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Homemade Marinara Sauce with Meatballs

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A super delicious meatball marinara pasta bake for the family to enjoy any evening of the week!

Marinara sauce

Marinara sauce is a tomato sauce usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions. Variations include capers, olives, spices, and a dash of wine.

You may wonder what’s the difference between Marinara and Tomato Sauce.

Marinara is a simple sauce made with garlic, crushed red pepper, and basil, and it comes together in about an hour. Tomato sauce, on the other hand, is thick, rich, and complex. Making it takes hours. Tomato sauce typically contains more ingredients, too, including vegetables and salt pork.

Yield: 4 servings

Homemade Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

An image of a plate of pasta topped with meatballs and marinara sauce

A delicious and rich Homemade Marinara Sauce with Meatballs for a feast of a family dinner.

Sauce Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • 1kg Tomatoes (ripe)
  • 2 Onions (diced)
  • 5-6 Cloves Garlic (grated)
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Bay Leaves


  • 500g Ground Meat (your choice)
  • 1 Onion (grated)
  • 1 tsp. Ginger (grated)
  • 1 tsp. Garlic (grated)
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. Dried Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese (grated)


Marinara Sauce

  1. Blanch (remove the skins from the tomatoes) then chop them.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan.
  3. Cook the onion until soft, then add in garlic, spices, and seasonings.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the tomatoes and cook for a further 40-45 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.
  6. Adjust seasoning, remove bay leaves, and allow to cool.
  7. Spoon into a jar and store in the fridge.
  8. Lasts for 4-5 days. Enjoy!!


  1. Squeeze out the excess moisture from the onion and add to the meat along with all the spices then mix well and form into balls.
  2. Brown on all sides in a pan on medium heat.
  3. Place the meatballs into the tomato sauce and allow it to cook for about a further 10 minutes.
  4. Serve on your choice of pasta with a healthy grating of cheese and enjoy!!


Prepared, tried, and tested by Rochelle from The Recipe Hunter: Tried and Tested Recipes from Home Chefs and SA Tasty Recipes - Saffas Daily Recipes

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 594Total Fat 41gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 26gCholesterol 112mgSodium 301mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 5gSugar 10gProtein 38g

EsmeSalon provides approximate nutrition information for your convenience and as a courtesy only. Please note that all nutrition data is congregated by online calculators. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe, and we strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but can not guarantee or provide any assurances regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own estimates based on the ingredients used, and by using your own and preferred nutrition calculator. The author(s) of EsmeSalon are not dietitians or nutritionists. Any recommendations shall not be construed as medical or nutritional advice. You are fully responsible for any actions you take and any consequences that occur because of anything you read on this website. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease. Please consult your health care provider regarding any health-related decisions.

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Are you still confused about the difference between marinara and tomato sauce?

They’re both made with tomatoes, but one is thicker and more complex than the other. Here’s how to make and use each one.

If you’re short on time but have a bottle of store-bought marinara sauce handy, but wish to jazz it up and get a better taste, try the following:

Stir in seasonings to add extra flavor. Red pepper flakes, dehydrated or fresh garlic, dried oregano, parsley, basil, or an Italian seasoning blend are all good options.

Can you cook raw meatballs in marinara sauce?

Place the uncooked rolled meatballs on a plate and flash freeze them for 30 minutes. This will prevent them from sticking together. When you’re ready to cook them, add the frozen meatballs to marinara sauce and let them simmer until they’re cooked through about 80 minutes.

Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 16.9 Ounce
Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 16.9 Ounce
BARILLA Blue Box Spaghetti Pasta, 16 oz. Boxes (Pack of 8), 8 Servings per Box – Non-GMO Pasta Made with Durum Wheat Semolina – Italy’s #1 Pasta Brand – Kosher Certified Pasta
BARILLA Blue Box Spaghetti Pasta, 16 oz. Boxes (Pack of 8), 8 Servings per Box - Non-GMO Pasta Made with Durum Wheat Semolina - Italy's #1 Pasta Brand - Kosher Certified Pasta
Meatballs Homemade Marinara Sauce


A meatball is ground meat rolled into a small ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, minced onion, eggs, butter, and seasoning. Meatballs are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce. There are many types of meatballs using different types of meats and spices.

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Meatball recipes

and another Marinara Sauce to try out

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