Adopting a vegan diet is jumping on the path of discovery.
Every time you hit the supermarket, it’s label time. At the minimum doubt, you’re checking labels to see if there’s a trace of animal-based ingredients.
So many people wonder if the marinara sauce you find in stores and restaurants is vegan.
Typically, marinara sauce is vegan as it is made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions. Several variations include spices, olives, wine, and capers, but they’re all still 100% plant-based.
But what about the commercially sold marinara sauce? Let’s find out.
Is Store-Bought Marinara Vegan?
To be frank, not all store-bought marinara sauces are vegan.
For instance, Yo Mama’s Original Marinara includes organic chicken stock, broth made with vegetables, and the bones of free-range chickens.
But the chicken stock is not the only ingredient that may suddenly pop up on a marinara label.
Several marinara brands love to add parmesan to the recipe. For example, Great Value (Walmart’s brand) put out an Organic Parmesan Romano Pasta Sauce that contains pasteurized milk cheese cultures as an ingredient.
Other marinara brands add meat flavoring, but there’s a caveat.
Meat-like flavors can also be obtained by adding monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is considered a vegan ingredient. But for the most part, they all use real meat flavors.
Meaning, actual beef, sausages, and chicken stock are used to make the sauce.
Vegan-Friendly Marinara Brands
Here are a quick few marinara brands that keep it 100% plant-based:
Ingredients: imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, basil, white pepper, black pepper.
Cucina Antica keeps it traditional by using imported Italian tomatoes and keeping the recipe organic and closer to the roots.
It has no artificial preservatives, no added sugars, no added water, and no paste.
Using a limited number of ingredients reduces the chances of there existing problematic ingredients on the product.
Barilla Marinara Sauce
Ingredients: Diced tomatoes in tomato juice, tomato puree, onions, sugar, garlic, sea salt, basil, extra virgin oil, oregano, citric acid (acidity regulator), natural flavor.
Barilla also sticks close to the traditional recipe, but instead of using fresh tomatoes, they use tomato puree— a mixture of water and tomato paste.
But that is essentially what most marinara brands use.
This recipe isn’t as “natural” as the previous marinara brand, but Barilla is more affordable.
Ingredients: Whole tomatoes, pure olive oil, fresh onions, fresh garlic, sea salt, fresh basil, and spices
Hoboken Farms produce their marinara sauce in the United States. Even the tomatoes are planted and harvested under the American sky.
Interestingly, if you look at the ingredient label, it’s either pure or fresh. There are no additives. Artificial flavors. Paste. Nothing that can compromise your health or the lives of animals.
Marinara Sauce In Restaurants
Restaurants can obtain marinara sauce in one of two ways.
They either create their marinara sauce using fresh ingredients, or they buy an already made sauce directly from a supplier.
The type of marinara sauce you eat depends on the type of restaurant.
If you go to a fast-food restaurant to order a pizza or pasta topped with marinara sauce, then it will most likely be sauce from a can. In fact, I’ve found this website called WebstaurantStore.
Here’s a short-list of different marinara sauces they supply to restaurants:
If you click on one, you will notice that they provide resources you can download to verify the nutritional content within each marinara sauce. And at least the five above (which are ordered by most popular), do not contain animal-based ingredients.
Typically you shouldn’t have to worry, but at the same time, you should always inquire each time you go to a restaurant.
Plus, if a restaurant you’re visiting has an in-house marinara sauce, it should generally follow the traditional vegan recipe.
Homemade Vegan Marinara Sauce
Do you know what’s better than store-bought and restaurant-made marinara sauce?
You’ve guessed right. Homemade Marinara Sauce.
Not only is it healthier, but if you have an amazing recipe you can follow, there’s a pretty good chance you come up with an amazing sauce.
And speaking about amazing homemade (vegan) recipes, I’ve got just the right thing for you.
Minimalist Baker is one of the best (if not the best) vegan recipe websites.
This palate-tested recipe is a 9-ingredient marinara sauce that takes five minutes to prepare, and forty-five minutes to cook.
Not as easy as buying a can of sauce, but it’s not that difficult either. And you can keep it in the freezer for one month, or hold it in the fridge for a week.
Most marinara sauces are vegan. Period.
Whether you’re buying it in a supermarket or eating it at a restaurant, the majority will most likely be free from animal ingredients.
However, you shouldn’t blindly buy or eat whatever is in front of you.
Always read the ingredient labels and ask waiters about the ingredients within the sauce.
Marinara Sauce FAQs
Is Marinara Sauce Keto?
Marinara sauce is made with tomatoes, a fruit that naturally contains sugar, therefore, marinara sauce is not an ingredient that can be regarded as keto. Furthermore, some store-bought marinara sauces also contain added sugar, so they’re generally sweeter than homemade versions.
Is Marinara Sauce The Same as Pizza Sauce?
No, marinara sauce usually refers to one type of sauce, while pizza sauce is any sauce that you can use as a base or topping for the pizza. For this reason, they’re different.
Is Marinara Sauce Spicy?
No, marinara sauce is basically tomato sauce with a few seasonings, and none of them are spicy. However, I’ve seen recipes of spicy marinara, though that’s not how it’s traditionally made.
Does Marinara Sauce Contain Meat?
No, marinara sauce only contains plant-based ingredients, so you won’t find any meat, anchovies, or cheese, which is good news for anyone vegan or vegetarian.
Does Marinara Sauce Contain Dairy?
Fortunately, the marinara sauce does not contain any dairy ingredients, which means it’s suitable for vegans, or even people with milk allergies.