How to Dress Up Jarred Tomato Sauce

8:54:00 PM

Okay, confession time, folks:

Most of the time, when we have pasta I use a jarred tomato sauce.
Yes, I know it is better for you (less sugar and salt) if you make your own. And I do know how…but I work full time, and sometimes we just need to eat now. (most of the time, actually. But I rarely make just the pasta sauce straight from the jar, so today I thought I’d share with you how to dress up your pasta sauce. You can take several of these add-ins, or only a few. There are even a few items that will make that pasta sauce healthier—I promise!

Add meat:

My husband tells me that this is not optional. However, with meat prices being what they are, I have skipped on the meat a few times, much to his chagrin. Some options for meat include:

  • Ground beef
  • Ground turkey
  • Ground chicken
  • Italian sausage
  • Meatloaf mix
  • Premade meatballs
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast (Chicken Parmesan, anyone?)

Add herbs and seasonings:

You can go premade with your seasonings, or go with fresh herbs, or anything in between. It depends on how flavorful the meat or sauce already is as to how much I put into the sauce. Here are a few that go with the red sauce:

  • Spaghetti seasoning (premade, or make your own—there are several kinds: we use spicy)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Hot sauce (my husband puts this on his dish separately)
  • Garlic
  • Basil (fresh or dried)
  • Oregano (fresh or dried)
  • Parsley (fresh or dried)
  • Red pepper flakes

Add vegetables:

You can hide a lot of veggies into a pasta sauce. If you have a suspicious family member, then the food processor is your friend. Puree up these veggies, and chances are, they won’t even know that you’ve added anything. Here are some that I add on a regular basis:

  • Spinach (I put in pureed spinach while I’m cooking the meat)
  • Carrots (grated finely or pureed, it disappears into the sauce)
  • Onions
  • Bell Peppers
So here’s the finished result (at least, this time):

In case you were wondering, this spaghetti started out in a jar, but I added ground turkey, spicy spaghetti seasoning, minced garlic, carrots, onions and bell peppers. The whole meal (spaghetti sauce, noodles, bread and salad took 20 minutes to prepare.

Architecture of a Mom Signature

You Might Also Like


  1. What great ideas! We'd love you to share this at our party!

  2. Hey Rachel! My husband insists I do this with our canned sauces too. He can't handle it "straight up" :) Thanks for linking up! And I loved your clock-turned-mirror project too!

    -Missy @ So You Think You're Crafty

  3. Absolutely mouthwatering. Great ideas!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.