Ok, let’s start with the obvious. Tomato sauce tastes best when it’s from scratch, right? Well, maybe… maybe not. I’ve made more pots of spaghetti and pans of lasagna than I can count (like this Chicken Parmesan). Some have been from scratch, and others have been from a jar that has been doctored up. All have been delicious. I’m telling you, when you don’t have the time or energy to devote to a tomato sauce from scratch, this Easy Tomato Sauce for Cheaters is a wonderful alternative. I guarantee, most people won’t even know!
What do you add to the base to make the tomato sauce taste better?
Now, let me preface this by saying that if you like tomato sauce out of a jar, then that’s totally fine. When I was growing up, we basically just heated up prego and ate it just like that. However, I’m not a huge fan of the taste alone. I still use Prego a LOT though. It’s just so easy AND it’s really delicious after a bit of doctoring.
- Traditional Prego (45 ounce )
- italian seasoning
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- baking soda.
Wait. Sugar and baking soda?
Yep. Sugar and baking soda. I like my tomato sauce on the sweeter side. Sweeter than most, so be careful when adding sugar. Go slowly, you can always add more. I don’t like it when the acid of the tomatoes takes over. Sugar gives it a nice sweet balance. However, sometimes it requires too much sugar or it’s still too acidic (for my taste).
Cue the baking soda. Remember chemistry class and the baking soda and vinegar bubbly volcano? Yep. That’s what we have here (minus the eruption). By adding a little baking soda to your tomato sauce, you will neutralize some of the acidity of the tomatoes. It doesn’t take away the flavor of the tomato, just the acidic bite.
Can I use something beside Prego?
Well, you CAN, but I cannot attest to it. The only kind of jarred sauce I’ve ever used it Prego, so I know what this combination of spices tastes like with that particular sauce.
Now, the amounts of spices that I use in this may seem like a lot, but I really like to transform the jar tomato sauce. And it really does. I’ve made pasta with this sauce SO many times. It’s delicious, I promise.
The beauty though is that this is a very flexible recipe. Add some spice, taste as you go, tweak, simmer and repeat until you get it jus right. You can have some mighty tasty sauce after just 30 minutes, but I’ve been known to let it simmer for upwards of 6 hours. The longer it sits, the better it gets.
As always, feel free to drop me any questions in the comments at the bottom of the page! I know tomato sauce can be polarizing, but I LOVE this stuff when it’s made this way. Beyond easy… Beyond delicious!
Now, grab a bowl of pasta and dig in!
Easy Tomato Sauce for Cheaters
- 45 ounces Prego tomato sauce traditional
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp garlic pwoder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp italian seasoning
- 1-3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1-3 tsp crushed red pepper
- Pour tomato sauce in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high until it warm. Stir frequently.
- Pour in baking soda. Stir until all of the bubbles are finished and neutralized.
- Add garlic, onion, italian seasoning, and part of the sugar and pepper.
- Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally and tasting. Add spices as you see fit. It can be ready to serve in 30 minutes, but it can cook for longer. The longer the better!