If pasta sauces make you think of tomatoes, that’s a natural reaction. Many of the most iconic pastas out there are swirled with tomato-based sauces, but it’s not the only way to dress up your noodles. Enter, pesto. This herbaceous sauce is one of those chameleon recipes you can make every which way (see more on that below!) and can be a great way to mix up pasta night, especially if you eat it on a regular basis. And not only that, pesto is one of the easiest ways to get some added nutrients into a dish without raising eyebrows. For example, if you blend up handfuls of spinach with garlic, walnuts, salt, and olive oil, it’ll taste so delicious, no one will be thinking about the added health benefits!
Ways to Make Pesto
Just as tomatoes are commonly associated with pasta sauces, basil might be the first herb that comes to mind when you think of pesto. But if you stick to the classic—albeit delicious—recipe of basil and pine nuts, you’d be missing out on a host of unique ways to spruce up this condiment that’s just as comfortable on penne as it as spooned over veggies or spread on a sandwich. Here are some of our favorite combinations:
- Mint and pistachios
- Parsley and walnuts
- Thai basil and walnuts
- Almonds, basil, and red peppers
- Spinach, basil, and pepitas
Top Pasta Sauces Brands
There’s a lot to choose from on the pasta sauce shelf. Have a look at these top three brands for some inspiration:
Kitchen & Love
Healthy food—fast. That’s what Kitchen & Love wants to help you achieve. The brand started with a focus on helping working moms put wholesome meals on the dinner table, even after a long day, and its line of pestos, vinegars, and ready-made meals are worth a look.
When it comes to Italian night, Thrive Market Goods has you covered. Our line of sauces ranges from classic marinara to more lively options like roasted red pepper and savory roasted garlic. Every jar contains just the right amount to toss with a pound of pasta so you can throw together the perfect pantry meal easily.
It’s notoriously difficult to snag a table at Rao’s restaurants, which is why this line of sauces is the perfect alternative for a night in. The brand has been making fans of its rustic Italian food since 1896 when the first restaurant opened in New York City. Now you can bring a taste of history home.
Best Pesto Sauce
This versatile condiment is a pantry-must have.
Kitchen & Love Basil Pesto Sauce
Classic basil pesto hails from Genoa, a town in Northern Italy. To recreate the popular flavor, Kitchen & Love starts with fresh basil before tossing in a hard cheese blend (Grana Padano and Parmesan), Brazil nuts, garlic, and sunflower oil. You’ll want to lick it with a spoon—but save some for your pasta, too.
Kitchen & Love Artichoke Pesto Sauce
Switch things up with a different kind of pesto. This one uses artichokes, basil, and crushed garlic that have been pounded to create the perfect creamy texture. You can use it on pasta, of course, or try it as a sandwich spread or a dip for crunchy veggies.
Top Pasta Sauce Products
Here are our picks for the top pasta sauces to stock up on.
Rao’s Arrabbiata Fra Diavolo Sauce, Hot
If you can handle the heat, top your bowl of noodles with Rao’s Arrabbiata Fra Diavolo Sauce. This tomato-based sauce is layered with added spice from a healthy dose of crushed red pepper flakes.
Thrive Market Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
This ready-made sauce relies on simmered San Marzano plum tomatoes and organic basil for its naturally sweet flavor. Try it on spaghetti or simmer homemade meatballs in it for added depth of flavor.
Fody Foods Marinara Sauce
Following a low FODMAP diet? This sauce was made with you in mind. No need to worry about uncomfortable symptoms—this jar doesn’t have any gluten, garlic, or onion inside.
Italian Recipe Ideas From Thrive Market
Embrace your inner Italian with our lineup of easy dishes to enjoy any night of the week.
Italian Baked Chicken With Cherry Tomatoes
Calling all chicken lovers! This baked dish seals in juices and tops each breast with bursting cherry tomatoes that are simmered in garlic and olive oil.
No-Boil Baked Penne Recipe
Not only is this baked penne a one-pot dish to make clean up a breeze, but you don’t even need to boil the noodles beforehand. Just stir everything into the pot and walk away while it cooks.
Easy Gluten-Free Recipes
Even if you’re on a gluten-free diet, you can still make some easy Italian recipes the whole family can enjoy. This recipe round-up has something for everyone.