Homemade marinara that comes together in less than 25 minutes. This post is sponsored by Gourmet Garden.

Quick Winter Marinara from www.themessybakerblog.com

The holidays are right around the corner. There’s stockings to stuff, presents to wrap, last minute shopping to finish, and baking to complete.

Gourmet Garden is here to help make holiday cooking easier with there tubes of fresh herbs. The holidays are a time to relax and spend quality time with family and friends, not standing over the stove tending to steaming pots and a hot oven.

Every year, I make my homemade meatballs with marinara. I make up the meatballs a few days ahead. On Christmas morning, I dump the balls into the slow cooker and slather them with sauce and let them simmer until we’re ready to chow down.

To ensure that I get to spend more time enjoying my family and less time in the kitchen, I made a quick winter marinara sauce that takes less than 25 minutes. Since fresh herbs are hard to come by during the cold months, I grabbed a few bottles of fresh Gourmet Garden herbs to mix in.

Quick Winter Marinara from www.themessybakerblog.com

Believe it or not, Squirrel introduced me to Garden Gourmet when he went grocery shopping for me and couldn’t locate fresh basil; instead, he brought home a tube of basil.

Me: What the heck is this?
Squirrel: Basil.
Me: What’s it doing in a tube?
Squirrel: It’s all they had.
Me: *rolls eyes

Basil in a tube…Psht!

Quick Winter Marinara from www.themessybakerblog.com

That tube of basil surprised the heck out of me. It was just as fresh as the real deal. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Don’t tell Squirrel I said this, but I have him to thank. Seriously, it’ll go to his head if you tell him, so let’s just keep it our little secret.

Quick Winter Marinara from www.themessybakerblog.com

This quick marinara may only take 25 minutes to whip up, but it tastes like it simmered all day.

I start by sautéing some onion, green pepper, and garlic. Add two cans of crushed tomatoes, a few squirts of Gourmet Garden herbs, sugar, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes. You can leave it chunky or blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Stir in some freshly grated parmesan cheese at the end. It’s that simple. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.

The tubes of Gourmet Garden herbs are used just like fresh herbs. When I replace dried herbs for my tube of Gourmet Garden herbs, I use a 2 to 1 ratio. For example, 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals 2 teaspoons of fresh Gourmet Garden herbs from the tube.

Quick Winter Marinara from www.themessybakerblog.com

A few years ago, I bottled up my marinara into cute little mason jars and gave them as gifts. My friends and family LOVED them. It’s a simple way to show someone you care. Besides, who doesn’t love the gift of food?

Just recently, I used the tube of basil to top my margherita pizza. For Thanksgiving, I used the tube of parsley, Italian herb blend, chunky garlic, and oregano to make an herb injection for my turkey. I added a squirt of cilantro to some homemade salsa and a squirt of parsley to finish off a pot of soup I made for dinner last week. You can find Gourmet Garden products in the refrigerated section of the produce isle in your local grocery store.

Quick Winter Marinara

A delicious homemade marinara sauce that comes together in under 25 minutes.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced green pepper
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons chopped basil (such as Gourmet Garden), or 1 teaspoon dry
1 teaspoon chopped parsley (such as Gourmet Garden), or 1 teaspoon dry
1 teaspoon fresh Italian herb seasoning (such as Gourmet Garden), or 1/2 teaspoon dry
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté green pepper, onion, and garlic, and red pepper flakes for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, spices, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Leave the sauce chunky or blend with an immersion blender until smooth (alternatively, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth). Stir in the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, refrigerate for up to 7 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

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This post is sponsored by Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices. All opinions are my own.