One of my all time favorite dinners is a classic basil marinara sauce with angel hair pasta. The absolute best I ever had was at a quaint little restaurant in a grocery store mall.
Even so, the atmosphere was romantic under dim lights and candle-lit tables and the service was impeccable. The restaurant also had a bakery and was always the go-to spot for their incredible mango tart to bring to events. I was so sad to see it close. And, it did so before I could ask for their basil marinara sauce recipe.
I’ve been trying to recreate that angel hair marinara recipe ever since. What was it that made that particular recipe so good? Was it the slow cooking time or the addition of some secret ingredient? I’ll never really know.
But I’ve tried to recreate it here as a plant-based marinara sauce. This recipe uses canned whole tomatoes. I learned from an episode of “America’s Test Kitchen” that canned whole tomatoes are better than diced.
This is because they don’t have as much calcium chloride added to keep them firm. Though, they are often better than store-bought, which are picked under-ripe or just don’t have a robust tomato flavor. Their top brand for taste is Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes.
You could also use these Air Fryer Roasted Tomatoes from The Vegan Larder. These jammy, savory, sweet roasted tomatoes, as she describes them, are delicious and perfect for a pasta dish. She also suggests these other ideas: as a topping for Bruschetta or added to a pie or a quiche. Yum!
Simple is the operant word here for this angel hair marinara…
Onion, carrot, garlic, tomatoes, basil, a touch of heat and sweetness, and you’re almost there. I even like to sliver extra garlic at the end of the recipe! And, of course, top with fresh basil.
One thing about adding carrots to this basil marinara sauce is that it makes the sauce a little less red with a slightly more orange tint, but they do add sweetness.
These light and healthy plant-based recipes are a must-try:
- Curried Chickpea Rice Salad
- Eggplant Szechuan-Style with Peppers & Mushrooms
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto with Basil Pesto
- Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Cream
- Asian Noodle Salad
One of the best ways to crush the whole tomatoes is with your clean hands because it doesn’t add any air. But, you can use an immersion blender otherwise.
Don’t let the onions brown, but just become translucent and soft. The sweetness from the onions is a perfect flavor in this angel hair pasta sauce recipe. Add the chopped garlic after a few minutes keeps it from burning, as well.
Use this as a plant-based spaghetti sauce. It can be used with anything that calls for a tomato basil marinara sauce like lasagna, or this recipe for Pasta Puttanesca with Spinach. It’d even be great as a topping for baked potatoes. And, kick up the nutrition by adding roasted or steamed vegetables or tasty greens.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below for this Classic Basil Marinara Sauce recipe! If you have a photo, post it on my Facebook page, tag me using the hashtag #plantbasedcooking
Classic Basil Marinara with Angel Hair Pasta
- 1 lb angel hair pasta whole wheat or other pasta per your taste
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 clove garlic sliced
- 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 10 fresh leaves fresh basil julinenned
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Saute the onion in about 1/4 cup water for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic, carrots, and continue to cook until translucent and soft.
- Add the dried basil, red pepper flakes and whole tomatoes, using your hands to crush or an immersion blender.
- Add the maple syrup and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered for about 20 minutes.
- Add fresh basil and stir. Taste to see if you need more seasonings.
- Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain and add pasta to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Add addition basil to the plated pasta, if desired, with a few slices of garlic.