Healthy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Whether using a store-bought jar or following Grandma’s “secret” recipe, marinara is a popular sauce in many kitchens. It has simple ingredients, doesn’t require a ton of effort, and is quite versatile, all which make it an appealing option for dinnertime. Wouldn’t it be great to have a healthier, veggie-filled version of this staple sauce that’s still kid-friendly? This Healthy Homemade Marinara Sauce does just the trick!


Healthy Homemade Marinara Sauce has the typical base of any marinara (tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt) but what sets this recipe apart and gives it a healthier edge and a boost of nutrients is the addition of sweet potato and red lentils! By adding in these two ingredients, this marinara packs a punch of about 30g of protein! It is also a great source of fiber, vitamin A, C, B6, calcium, iron, potassium, and folate.


The key to making this recipe kid-friendly is to use a hand blender/immersion blender once the sauce has come together. You could also use a blender once the sauce has cooled down a bit.


This is a versatile, quick, nutritious marinara sauce. It’s a great sauce for pasta dishes, especially lasagna and manicotti, but can also be used a marinara or tomato sauce substitute in any pasta recipe. You could even use it on pizza! Plus, it’s a great alternative to store-bought sauces, which often contain sugar and excessive sodium.


Healthy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Yields: 8-10 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes









  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 3oz. of tomato paste (1/2 of 6oz. can)
  • 2 cups of peeled & diced sweet potato
  • ½ cup of red lentils, picked over & rinsed
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • Splash of vegetable broth or water for sauté


  • Heat large saucepan or pot over medium-low heat.
  • Add a splash of vegetable broth or water and sauté garlic for 30 seconds, then add Italian seasoning and salt.
  • Stir in sweet potato and lentils and cook for about a minute, adding more vegetable broth/water if needed.
  • Add 2 ½ cups of water and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until lentils & sweet potatoes are soft.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Once the sauce has come together, blend using a hand/immersion blender.


Author Elizabeth Compson