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Mighty Marinara Sauce

Amp up your favourite, ready-to-use marinara sauce with lentils & chickpeas to make a fast & hearty vegetarian meal. This versatile sauce can be used as a spaghetti sauce, pizza topping or as a zucchini filling.


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry red split lentils, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) your favourite marinara/pasta sauce
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cooked or canned chickpeas, drained & rinsed, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh basil, chopped or 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) dried
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh oregano, chopped or 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) dried


Combine dry lentils and water in a large saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, then simmer until lentils are very soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain any excess water.

Place cooked lentils in a blender or food processor, add 1/4 cup (60 mL) warm water and blend/purée until mixture is smooth. Alternatively, place cooked lentils and 1/4 cup (60 mL) warm water back into the saucepan and mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Set aside.

In large saucepan, heat marinara/pasta sauce, add puréed lentils and the chickpeas. Heat until bubbling, then reduce heat and simmer until very thick. Add spinach, basil and oregano and cook until heated through.

Serve with your favourite pasta, use as a pizza sauce or on top of flatbread or as a stuffing for baked zucchini, butternut, acorn or spaghetti squash. Check out our Baked Stuffed Zucchini recipe!


This sauce freezes really well!

A (19 oz/540 mL) can of chickpeas yields 2 cups (500 mL) cooked chickpeas. Use 1 cup (250 mL) for this recipe and store the remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Add chickpeas to soups, salads or mash and add to sandwich fillings for a boost of plant-based protein and fibre!

Reviews [1]

Michael Press

Just sharing it. Sent to my inbox to file for future consideration.