Awesome Sauce: Multipurpose Marinara + Lasagna

awesome sauce

Awesome Sauce: in this versatile recipe learn how to make marinara from scratch, which tastes great on pasta, pizza and in lasagna.

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If you’ve tried any of my recipes, you know my deal: stuff that is simple and that can be used in multiple meals.

This recipe is no exception. When I started teaching myself how to cook, one of the first things I wanted to learn was how to make spaghetti from something besides the Prego jar.

So here you have it: delicious, versatile marinara sauce. I took it from Betty Crocker and adjusted it to our tastes. It goes great on spaghetti or other pasta, lasagna, homemade pizza or even works as a dipping sauce! You can make it with or without meat.

Usually when I make this recipe I use half of it with spaghetti for one meal; then I freeze the other half.

Ready to get started? I’ve included several preparation variations.

Multipurpose Marinara Recipe

Adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook

Makes about 12 cups of sauce

Awesome sauce marinara


  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon each)


Add everything to large pot; bring to a boil and then let simmer for half an hour. Serve as desired—adding shredded Parmesan is highly recommended!

awesome spaghetti


  • You can substitute with fresh tomatoes; I recommend using the roma variety. Just peel and deseed them first.
  • You can also add fresh herbs—there’s nothing like fresh basil out of the back yard! Use about 1 tablespoon of fresh for every teaspoon dried.
  • We usually like to add meat. A good ratio for this recipe is about a pound. Recently our favorite combination is ½ pound Italian sausage plus ½ pound ground beef or turkey. Brown it before you add it to the sauce.
  • This recipe also works in the crockpot! Simply add the ingredients to the slow cooker and heat on low for 4 hours, or on high for 2 hours. If you do this I recommend adding herbs at the end so the flavor doesn’t cook away.

kids eating awesome spaghetti

Bonus: how about lasagna with your leftover sauce?

Awesome Sauce Lasagna

(also adapted from Betty)

Serves about 8

awesome sauce lasagna


  • 4 cups Awesome Sauce (recommended with meat)
  • 8 uncooked lasagna noodles (or the quick cook variety)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese or small curd cottage cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees; cook and drain lasagna noodles.
  • Mix cottage or ricotta cheese, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, oregano and parsley in a small bowl.
  • Make lasagna layers in a 13×9 glass baking dish. Start by adding half of the sauce. Layer 4 noodles on top. Add half of the ricotta or cottage cheese mixture, followed by half of the mozzarella. Repeat. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Bake the lasagna covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking for 15 minutes. If you like your cheese to be browned, heat it under the broiler on high at the end for a minute or two.
  • Let the lasagna set for about 10 minutes before serving. 

awesome lasagna plate

Do you make your own marinara sauce? What are your tips for making it awesome?

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Hey, I'm Gina!

I’m a wife and mom of five, with kids ages toddler to teenager. I’m created in the image of God, made whole in Jesus. In this online space, I help others overcome the overwhelm all of us face when navigating this messy, beautiful journey we call life. Want to join us?

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