How to Make 3 Easy Pasta Sauces

Karen Frazier
Lasagna Bolognese

Pasta makes a great weeknight meal because it comes together quickly. With these easy pasta sauces, you can prepare them in the time it takes for your pasta to boil.

Vegetable Marinara

Marinara sauce

Marinara is a tomato and garlic based sauce that goes especially well with spaghetti or angel hair noodles. This recipe uses canned tomatoes, as well as some fresh vegetables like zucchini and sweet bell peppers, making it fresh, light, and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped but not peeled
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (14 ounces) chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, about five minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and sweet bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about five minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add both cans of tomatoes, the oregano, and the red pepper flakes. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring frequently, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and flavors blend, about 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the fresh basil. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Italian Sausage and Tomato Sauce

Bolognese sauce

This meat sauce works well for spaghetti, or it serves as a great sauce in stuffed pasta such as lasagna or stuffed shells. Best of all, it's very easy to make. You can adjust the spice by using either sweet or bulk Italian sausage. If you can't find bulk Italian sausage, use regular sausage and just remove the casings before browning it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, sweet or hot
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan, brown the Italian sausage over medium-high heat, crumbling with your spoon as it cooks.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft, about five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the red wine, scraping any browned bits of meat from the bottom of the pan with the side of the spoon. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the wine reduces by half, about five minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the flavors blend, about ten minutes more.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Walnut and Spinach Pesto

Pesto sauce

The best part of this easy pesto is that it doesn't require any cooking at all. All you need is a food processor or blender, and the pasta sauce will be done in minutes. Then, toss it with hot pasta, such as a tube pasta like penne, or a shaped pasta like farfalle or spirals.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade.
  2. Turn on the food processor and allow the pesto to process until it is finely chopped and well-combined, one or two minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Serve tossed with hot pasta.

Healthy Weeknight Meals

All of the above pasta sauces contain healthy vegetables, making them a nutritious, quick, and easy way to feed your family on busy weeknights. No matter how busy you are, it's easy to whip up a quick and tasty pasta sauce that will please your family.

How to Make 3 Easy Pasta Sauces