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Goat Cheese Marinara


This recipe originally ran as a part of our Traverse Magazine story, the “Perfect Winter Picnic,” in which Elk Rapids Wine Shop owner Rob Crandell gave us his favorite outdoor recipes. Of course, this fabulous recipe can easily be made at home as well.

If you are planning Goat Cheese Marinara for a picnic, make the marinara at home and then assemble the dish on site.



  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
(San Marzano)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 4-oz log of chèvre (goat cheese)
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Boule of quality bread


Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme and cook on low for 3 hours to reduce and concentrate flavors. Place tomato mixture in small baking dish and set chèvre on top; sprinkle with a dash of herbes de Provence and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until it becomes the consistency of a spread. (Gourmet shortcut: Start with a good store-bought marinara, like Food for Thought’s Leek Marinara or Mario Batali’s line of sauces and cook it down for 35 to 45 minutes.)

Cut top off the boule and carefully carve out the bread inside the rounded crust. Do not puncture the crust because it serves as the bowl for the marinara spread. Cube the bread into bite-size pieces and put in a Ziploc.

Heat on a portable grill, camp stove or fire or bring in a pre-warmed Thermos. Before serving, scoop the marinara into the carved-out boule scoop. Wait to stir in the goat cheese till you pour the marinara into the boule. In meantime, carry the cheese in a breast pocket to keep it warm and soft.