11 Genius Ways To Use Up Your Leftover Pasta Sauce

Somehow there’s always leftover pasta sauce. As much as you might think you’re going to use up the entire jar, it just never seems to happen. And you can’t really have pasta night every night — well you can, but sometimes you want to change it up. So instead of letting those jars expire (which always seems to happen way sooner than you’d expect), try using your leftover sauce in one of these 11 ways.

1. Marinade

If you bought a piece of meat for dinner, leftover pasta sauce can come to the rescue. You can doctor up your sauce, coat your meat and let it chill until you’re ready to cook. Acidic foods help to tenderize meat so the tomato sauce will help with the texture. There’s also usually some sugar added to jarred tomato sauce, which helps to add more flavor to the meat.

2. Italian-Style Grilled Cheese

When you’re craving comfort food is the perfect time to use pasta sauce for an Italian-style grilled cheese. Mix a little parmesan cheese with butter and spread the mixture over four slices of thick-cut bread. Place the buttered side down in a large, hot skillet and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Spoon some warmed pasta sauce over the cheese, add some red pepper flakes and hot honey, and top it with another slice of bread (buttered side up). Cook both sides until they’re golden brown and the cheese inside is melted.

3. Cocktail Sauce

For any holiday parties that you have coming up, make an easy cocktail sauce for your shrimp or oysters by combining any leftover pasta sauce with a little hot sauce and horseradish.

4. Shakshuka

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For a savory breakfast food that’ll impress just about anyone, give shakshuka a try. It’s a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a tomato sauce with peppers, onions and spices. If you have leftover tomato sauce, you can make an easy shakshuka.

Cast iron pans work best here. Saute your onions, veggies and spices until they’re soft and begin to brown. Add in your leftover tomato sauce and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Make little wells for your eggs and crack as many raw eggs as you want onto the tomato mixture. Cover the dish with a lid and let it cook over medium heat until the egg whites set. Sprinkle it with a little salt, pepper and chili flakes, and you’re good to go.

5. Stewed Chickpeas

When you have cans of already cooked chickpeas lying around, why not make a simple tomato chickpea stew? Depending on what ingredients are already in your sauce, you might want to add a few more spices like cumin, coriander and paprika along with some aromatics like extra onion and garlic. Stir your chickpeas into the sauce, maybe add a little water or chicken stock to increase the volume, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top.

6. Bloody Mary

If you’re a Bloody Mary fan, you’re probably committed to all things savory in your cocktail. This tomato-based boozy beverage is always up to interpretation, so anything you have in your fridge is fair game. Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson has an easy Bloody Mary recipe that calls for your leftover tomato sauce.

7. Spicy Tomato Chicken Wings

For a little extra body in your wing sauce, combine your leftover pasta sauce with an equal amount of your favorite hot sauce, some paprika, salt and pepper. Bake the wings in a 400-degree oven until they’re nice and crispy. The baking process should take about 45 minutes.

9. Spanish-Style Rice

For an easy side dish, use your leftover pasta sauce to make a classic, Spanish-style rice. Sauté some chopped onion in a pan until soft. Mix in uncooked rice (white rice or brown rice will work) until it begins to brown and then add in chicken broth and pasta sauce. The ratio of liquid to rice should always be 2:1. Cook the rice and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Season and serve.

10. Tomato Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Spice up your favorite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe with tomato sauce. Here’s a killer baked mac ‘n’ cheese recipe where you can add tomato sauce right before you combine it with pasta, top it with breadcrumbs and slide it into the oven. If you like grilled cheese with a side of tomato soup, you’ll like this one.

11. Salsa

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If you have some friends coming over and you forgot to buy salsa for the chips, have no fear — your leftover tomato sauce is a close second. Mix the pasta sauce with jalapeños, green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, a little red wine vinegar, a little sugar and whatever other salsa ingredients you have lying around. This one’s a no-brainer.