8 Ways to Use Leftover Pasta Sauce
Tell me if you’ve been here before: you make dinner using a jar of pasta sauce, but you don’t need the whole jar. Not wanting to throw away good food, you put the jar in the refrigerator, telling yourself you’ll do something with it later. Flash forward to a month later when, cleaning out the fridge, you notice the jar and end up throwing it out anyway (pasta sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or 1 week at most, if it hasn’t been heated). No one wants to waste food, but what can you really do with a little bit of pasta sauce, anyway?
The answer, of course, is PLENTY! Below find some inspirations for using your leftover pasta sauce. You may want to try all 6 varieties of Visconti sauce just to see how many ways you can jazz up your weeknight meals!
- Pizza-style baked potato – Make a slit in a potato you’ve already baked to doneness. Stuff with a little pasta sauce and whatever pizza toppings you fancy (Italian sausage and sauteed green peppers and mushrooms come to mind). Then top with a little mozarella and pop it back into the oven for a few minutes until everything gets hot and bubbly.
- Tuscan vegetables – Slice zucchini, red and yellow peppers, carrots, and squash into uniform-length sticks and saute in olive oil until tender. Toss in a little pasta sauce to cover (creamy vodka sauce is perfect) and heat through before serving.
- Breadsticks – Pick up some fresh focaccia bread on your way home and slice it into long sticks. Warm up your leftover sauce and the breadsticks, then serve as as an appetizer to appease your family while you work on the rest of dinner.
- Quick weeknight chili – Adding chili powder into tomato sauce will give you a simple and versatile Italian-style chili (spicy arrabbiata works especially well). Stir in a can of kidney beans and some cooked ground beef, and then top with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chopped raw onion. Serve with tortilla chips.
- Spanish rice – Cook 1 cup long-grain rice according to package directions, substituting 1 cup pasta sauce for 1 cup of the water. Putanesca sauce, with olives and capers, will add just the right balance of tangy flavors. When cooked, stir in two thinly sliced green onions.
- Stuffed mushrooms – Chop up the stems of a package of white mushrooms, then mix with grated Parmesan cheese and a little pasta sauce until it all comes together. Stuff into the mushroom caps, drizzle with olive oil, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Italian marinade - Combine 1 cup pasta sauce with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil in a large ziploc bag. Add smashed garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Marinate 1 lb chicken or pork for 30 minutes to an hour before grilling or baking.
- Meatloaf burgers – Cook hamburgers until nearly done, then spoon over pasta sauce and finish the last few minutes of cooking. Serve on thick, crusty toast instead of hamburger buns.