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Recipe & Food Styling | Quick & easy Marinara Sauce – Life isn’t always going to be picture perfect

15 October 2015 One Comment

healthy marinara sauce recipe

As far as I remember, Tea was the very first thing I learnt to prepare when I was in my middle school.

I was playing an important role in an English play at school and wanted to practice my lines when everyone at home were asleep.

Mom never introduced us to drinking tea or coffee during our school days, but I knew that a cup of hot tea is my best bet to keep awake for long. So ‘tea’ it was.

I confidently lighted the stove, pulled out a small vessel, added water, milk, sugar, tea leaves and kept it on the stove. With the script in my hand, I started to walk around the house reciting my part loudly. By the time I finished rehearsing the last line of the play, I smelt something burning and ran towards to kitchen. I could not see anything, the kitchen was filled with thick dark smoke. The vessel on the stove was red hot and the charred tea leaves inside the burnt vessel started to give flames.

Well, that was my first kitchen disaster and I learnt my lesson of ‘never being ignorant‘ when cooking.

But then, life isn’t always going to be picture perfect…it doesn’t need to be 🙂

Mom taught me many simple Indian recipes such as rotis (Indian flat-breads), Khichdi and chutneys (spreads) at a very early age. She being a working woman was not around when we would return home, tired and hungry.

Even today, when there is a photo-shoot or we have unexpected guests at home these recipes are my savior.

I had a photo-shoot recently with Kunal Daswani and Rubecon Ad agency for a food chain of Satyam cinema group in Chennai.

I prepared a different version of tomato spread the previous night, refrigerated it and served it with pasta the next day. The sauce is called ‘Marinara sauce‘ which is widely used in Italian cuisine.

I adapted this recipe from Food 52, check different versions of this recipe here.
recipe and food styling | marinara tomato sauce recipe

This was the first time I tried my hands on styling ice-cream. I prepared ice-cream cookies, which came out quite good.

recipe and food styling | marinara tomato sauce recipe

The team…planning & discussing the shots.

recipe and food styling | marinara tomato sauce recipe

Coffee break…

recipe and food styling | marinara tomato sauce recipe

One another wonderful photo-shoot with Kunal and the team comes to an end..till we meet again!

Marinara Sauce aka Tomato chutney

recipe and food styling | marinara tomato sauce recipe


(serve 4)

  • 10-12 large ripe tomatoes
    1/4 cup Olive oil
    5-6 garlic cloves
    1 tsp red chilly powder (optional)
    1/2 tsp. crushed black pepper
    A pinch of sugar
    Salt to taste
    Few Basil leaves

recipe and food styling | marinara tomato sauce recipe

Method; Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Make a small incision in each tomato using a sharp knife and place all the tomatoes in it boiling water.
Boilt for a about a minute and take the pot off the flame.
Peel the skins of tomatoes and mash it with a ladle or masher.
Finely chop the garlic cloves.
Heat Olive oil or any other vegetable oil in a pan, add chopped garlic in it and sauté for a minute.
Add mashed tomatoes in the pan, stir together and cook for 9-10 minutes on medium heat.
Add salt, crushed black pepper, chilly powder, sugar and shredded basil leaves to the sauce.
Combine well and take the pan off the flame.
Serve this spicy Marinara sauce with pasta, polenta, lasagne or any Indian flat bread.


Back home, after the shoot, I boiled some whole wheat pasta and tossed it in the Marinara sauce…quick and easy dinner at home.

Try some more tomato based sauces or chutney from Lite Bite here;

Onion Tomato relish

Spicy Tomato Spread

Peanut Tomato chutney

Bell pepper-tomato spread

Sun-dried Cherry Tomato chutney

Sesame-tomato dipping sauce


  1. Cooking time for the sauce will depend upon the consistency you require. Cook for 30-40 minutes on low heat if you want thick sauce and for less time for a runny Marinara sauce.
  2. Add bay leaf for more flavor.
  3. Use a mix of tangy and sweet tomatoes for the recipe.
  4. Adjust the consistency of the recipe according to your wish. Keep it slightly runny for sauce and cook it further for few more minutes to make it as a spread or chutney.


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One Comment »

  • Nandita said:

    Awesome post with some gorgeous pictures!!! Thoroughly enjoyed the post Sanjeeta 🙂

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