Liver & Onions Marinara

liver and onions marinara

Almost two years ago we brought our longhorn, Cholula, into the butcher. I had a six week old baby in the sling and Texas had just weathered one of the worst droughts in history. Cholula was a bit on the thin side to say the least.

When we picked her up we had organ meats to eat for weeks. The amount of liver that comes from one cow is enormous, let me tell ya. Besides liver, there was tongue and kidney and heart and more and more liver. It was a lot of offal for one family, and while we eat it, we’re not jumping up and down about it.

But it seems like the right thing to do, the eating of the whole animal. Plus, we know the organs are incredibly nutrient-dense, even compared to that tasty flesh. So those weeks of organ meats really helped to strengthen me following the birth of our third baby.

Pairing liver with bacon and onions makes it delectable, as do these tips for cooking liver. Adding a layer of garlic-laden marinara sauce adds one more layer of flavor to balance out that strong liver flavor. It’s still liver, y’all, but if you’re going to eat it why not make it tasty?

liver and onions marinara

Liver & Onions Marinara

The Players

The How-To

  1. Place bacon pieces in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Cook bacon until the fat begins to render out and it just begins to crisp up. Add onions and a pinch of sea salt and continue to saute until onions are soft. Add garlic and saute two more minutes.
  2. Move the bacon and onions to the sides of the pan, crank the heat to high, and make sure there is plenty of fat in the center for cooking the liver. If not add some lard or coconut oil. Place liver strips in the center of pan and sear for about two minutes, turn them as well as you can and cook another two minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, stir to combine, and cook just until sauce is heated through, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.


  1. Sharon R says

    Thank you for posting a liver recipe. Along with the hog we had butchered for our freezer last year, came an extremely large pork liver. Next time, I’ll know to ask them to divide the liver and slice it into portions. Anyway, that huge liver has been sitting in my freezer waiting for a recipe. This may very well be the answer. I’m definitely going to try it with the pork liver. I am not a fan of organ meats but am well aware of their benefits. This might be my solution.

  2. Veronica says

    A really great way to cook liver :
    Just coat liver slices in a breading mix and fry gently until cooked thru –
    It keeps the liver moist and is even good reheated next day !

  3. Deborah says

    Marinate your liver in lemon juice the night before you cook it & it will help it not taste so strong, in addition to it being quite tender. Fried liver (in spelt flour) with carmalized onions, gravy & sourkroute on the side has become one of our favorite meals.
    Can’t wait to try this recipie, Thanks!

  4. MamaCassi says

    i think i could eat this!

    i’ve taken my liver raw and frozen for most of my pregnancies, though some liverwurst or other pork sausages/pates made at home can get me to eat some. i just don’t stomach it well!!!

    but the way i’ve hidden it best is in chili (usually along w/ some heart) b/c the tomatoes and strong flavors all really blend well and help make it less intense to me.

    i’ve got liver, i need to take it, i wonder if the kids will go for this!!!

  5. says

    I know this sounds weird, but I’m glad to hear that a whole liver is so big. We get grassfed beef liver at the farmer’s market that is pre-sliced in one pound(ish) packages. I was thinking that one pkg. was one whole beef liver, and feeling bad that we eat one every other week. (My thinking: is eating that much liver sustainable and truly traditional?) But apparently we aren’t eating more than our fair share. Much to the dismay of my 6 year old. :) I’ll have to give this recipe a try to see if it suits his tastes any better than the bacon/gravy combo I usually make.

    • renee steines says

      Liver has fallen out of favor with most people, it is viewed as a filtering organ for the body, thus makes it, to them undesirable. A beef liver will yield 7-10 # after its trimmed of rind and ducts. When we sell beef, most people do not want the liver, so yes , when you purchase liver you are helping the sustainability of that farmer.

  6. renee steines says

    When liver is cooked “hard”, (high heat and overdone) it will be tough and rubbery. We fry ours in our beef tallow and onions, I saute the onions until carmelly, remove onions from pan, then fry the liver , low to medium heat. , one side, then flip. I check the color by cutting into it,, it will be light grey in color. Remove from pan, put onions over and enjoy. The liver will be moist and tender. If you find there’s a little pink , put it in the microwave 30-60 seconds.

  7. Saule says

    Soaking in milk will make liver more mild. We love liver with bacon, but also love liver pates – spread on crackers or toast, they are a lovely treat.

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