Who doesn't have a jar of marinara sauce sitting on a shelf somewhere? It's a home cook's best friend when a cooked-from-scratch meal is just too taxing.
But jarred tomato sauce is good for much more than pasta. It's deep, rich flavor can perk up all sorts of dishes. We've rounded up our five favorite ways use this versatile pantry staple—read on to discover your new favorite dinner shortcut.
1. Make veggie-heavy ratatouille
Perfect for a quick family dinner, this vegetarian stew is an an incredible blend of flavors and textures. It can be made in a jiffy by sautéing red peppers, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, and shallots in olive oil. Toss with tomato sauce, and throw in some chopped fresh basil and rosemary if on hand.
2. Cook up huevos rancheros
Who doesn't love this south-of-the-border favorite? In a food processor, process tomato sauce with garlic, an onion, a seeded jalapeño pepper, cumin, and cilantro leaves. Then, add the mixture to a pan and bring to a simmer on the stove to thicken it slightly. Layer organic corn tortillas with warmed refried beans, a fried egg, some of the thickened salsa, and grated cheese to serve.
3. Roast beef in a slow cooker
Hello, Sunday supper. Trim the fat from a chuck beef roast and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add oil to a large pot and brown the roast on all sides. Place the roast in a slow cooker and top with equal parts tomato sauce and beef bone broth. Add in sliced onions and carrots, minced garlic, a bay leaf or two, and a tablespoon of vinegar and honey. Leave to cook for 6 to 8 hours, and voila—you'll have the most flavorful and tender roast you've ever eaten.
4. Stir together Spanish rice
This tangy side dish is a natural with Mexican favorites or roasted chicken. Cook white or brown rice in a mixture of one part water, one part tomato sauce. When the rice is cooked, toss it with garlic, cumin, green peas, and chopped spring onion and serve warm.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont