Marinara sauce is one of the main ingredients used in many different Italian-American recipes.
It is made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs like basil and oregano. However, there are also varieties made with capers, olives, hot pepper flakes, bay leaves, anchovies, wine, and spices.
The marinara sauce works great in pasta dishes, lasagna, pizza, meatballs, meat, seafood, and as a dipping sauce. However, if you don’t have marinara sauce on hand there are other alternatives you can use instead.
Now, let’s learn more about each substitute below!
Substitutes For Marinara Sauce
There are many different alternatives for a marinara sauce that you can use to improve the flavor of your recipes.
Some of them are ingredients that we have at home. Therefore, all you need is a little time and effort and your substitute for the marinara sauce will be ready in no time.
1. Canned tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are one of the ingredients you can use as a substitute for marinara sauce. You can use whole, crushed, or diced tomatoes.
However, make sure that canned tomatoes are not seasoned so you can add seasonings to your taste. Just strain the liquid from the can and save it for later to adjust the consistency of the sauce if needed.
Blend the tomatoes to get a smooth and even texture, cook them, and add salt, basil, and oregano to your taste. If the texture is too thick you can adjust it by adding the liquid from the can or letting it cook longer if you want a thicker texture.
You can use canned tomatoes in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for the marinara sauce in your recipes.
2. Tomato paste
Tomato paste is also a good substitute for marinara sauce.
You can use 1 cup of tomato paste mixed with 1 cup of water as a substitute for 2 cups of marinara sauce. If you want to adjust the texture, you can add more paste or water.
To get the same flavor as the marinara sauce you can add basil, garlic powder, salt, oregano, and other seasonings to your taste.
3. Tomato puree
Tomato puree consists of cooked and strained tomatoes. You can use seasonings to your taste and turn tomato puree into marinara sauce adjusting its texture to the thickness that you want.
Tomato puree can be substituted with marinara sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
4. Condensed tomato soup
Condensed tomato soup is milk or broth-based soup with added salt and other seasonings.
It has a thinner texture than marinara sauce and a sweeter flavor. If you want to use this type of soup as a substitute for marinara sauce, make sure that its flavor will work in your recipe.
You will also have to cook it longer to get a thicker texture and reduce the added salt. Moreover, expect a different flavor than the one you will get from the marinara sauce.
Substitute1 cup of marinara sauce with 1 cup of condensed tomato soup.
5. Tomato ketchup
Tomato ketchup is an ingredient that most of us usually have at home. It doesn’t have the same flavor and texture as a marinara sauce.
However, you can add spices and herbs to your taste to get a similar flavor. You can also cook it longer to reduce the liquid and get a thicker texture.
Ketchup also has sugar, salt, and vinegar which can alter the flavor of your recipe. Use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for marinara sauce.
6. Pasta sauce
Pasta sauce is made of tomatoes, vegetables, and seasonings and offers a similar tomato flavor mixed with the other flavors from the seasonings and vegetables used for its preparation.
Therefore, if you don’t mind a different flavor, you can use pasta sauce as a substitute for the marinara sauce in a 1:1 ratio
7. Pizza sauce
Pizza sauce is another ingredient you can use as a substitute for marinara sauce.
It usually consists of uncooked pureed tomatoes, salt, oregano, pepper, and garlic. But because pizza sauce is thicker than marinara sauce you can add water to make it thinner.
Add some basil or other seasonings to your taste and your marinara sauce substitute is ready to use. You can use pizza sauce in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for marinara sauce.
8. Tomato juice
Tomato juice is made of fresh crushed or squeezed tomatoes and doesn’t contain additives and preservatives. However, because it is thinner than marinara sauce you need to simmer it to get a thicker texture.
You can also add basil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to get a similar flavor to marinara sauce. Use 1cup of tomato juice to substitute ½ cup of marinara sauce and ½ cup of water used in the sauce.
9. Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is a versatile ingredient that works well in stews, sauces, soups, pizza, and many other dishes. It is made by cooking fresh tomatoes into a nice and flavorful sauce. Tomato sauce has added seasonings like onion, chili peppers, garlic, oregano, basil, and black pepper.
Therefore, you will have to adjust the amount of the other seasonings in the dish. Replace marinara sauce with tomato sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
10. Fresh tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes are the best substitute for marinara sauce if you have time to cook them into a tasty sauce. You can add the seasonings you like to adjust the flavor of the sauce to your taste.
When your homemade sauce is ready you can substitute it for the marinara sauce in a 1:1 ratio. The recipe for a marinara sauce made with fresh tomatoes is below.
11. Tomato passata
Tomato passata consists of raw pureed tomatoes without skins and seeds. It has a fresh tomato flavor and thick texture which makes it a good substitute for marinara sauce.
You can add seasonings to your taste and use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for marinara sauce.
12. Homemade marinara sauce
The best substitute for marinara sauce is homemade marinara sauce.
You only need a few ingredients such as fresh tomatoes (plum or San Marzano tomatoes), olive oil, garlic, onion, sea salt, black pepper, basil, oregano, honey, and chili pepper flakes (optional). If you don’t have fresh tomatoes you can use one can of tomatoes (28 ounces).
Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 5-6 garlic cloves-minced
- 1 cup of onions-diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano-1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes-optional
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- First, blend the tomatoes in a blender. Add the olive oil to a pan and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes until it becomes tender, then add the garlic and sauté it for 1-2 minutes.
- Finally, add the oregano and chili pepper flakes if you want to use them.
- Stir all together and add the blended tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and honey.
- Simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes at medium heat and stir occasionally until the sauce becomes thicker.
- Taste the sauce and add some more salt, pepper, or chili flakes to your taste.
- Tear the basil leaves add them to the sauce and stir.
- You will get about 3 cups of beautiful and tasty homemade marinara sauce which is ready to use in your recipes.
Substitute For Marinara Sauce In Lasagna
Marinara sauce is one of the key ingredients in lasagna.
However, you can also use tomato sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, tomato puree, tomato passata, or canned tomatoes as a substitute for marinara sauce.
Just add your favorite herbs and spices and your substitute for marinara sauce is ready to use.
Substitute For Marinara Sauce On Pizza
You can use pizza sauce as a substitute for marinara sauce on pizza. It is made of uncooked pureed tomatoes, salt, oregano, pepper, and garlic.
It will give a beautiful flavor to your pizza and make it taste better. You can also use tomato paste, tomato sauce, and pasta sauce as a substitute for marinara sauce on pizzas. However, you will have to make some adjustments.
Substitute For Marinara Sauce For Mozzarella Sticks
People usually serve mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce. But other ingredients such as pizza sauce, tomato sauce, or tomato ketchup can replace marinara sauce in this case.
What is a good substitute for marinara sauce?
A good substitute for marinara sauce is canned tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, or some of the ingredients mentioned in this article.
Can I use tomato sauce instead of marinara sauce?
You can use tomato sauce instead of marinara sauce but have in mind that it contains seasoning so, you will have to adjust the amount of the other seasonings added to your dish.
Can you substitute salsa for marinara sauce?
Salsa contains bigger parts of chopped tomatoes, onions, and different seasonings than marinara sauce. That means it is not a good idea to use salsa as a substitute for marinara sauce. You will also get a sauce with different flavors and textures.
Marinara sauce is a versatile sauce that takes part in many different recipes. However, there are also some good alternatives for a marinara sauce, if you don’t have it at hand. All you need are a few ingredients, some time, and a passion for cooking and trying out new things!