Can you use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can you use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce? We will tell you the differences between marinara and tomato sauce, how to prepare the marinara sauce and what other substitutes for tomato sauce you can use.

Can you use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce?

You can use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce since both sauce’s main ingredients are tomatoes. The base of the marinara sauce is traditionally made from olive oil, ripe tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. It is often used to finish fish dishes in a sauce such as hake or monkfish, even clams as well. To prepare it, we add to the tomato sauce a sauce of onion and parsley, sweet paprika, and fish broth. The combination is delicious.

Tomato sauce, on the other hand, needs to be simmered until it reaches the perfect thickness (thus it is more complex to prepare), and it is made of pureed tomatoes seasoned with onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaf. 

A basic tomato sauce can be used in all kinds of dishes, from pizzas to pasta, through fish, seafood, or lasagna. Now, depending on the recipe you want to make, some spices and ingredients work better than others (a Bolognese, which has meat, is used for pasta, but not for fish). 

For this reason, there are different specific variants on the market for certain dishes. These “special” versions are very comfortable and practical, but also more expensive than the base sauce. Thus, for the economy -and by taste-, we can buy the simplest tomato sauces and customize them at home.

How to prepare marinara sauce?

Marinara sauce (in Italian “salsa marinara” or “salsa alla marinara”) is a type of tomato sauce that originated in Naples after the Spaniards brought tomatoes from the New World. The word “marinara” is derived from “marinaro”, which in Italian means “of the sea”.

Here is a sailor recipe:

  • 500 gr tomatoes in broth
  • 250 ml of red wine
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • salt, pepper to taste

Method of preparation:

Cut the garlic into thin slices and fry for a few minutes in olive oil. Then add the tomatoes in broth, wine, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally. Serve over spaghetti.

The classic seafood sauce recipe provides tomatoes (fresh or canned – peeled), olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. This sauce has its origins in the Naples region of Italy, dating back to the 1550s. Regarding the name of this sauce, the word “sailor” means “sailor-style”. It is also called “Neapolitan sauce”.

There are several theories about the origin of the sauce. Some say that the sailors’ wives were waiting for them with this tomato sauce. Other legends say that the wives of fishermen in the Naples area prepared this simple sauce, and then added the fish caught by the fishermen. If the fishermen didn’t catch anything, they eat the simple sauce, only with pasta (source).

This seafood sauce is widespread especially in Italy and the United States, where it often contains onions, along with garlic and a little wine. Olives or capers can also be used.

Other tomato sauce substitutes

Tomato puree: If you only want to add tomato flavor to the dish and do not need tomato paste to thicken it, add a little tomato sauce or tomato puree, taking into account that the first is a little lighter than the second, but anyone can work. Since these products are less concentrated than tomato paste, you will need at least twice as much to get the same amount of flavor. 

How Much To Use: Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste for every tablespoon of tomato sauce. In recipes that call for large amounts of tomato paste, simmer the sauce to reduce it by half before adding it to the mixture.

Canned Tomatoes: A can of diced tomatoes works well when you want to add tomato flavor with a hint of thickening power. Since this product contains liquid, you will need to drain the juice and use the solids. Like tomato sauce, canned tomatoes are not as concentrated as tomato paste, so you will need to double the amount to get the right flavor. 

How Much to Use: Use two tablespoons of strained canned tomatoes for every tablespoon of tomato paste.

Fresh tomatoes: Using fresh tomatoes is a bit tricky. Tomato paste is cooked to concentrate its flavor, and even canned tomato products have their skins and seeds removed. To use fresh tomatoes as a substitute for tomato paste you will have to do some work. 

Peel the tomatoes and get rid of the seeds. Cook over low heat until reduced by half to remove excess liquid. How Much To Use: Use one large tomato for every tablespoon of tomato paste.

Ketchup: is not as thick as tomato paste, but it is much thicker than sauce and fresh tomatoes. Keep in mind that ketchup contains vinegar and spices so adding it to your recipes will change the flavor. How much to use: use one tablespoon of ketchup for every tablespoon of tomato paste.

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: Can you use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce? We told you the differences between marinara and tomato sauce, how to prepare the marinara sauce and what other substitutes for tomato sauce you can use.

You can use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce, as they have similar ingredients. However, if you cook it with fish, be careful as it may not be as tasty with certain plates!

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

Allrecipes.com

Food.com

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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