough to softly hold its shape when formed into a 1 ½ inch meatball.  Roll lightly in flour.

Sauté in olive oil until brown all the way around and cooked through.  Enjoy with the sauce and freeze a few for a rainy day. 

Yields 18-20 meatballs.

Copyright 2008-2009.