Healthy Red Sauce Pasta Recipe | Pasta in Marinara Sauce

by Rachna

Red sauce pasta recipe is a favourite in my home. My younger son cannot have enough of it. I make it pretty regularly. And I always make the red sauce or marinara sauce from scratch. Making pasta is very simple. It requires just a few ingredients but the key lies in using excellent quality of ingredients used and perfect cooking of the pasta.

This healthy pasta in red sauce is perfect for kids as well. And if you pack it in their lunchbox, they are sure to get requests from their classmates to try some. I tell you from experience.

So here’s how to make the perfect pasta in marinara sauce:

healthy red sauce pasta

Red Sauce Pasta Recipe | Pasta in marinara sauce

Rachna Parmar
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.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 279 kcal


  • 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
  • 1/2 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.


Nutrition Facts
Red Sauce Pasta Recipe | Pasta in marinara sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 50mg2%
Potassium 522mg15%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 584IU12%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 102mg10%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let me know on Instagram @rachna.parmar or tag #rachnacooks
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Let me know if you try the recipe. I promise you that this Red Sauce Pasta will become a regular feature on your weeknight lunches and dinners.

Do share if you like the post:

Do also try Spaghetti with Chicken MeatBalls, Pasta in Pesto and Pasta in Avocado Sauce as well.

Do you want a FREE 4 week Lunchbox Planner with different daily lunch ideas along with BONUS Snack ideas, all healthy and wholesome with recipe links? Get it here.

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Shailaja V -

Pasta is a favourite at home. I usually make the white sauce but red is an equally appetising one too. I’m also glad that this can be a meal in itself which is pretty ideal.

Love the colour on the recipe. It looks good.

Obsessivemom -

I really have to try this. I’ve been planning to try pasta for ages. All I’ve ever made is pasta-bean salad. This recipe sounds good.

Vidya Sury -

Vidur loves pasta. I make the red and white sauce from scratch. Initially followed a recipe but now we have our own tweaks that make it our own special. And of course we’re all about the one-dish meal! This recipe looks good! You are right aout cooking the pasta just right.

Soumya Prasad -

I’ve never liked a red sauce pasta. Somehow it has gotten way too tomatoey for me always. I prefer the white sauce ones and the pesto ones. This recipe might change my perspective about read sauce pasta, let me try making it this weekend.

Lata Sunil -

Strangely, I cannot see the recipe at all!!! Is that some bug? I want to try this out as I love Pasta a bit too much.

Rachna -

Hi Lata, Yes, I noticed the recipe is missing. Perhaps when the transfer happened. Will fix it and ping you.

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