Out of jarred marinara sauce? You'll never need to buy it again when you make this easy recipe using canned tomato paste plus a few pantry ingredients. It's not only economical, it's incredibly delicious.
If you're anything like me, you probably turn to pasta when you're short on time or lack the energy needed to get dinner on the table. Not only is it satisfying, even the pickiest of eaters enjoy it.
But don't fret if you forgot to pick up a bottle of spaghetti sauce at the supermarket. This sauce not only tastes better than most store-bought sauces, it will be ready in the time it takes to boil water and cook a box of spaghetti or penne.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It cooks quickly and is ready in only 15 minutes.
- You only need 6 ingredients to make it, plus salt and pepper.
- It makes the exact amount needed to serve with a pound of pasta.
Balsamic vinegar: While it may sound contradictory, balsamic vinegar balances out the acidity of the tomatoes. If you don't have any on hand, you can leave it out.
Or add a pinch of organic sugar if the sauce tastes sour. You can also substitute a splash of your favorite red wine.
Italian parsley: Fresh herbs like parsley or basil compliment the flavors of this sauce. But if unavailable, simply omit them. You do not need to add extra dried herbs.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Saute the garlic in olive oil.
- Add the tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in a splash of balsamic vinegar.
To change the flavors of the sauce, try stirring in sliced olives, capers, and/or crushed red chili flakes during the last few minutes of cooking. This will transform it to a variation of a vegan Puttanesca sauce.
This easy meatless spaghetti sauce pairs well with any of your favorite pasta shapes. In addition, you can serve it tossed with noodles made from wheat, rice, corn, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, or a blend. For a complete meal, try it with a vegetable side dish or salad like one of these favorites:
Storing and freezing
Any unused sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, leave a little room at the top of a glass container before adding the lid. When you're ready to use it, defrost the container in the refrigerator overnight or until thawed.
For tips on freezing, refer to USDA Freezing and Food Safety.
Tomato paste is a thick tomato concentrate made by cooking down tomatoes for hours and straining out the skins and seeds. It can be purchased in cans or tubes.
Tomato sauce is cooked pureed tomatoes. It isn't as thick as the concentrated paste.
While both sauces can be served over pasta, marinara refers to red tomato-based sauces like this tomato paste pasta sauce. Spaghetti sauce often refers to pasta sauces that also contain meat or vegetables. At the end of the day, both are names for pasta sauce.
More ways to use tomato paste
Looking for more ways to use the cans of tomato paste in your pantry? Try some of these vegan favorites:
And for even more delicious vegan recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook Group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
15 Minute Tomato Paste Pasta Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can tomato paste, (6 ounces)
- 1½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, (or substitute dried oregano or basil)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper, to taste
- splash balsamic vinegar, (See notes.)
- 12-16 ounces cooked pasta, for serving
- fresh Italian parsley or basil, torn or chopped, for serving (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a low boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Add in a splash of balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
- Toss with cooked pasta. Garnish with fresh Italian parsley or basil, if desired.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.