Great news for that jar of marinara in your pantry—it’s about to become the star of your weeknight dinner rotation. We’ve rounded up a collection of pasta sauce recipes, and from innovative noodles to soup, chili, and more, you’ll never look at this go-to staple in the same way again.
1. Pizza Grilled Cheese
You’d be hard-pressed to find a kid who doesn’t like pizza and grilled cheese, which is why we think this hybrid is as genius as it is delicious. It’s got the flavors of your fave pie—complete with marinara sauce—but the outer-beauty of a fab grilled cheese sandwich. Get the recipe from Mom to Mom Nutrition.
2. Marinara Soup
Did you know that a jar of marinara sauce can turn into a comforting bowl of vegetarian soup in about 20 minutes? It’s better than any magic trick and the best way to turn a chilly weeknight into a warm and toasty good time. Even better: You probably have all the ingredients right now. Get the recipe from The Seasoned Mom.
3. Chicken Parmesan Casserole Recipe
Take note, casserole fans! This cheesy chicken parmesan is the perfect weeknight meal and can feed a whole crowd of hungry folks. It’s also a snap to make—and it all starts with your favorite pasta sauce. Get the recipe from The Weary Chef.
4. Spaghetti and Hot Dogs
What do you get when two kid food faves join forces? Spaghetti and hot dogs, of course! Just think of this one-pot meal as a neat upgrade for that box of noodles in your pantry. Don’t forget to add some veggies for an extra healthy kick! Get the recipe from Kitchen Simmer.
5. Skillet Pizza Pasta
Is it pizza? Is it pasta? It’s both—and totally delicious. The secret to this innovative pasta is the flavors of your favorite pizza (Think customizable ingredients, sneaky veggies, and pepperoni!). And it’s ready in the amount of time it takes your noodles to cook! Get the recipe from Mom to Mom Nutrition.
6. Italian-Style Meatloaf with Marinara
Looking for hearty comfort food that the whole fam will love? Meatloaf to the rescue! This recipe gets points for using herbs and spices you probably already have in your pantry. Grab a jar of marinara, and you’re good to go! Get the recipe from Saporito Kitchen.
7. Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells
These stuffed shells are a baked masterpiece if we do say so ourselves. They’re a cinch to make and super cheesy, too. Plus, they reheat like a dream, so you’ll have a good weeknight meal whenever you want! Get the recipe from Taste of Home.
8. One-Pot Zucchini Prosciutto Mozarella Rolls
Give these rolls a whirl and thrill your family with their new favorite meal! This idea has the yumminess of stuffed zucchini, minus the hassle. It’s veggie-filled, cheesy, and your little chefs can even get involved. For the recipe, roll on over to Apron Strings.
9. 3-Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells
Psst! This recipe is delicious, creamy, and vegan! What’s the secret? Cashews! It’s the perfect go-to meal when you’re craving a healthier version of your favorite comfort food. Try it for yourself, and go nuts for this quick-but-tasty meal. Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.
10. Rustic Grilled Vegetable and Sausage Pasta
What do we love most about this pasta dish? It could be the healthy veggies, bold flavors, or sweet Italian sausage. It could be that you can customize the ingredients to suit your family’s tastes. Then again, it could be the fact that it's an easy upgrade for that jar of marinara in your cupboard. Get the recipe from Boulder Locavore.
11. Spicy Slow Cooker Chili
Three cheers for chili! This recipe has a smart shortcut: pasta sauce! Combine it with ground beef, adjust the spiciness to suit your family, let it cook in your slow cooker, and voila! You’ve got a hearty meal that will amp up any dinnertime. Get the recipe from A Taste of Madness.
12. 5-Ingredient One-Pot Pasta with Chicken Sausage
Is there anything better than a one-pot meal that’s truly yummy? That’s the beauty behind this 5-ingredient pasta which spotlights chicken sausage, veggies, and cheese. The pasta will even absorb the flavor from your favorite sauce—score! Get the recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen Blog.
13. Freezer English Muffin Mini Pizzas
If make-ahead meals make your heart go pitter-patter, you’re in luck. These kid-sized English muffin pizzas are the definition of convenience—sub in pasta sauce instead of pizza sauce, and you'll have a lunchbox hit or easy dinner! Get the recipe from Simple as That.
14. Spaghetti Sauce Sloppy Joes
Ready for the best sloppy joes shortcut ever? Leftover spaghetti and meat sauce makes the perfect base for this classic sandwich. It's never been easier to make a quick and delicious meal (And what kid doesn’t love a dish with the word “sloppy” right in the title?). Get the recipe from Tip Garden.
Slow Cooker Chicken Parm
File this under “Beloved Crock Pot Recipes,” STAT! There are only three ingredients in this chicken parm recipe, but the payoff is off the charts. The cleanup is easy, and you’ll love the set-it-and-forget-it part of the process! Get the recipe here.
What’s your favorite way to use a jar of pasta sauce? Share with us in a comment below.