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healthy red sauce pasta

Red Sauce Pasta Recipe | Pasta in marinara sauce

This versatile red sauce pasta or pasta in marinara sauce can be made with any combination of veggies and proteins. It is tasty, healthy and can be made within 25 minutes from scratch. Try my recipe.
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pasta in red sauce, red sauce pasta
recipe healthy red sauce pasta, pasta in marinara sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 279kcal
Author Rachna Parmar


  • 1 packet Italian pasta any shape 500 gm or 1 lb.

For the sauce

  • 400 ml. Tomato puree canned or fresh or use canned whole tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 tsp. black pepper coarsely ground fresh (optional)
  • 1 cup vegetables broccoli, peppers, mushroom, zucchini
  • 1 cup paneer or tofu optional about
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. red or white wine optional
  • ½ tsp. sugar optional

To garnish

  • Few Basil leaves
  • 4 cubes parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tsp. red chilli flakes optional


Cook pasta

  • It is very important to cook the pasta correctly. Use a good quality pasta brand. Then cook as per instructions on the pack.
  • Boil about 1.5 liters of water in a large pan. Add 2 tbsp. of salt. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta.
  • Keep cooking on medium heat till pasta is al dente or is almost cooked but has a bit of bite to it. Drain it and keep aside. 
  • Also keep a little bit of drained water which can be added to the sauce.

To make the Red Sauce or Marinara Sauce

  • Make the sauce while you are boiling the pasta.
  • Take olive oil in a pan. Add finely chopped onion and minced garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Don't let them brown.
  • Add tomato puree or crushed tomatoes and let it cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Now add your chopped veggies. I add the broccoli florets first as they take longer than the chopped peppers and mushroom. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Now add your tofu or paneer cubes. Cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and oregano. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • If you are adding wine, add it at this stage. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Now add the cooked pasta along with a few tbsp. of the boiled liquid.
  • Mix well. Turn off the heat. Garnish with chopped and whole basil leaves and grated cheese along with red chilli flakes (if you like heat).
  • Your pasta in red sauce is ready. Serve hot. 


You can use any protein in place of paneer or cottage cheese. I sometimes use prawn or chicken. You may use tofu too or not use any protein at all.
You can use any combination of vegetables but preferably bright, colourful ones. And if not, skip them.
You can use canned plump tomatoes like Roma tomatoes. They are delicious in this sauce or you can use regular tomato puree.
Use good quality olive oil not pomace but pure olive oil. You can drizzle some on top of pasta at the end if you like it.
Adjust heat according to your taste.
You can do away with wine if you are cooking for the kids. I love the flavour of wine in the pasta.


Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 522mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 3mg