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Tomato-based sauces are key components of many Italian dishes, from pizza to pasta to spaghetti. But, there isn’t only one sauce, so which one should you use? That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about: Marinara vs Tomato Sauce!

Let’s be real, who doesn’t love Italian cuisine? No one! But, what makes it so special? Well, you guessed it, it’s the savory sauce! These sauces provide flavor, moisture and improve the texture of your dish!

Super Creamy!

a bowl of homemade red Italian marinara sauce with basil and garlic
Homemade Red Italian Marinara Sauce with Basil and Garlic

Marinara vs. Tomato sauce

To have a table that matches the quality of a top Italian restaurant, you must use an Italian sauce that transforms your home-cooked meals into a flavor paradise! Marinara and tomato sauce will make a big difference in your dishes. But what’s the difference between marinara and tomato sauce? Let’s dig a little deeper into that!

Texture and consistency are the main differences between the two. Tomato sauce has a thick texture, almost creamy. Marinara sauce, on the other hand, has a thinner consistency.

Cooking time varies. Marinara is a quick sauce; it comes together in about an hour, however, homemade tomato sauce is a bit more complicated. It takes hours to be made, but hey, it’s worth it!

Each of them has its own unique uses. The thick texture of tomato sauce makes it perfect for meat-based dishes. However, marinara is a thinner sauce, and its runny consistency makes it perfect for pizza and pasta dishes.

What Is Marinara Sauce?

Marina sauce is a thin tomato-based sauce and it’s one of the key ingredients in Italian cuisine. This sauce calls for fewer ingredients. It requires sweet tomatoes in addition to garlic cloves, bay leaves, fresh basil leaves, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, and salt.

Of course, ingredients can vary from one cook to another. Some may add oregano, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste. It’s all up to you and your personal preferences.

A jar of a tomato-based sauce. It is slight and super flavorful.
A key component in Italian cuisine.

Great Ways to Use Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is one of the essential ingredients to take any dish to the next level. Yes, it is an extremely good pasta sauce, but it goes beyond that!

Now that winter is approaching, a bowl of heartwarming soup to cozy up with is a must! So why not add marinara sauce to it? Give my Creamy Veggie Tomato Basil Soup a try, and you won’t regret it!

Marinara is an amazing pizza sauce. If you’re willing to try a pizza recipe with a twist, I would recommend this Lebanese Veggie Pizza (Pie). And to make your homemade pizza journey faster and more enjoyable, make this Best Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe. Add your favorite pizza topping and enjoy!

This sauce is also a great dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, and it pairs well with meatballs.

What Is Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce is a creamy, flavorful tomato-based sauce that has a thicker consistency. Although they may appear to be the same, tomato sauce requires more ingredients than marinara sauce. It calls for extra virgin olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, fresh parsley, garlic, basil, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and black pepper.

Traditional tomato sauce is not vegetarian. It is quite common to add ground beef, bacon, or animal fat to this sauce.

Rich And Thick!

A bowl of tomato sauce that will make your homemade meals taste like top restaurants food.
Tomato-based sauces are the best.

How To Use Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce is an excellent way to elevate your breakfast to new heights! How? Pair it with eggs! You will have the most fancy-looking but done in 5 minutes breakfast.

But it doesn’t stop there! You can also spread a thin layer of it inside your grilled cheese sandwich or garlic bread and enjoy a trip to heaven with every bite. Speaking of, I highly recommend my Zaatar and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fried Eggs!

It’s great for stews like this Green Bean Stew with Minced Beef (Loubia Bi Lahme) or okra stew.

Tomato sauce is a perfect meat sauce. You can also pair it with fish and Italian sausage.

Can I Substitute Marinara for Tomato Sauce?

In most cases, yes, you can switch between the two, but since each of them has a different texture the outcome of some dishes might be a little bit different.

For instance, Marinara sauce might be too thin for dishes like Tomato Parmesan Spaghetti, while tomato sauce can be too thick for a pizza.

To make a dish vegetarian-friendly, you can use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce.

Since Marinara sauce takes little time compared to tomato sauce, you can use it for a quick weeknight dinner.

Magic In Bottle

A vibrant red tomato sauce jar that will make every meal taste so much better.
An easy way to attain restaurant-quality meals.

How to Make Jarred Tomato Sauce?

Wondering what to make with your surplus fresh tomatoes? Make jarred tomato sauce! It’s literally super simple to make, all you have to do is chop your tomatoes, put them in a pot with some salt, and bring them to a boil.

When the mixture reduces by about a third, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into your sterilized jars and then transfer the hot tomato sauce. After that, secure the jars with the lids and then put them in boiling water for about 40 minutes.

Finally, remove the jars and store them in a cool and dark place until you’re ready to enjoy them! And just like you will have a jar of spaghetti sauce!

Pro Tips

When in season, fresh tomatoes are perfect for making these sauces. But when tomatoes aren’t in season, head to your local grocery store and get canned tomatoes.

If you’re using fresh tomatoes for making tomato sauce, keep in mind that the simmering process might be longer.

When making tomato sauce, you can either use fresh or dried basil. If you decided to go for the dried ones, ½ tablespoon is enough.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is Marinara sauce vegan?

Yes, it is! This sauce does not contain any milk or cream and is tomato-based so it’s completely vegan-friendly.

How to store Marinara sauce?

You must refrigerate your sauce after opening it. It won’t last for a long time on a shelf after being opened.

How to store tomato sauce?

A jar of tomato sauce that has been opened can be stored for 5-7 days in the fridge. To freeze, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and it should last you about 3 months.

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About Lama

I'm Lama, welcome to my blog where you will find simple and diverse recipes your entire family will enjoy. I am honored to connect with you through the recipes I prepare!

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