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spoon of homemade tomato sauce with zucchini

Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce with Zucchini {the only tomato sauce you'll ever need}

You’ll love having your own homemade arrabbiata sauce, which is a spicy tomato marinara. Bold and fresh, this sensational sauce is full of garlic, herbs, and veggies. Serve it with practically anything!

Course Dinner, Healthy, Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword homemade arrabbiata sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Author Monique of AmbitiousKitchen.com


  • 16 medium to large Roma tomatoes, preferrably organic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried ground oregano
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
  • 3-4 medium zucchini, preferably organic, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Sprinkle in a little bit of salt. Using a knife, cut an X into the end of each tomato. In a large bowl, add water and ice. Place a few tomatoes into the boiling water for about 1 minute or until you see the skins begin to peel off ever so slightly. Remove them with a slotted spoon, and place in ice water for another minute or until cool. Repeat with remaining tomatoes.
  2. Once the tomatoes are cool, remove from ice water and use your fingers to remove the skin by simply peeling it back from the X you created. Then slice and chop the tomatoes and place into another large bowl until ready to cook.
  3. In a large dutch oven or casserole pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions become translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Then add celery, carrots, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; saute until veggies are softened. 

  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and chili pepper flakes and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about one hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. During the last 15 minutes stir in zucchini.

  5. After sauce is done (the zucchini should be al dente), remove from heat and transfer half of the sauce to a blender or food processor. Try not to get the zucchini in the sauce you're about to blend. Blend/process until smooth then add the pureed sauce back to the pan. Season with more salt and pepper then serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

If you’d like you can freeze the sauce for up to 2 months in an airtight plastic bag or container.

Sauce adapted from Clean Eating Magazine’s Everyday Marinara