Are you tired of plain, boring marinara sauce straight from the jar? Do you want to add some extra flavor and spice to your pasta dishes?
Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore some simple and creative ways to elevate your marinara sauce game. From adding herbs and spices to sautéing fresh vegetables, we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, these tips will help you create a delicious and personalized marinara sauce that will impress your family and friends.
So grab a jar of your favorite marinara sauce and let’s get started!
How To Spice Up Marinara Sauce?
1. Add Seasonings
If you’re using a plain tomato sauce, stir in some seasonings to add extra flavor. Red pepper flakes, garlic, dried oregano, parsley, or basil are all great options. You can also use an Italian seasoning blend for a more complex flavor profile.
2. Use Flavorful Olive Oil
Adding a good amount of flavorful olive oil will go a long way in infusing flavor into your sauce. You can add this to the pot to begin with, or drizzle it on just before serving as a finishing oil.
3. Season It
Taste the sauce once it’s warm and add some seasoning. Maybe it needs a touch of salt, red pepper flakes, or some fresh garlic to liven it up. You could add dried or fresh herbs too: oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley—they’re all great! For an extra kick, toss in some chopped anchovies (or anchovy salt), olives, or some lemon zest and/or juice.
4. Add Some Acid
Liven things up with a little acid. Try apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, capers, chopped olives, or lemon juice. If the sauce is already acidic enough, use just the lemon zest instead. Stir it in at the end of the cooking process to preserve as much bright freshness as possible.
5. Thicken It Up
If the sauce tastes watery, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken it up and add more tomato flavor.
6. Sauté Fresh Vegetables
Heat up some olive oil in a pan and sauté diced onions and garlic until they’re translucent. Then add in some of the marinara sauce and mix together. You can also toss in other vegetables like peppers, carrots, spinach, kale, zucchini or eggplant for added flavor and nutrients.
7. Experiment with Different Herbs and Spices
A few herbs and spices can add a lot of flavor to pre-made sauce. Add a teaspoon or two of thyme, oregano, basil, or even a small pinch of red pepper flakes if you like a little heat. Just remember that your sauce might already have some of these as ingredients, so don’t go overboard on them.
8. Sweeten It Up
If your sauce is too acidic for your taste, cut the acidity with some brown sugar. Not too much though – just enough to balance it out.
Herbs And Spices To Add To Marinara Sauce
When it comes to adding herbs and spices to marinara sauce, there are a wide variety of options to choose from. Dried herbs and spices should be added at the beginning of the cooking process so that they have time to bloom. Fresh herbs, like basil or oregano, should be stirred in at the end, before you serve the sauce.
A classic Italian seasoning blend is a great option for adding complexity and depth to your marinara sauce. This blend typically includes dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. You can also add some red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat.
If you prefer a more personalized flavor profile, you can experiment with different herbs and spices. Thyme, oregano, basil, and rosemary are all great options for adding herbaceous notes to your sauce. For a more savory flavor profile, try adding some garlic powder or onion powder. A small pinch of red pepper flakes can add a subtle kick of heat.
It’s important to remember that your sauce might already have some of these ingredients as part of its recipe. Taste your sauce before adding any additional herbs or spices to avoid over-seasoning. With a little bit of experimentation and some careful seasoning, you can create a marinara sauce that is uniquely your own.
Sautéing Fresh Vegetables For Extra Flavor
One way to add extra flavor to your marinara sauce is to sauté fresh vegetables. This is a great way to incorporate more nutrients and texture into your sauce. Start by dicing up some onions, garlic, and any other vegetables you like such as peppers, carrots, spinach, kale, zucchini, or eggplant. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and sauté the vegetables until they’re tender and slightly caramelized. This will bring out the natural sweetness of the vegetables and add depth to your sauce.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add in some of the marinara sauce and mix everything together. The fresh vegetables will infuse the sauce with their flavors and create a more complex taste. You can also experiment with different vegetables and herbs to find the perfect combination for your taste buds.
Remember, the key is to have some kind of fresh vegetable to make it taste and look like fresh homemade sauce. If you’re short on time, you can also toss in some greens like spinach, kale, or basil strips before heating up the sauce. This will add some healthy freshness without much effort. With these simple tips, you can easily transform a store-bought marinara sauce into a delicious homemade meal.
Using Different Types Of Tomatoes For A Unique Twist
Tomatoes are the star ingredient in any marinara sauce, and using different varieties can add a unique twist to your recipe. Green Beefsteaks, for example, have a tart and tangy flavor that pairs well with other ingredients to create something unique. They can be used in juicing, artisan sandwiches, salsas, dips, and cold or hot sauces. They can even be used in baked items like desserts and pies and make a great substitute for Granny Smith apples.
If you’re looking for a sweeter flavor, try using cherry tomatoes. These little guys pack a lot of sweetness and are perfect for roasting. Simply slice them in half, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they’re caramelized. Then add them to your sauce for a burst of sweetness.
If you want a more complex flavor profile, try using heirloom tomatoes. These tomatoes come in a variety of colors and sizes and each has its own unique flavor. They’re perfect for adding depth to your sauce and can be used in combination with other tomato varieties.
Using different types of tomatoes is an easy way to add variety to your marinara sauce. Experiment with different flavors until you find the perfect combination that suits your taste buds.
Adding Meat Or Seafood For Protein And Texture
One way to add protein and texture to your marinara sauce is by incorporating meat or seafood. Ground beef, sausage, meatballs, chicken, or shrimp are all great options. Start by browning your meat in a pan with garlic. You can add the sauce when the meat is only partially cooked so it can finish cooking in the sauce and impart more flavor to it.
For seafood, try adding some clams or mussels to your marinara sauce. Simply cook them in a separate pot with some white wine until they open up, then add them to your sauce. You can also add some shrimp or scallops for a seafood twist.
Adding meat or seafood not only adds protein but also enhances the flavor and texture of your marinara sauce. It’s a great way to make your sauce heartier and more filling. Just make sure to drain any excess oil or fat before adding it to your sauce.
Experimenting With Different Types Of Cheese
Marinara sauce is a blank canvas that can be elevated with the addition of different types of cheese. While cream cheese is a great option, there are many other varieties that can be used to add depth and flavor to your sauce. For example, Parmesan cheese adds a nutty and salty flavor, while mozzarella cheese melts beautifully and adds a creamy texture. Ricotta cheese can be used to make a creamy tomato sauce or added as a topping to finished dishes. Goat cheese adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with spicy marinara sauce.
Experimenting with different types of cheese can also involve mixing them together for a unique flavor profile. Try combining Parmesan and mozzarella for a classic Italian flavor, or mix ricotta and goat cheese for a creamy yet tangy sauce. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try out new combinations.
When adding cheese to your marinara sauce, it’s important to remember that some cheeses are saltier than others. Be sure to taste your sauce before adding any additional salt to avoid over-seasoning. Additionally, some cheeses may not melt well or may clump together in the sauce. To avoid this, grate the cheese finely or crumble it into small pieces before adding it to the sauce.
Using Wine Or Balsamic Vinegar To Enhance Flavor
One of the best ways to enhance the flavor of your marinara sauce is by adding some wine or balsamic vinegar. Both red and white wine work extremely well for adding flavor to tomato sauce. Red wine gives the sauce added richness and robustness, while white wine imparts a fruity flavor. Incorporate the wine early in the cooking process, just after the vegetables have softened. Then, let the wine cook down and reduce almost all the way. The alcohol will cook off, while its wonderful flavors are left behind.
If you don’t have any wine on hand, balsamic vinegar is another great option. It adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the sauce that complements the acidity of the tomatoes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to your marinara sauce just before serving, or drizzle it on top as a finishing touch. Taste as you go, adding a little at a time so you don’t overpower the sauce.
Using wine or balsamic vinegar in your marinara sauce can take it from good to great. It’s a simple way to add depth and complexity to your sauce, and it’s sure to impress your dinner guests. So next time you’re making marinara sauce, don’t forget to reach for the wine or balsamic vinegar!