cooking · Dinner

Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce & Quinoa-Balls

I adapted a recipe out of a certain cooking magazine I’d rather not name (they are rather litigious, I am sure my readers can figure out who it is)…but my Mother-In Law had sent me a pile of older issues and I went through them anyways looking for ideas. The marinara sauce caught my eye, it was very easy to make, although cost wise it can be expensive compared to opening a jar o’ sauce – but you won’t regret the time and cost, it is amazing tasting. Even better I am sure with fresh basil as called for, but I was out and subbed in dry, which was just fine. Their recipe called for 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes, I went for diced since I had them on hand. Use what you like/have.

Marinara Sauce


  • 4 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, preferably organic
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, diced
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup red wine, use what you like – I used a Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil or 3 Tbsp fresh, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste (I used ½ tsp each)
  • 1 tsp organic granulated sugar or raw honey
  • Spaghetti to serve with (it will sauce up to a pound)


Strain the tomatoes over a large bowl through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down to squeeze out the juice gently. Measure out 2½ cups of the juice and set aside. Measure ¾ of the tomatoes and also set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add in the oil and onion, saute until tender and turning golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the oregano and garlic, saute for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes from the strainer, turn up to medium-high. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated.  Add the wine and cook for a minute. Stir in the reserved tomato juice, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Take off the heat and carefully transfer to a blender or food processer, add the reserved tomatoes. Process just till a smooth chunky texture. Return to the skillet, add basil, oil, salt and pepper and sugar. Let simmer for a minute, then taste and add more seasoning as desired.

Toss with hot spaghetti (we used a multi-grain thin spaghetti that is whole wheat and oat flour) and a nice sprinkling of Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Makes about 4 cups sauce.

Serves 4.



  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby portabella or crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ounces spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg (used a turkey egg), preferably local
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts, diced


Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, add it and the broth to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium-low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn off and let sit for 5 minutes, fluff up and set aside to cool down a bit.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium, add the oil, mushrooms, onion and peppers. Saute until tender and turning golden. Add the spinach, turn off the heat and let wilt.

Add the vegetables, along with herbs and walnuts to a food processer, pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, mix with the quinoa. Beat the egg, mix in.

Preheat the oven to 400°, line a baking sheet with foil, liberally brush with olive oil.

Use a 3-Tablespoon Disher to scoop, press with your hands to make balls, place on the sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, until turning golden, you may wish to bake longer, if desired. Let sit for 5 minutes, use a metal spatula to pop off the foil.

Makes about 24 balls.


5 thoughts on “Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce & Quinoa-Balls

  1. This is a luxury tomato sauce! i love the added red wine in here! Your quinoa balls caught my eye immediately! I love the add ins too! Tons of flavour in them!

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