Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce (for the Freezer)
If you’re a fan of Italian Sausage Marinara, use fresh garden tomatoes to make this Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce for the freezer. This sauce is a winner when you have lots of fresh tomatoes but see tips for making the sauce with canned tomatoes, and there’s also a link for an Instant Pot recipe for this type of sauce!
I came up with this delicious Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce during a summer when my garden tomatoes were in overdrive, and I’d been frantically making things like roasted tomatoes, Gazpacho, No-Cook Pasta Sauce, and of course Summer Tomato Salads! And when the tomatoes just keep coming I know it’s time to make this sauce with Italian sausage, tomatoes, and basil, my all-time favorite pasta sauce, and something I’ve been making for years.
If you come to my house in the winter and open the freezer, you’ll see square containers like the ones in the photo filled with this Italian Sausage Marinara. And I never get tired of this favorite sauce, and if you eat a moderate size serving of the sauce it only has five net carbs!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- very ripe tomatoes
- canned tomato sauce
- canned diced tomatoes
- Dried Basil (affiliate link)
- Dried Oregano (affiliate link)
- ground fennel (affiliate link)
- Minced Garlic (affiliate link)
- Bay Leaves (affiliate link)
- turkey Italian Sausage, or use pork sausage if you prefer
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
- chopped fresh oregano
- chopped fresh basil
Why is this Italian Sausage Marinara a flexible recipe?
- I always use fresh tomatoes, but if you don’t have them available, you can use canned, diced tomatoes and still get a good result.
- I like turkey Italian Sausage, but if you don’t find that pork Italian sausage would taste great too.
- I use a combination of dried and fresh herbs for more depth of flavor, but you could still make a pretty good sauce even if you only have dried herbs.
- I add a lot of fresh basil, but if you don’t have a good supply of fresh basil like I do, you could get by with a lot less.
- Please, please, please, don’t skip the ground fennel. That’s one of the things that makes this sauce over-the-top good.
How do I eat the Italian Sausage Marinara?
- I love this sauce served over Zucchini Noodles for a low-carb dinner.
- I used to eat it with whole wheat spaghetti when I wasn’t as concerned about carbs, and that was delicious.
- Now I would love it with Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta (affiliate link) for a treat that’s not that much of a splurge on carbs.
Would you prefer Instant Pot Pasta Sauce?
Here’s an absolutely delicious Instant Pot Pasta Sauce with sausage, tomatoes, and herbs if you prefer that method!
Steps for Making Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes:
- Peel ripe tomatoes (instruction below), and chop into pieces. Roma tomatoes are best, but I roasted most of my Romas, so this batch of sauce was made with Celebrity tomatoes.(These photos are double the amounts of the recipe.)
- Add tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, ground fennel, minced fresh garlic, and dried bay leaves to fresh tomatoes and simmer 1-2 hours.
- Brown turkey sausage well in a small amount of olive oil. Don’t rush this step. Add the sausage to the sauce, scraping out all the browned bits. Simmer 2-3 more hours.
- When sauce has thickened to desired consistency, add a generous amount of chopped fresh basil, a little fresh oregano, and a bit of olive oil and simmer 10-15 minutes more. This has reduced so much I actually put it into a smaller pan to get a better photo, and the flavor is great. If you’d like, divide the sauce into individual containers to freezer or to eat during the week!
More Recipes with Fresh Garden Tomatoes:
- Marinated Tomatoes with Herb Dressing
- Middle Eastern Tomato Salad
- Summer Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese
- Avocado Tomato Salad
- Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
Weekend Food Prep:
This Italian Sausage Marinara recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
- 20 very ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced in pieces 1/2 to 1 inch
- two 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
- two 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
- 3 T dried basil
- 3 T dried oregano
- 2 T ground fennel seed
- 3 T minced garlic or garlic puree
- 5 dried bay leaves
- two 19.5 oz pkg. turkey Italian Sausage (see notes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus 1-2 T for browning sausage
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (more or less, depending on what you have)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (more or less, depending on what you have)
- To peel tomatoes: Bring a deep pot of water to a slight boil.
- Wash tomatoes, then cut a V into the top of each tomato, cutting away stem area.
- Put tomatoes with stem area removed into boiling water 1-2 minutes.
- Remove tomatoes to cutting board, and peel off skin, which should come off easily. If it doesn’t slip right off, leave tomatoes in boiling water a tiny bit longer.
- I do 4-5 tomatoes at a time, and usually let them cool for a minute or two before peeling them.
- Chop tomatoes and put in large heavy pot.
- Add tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, ground fennel, minced garlic, and bay leaves and let sauce simmer 1-2 hours.
- Heat 1-2 T olive oil in a large frying pan.
- Squeeze sausage out of casing and brown, breaking up with heavy turner or potato masher, until sausage is well browned.
- Add browned sausage to sauce mixture and simmer 2-3 hours more.
- Add olive oil, fresh oregano and fresh basil to sauce and simmer 10-15 minutes.
- Let sauce cool before refrigerating or freezing.
- This sauce will keep for close to a year in the freezer if it is stored in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
You can use one package of sausage if you prefer. Use mild or hot sausage, whichever you like.
Nutritional information is based on 1/2 cup serving size.
This recipe created by Kalyn and has been made over and over for years!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 278mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 9g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Every ingredient in this Italian Sausage Marinara is good for low-carb eating plans and friendly for all phases of the original South Beach Diet. And although tomatoes definitely have some carbs, if you limit the serving size this tasty sauce only has 5 net carbs per serving. This would be perfect served over Zucchini Noodles for a low-carb meal or for South Beach Phase One.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Tomato Recipes or Sauces for more ideas like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This marinara recipe with Italian sausage and basil was posted in 2006 and I’ve probably made it every year since then! It was last updated with more information in 2023.