Illustration: Kath Nash
Raise your hand if you’ve ever opened a jar of marinara sauce, placed the leftovers in the fridge, and then a month later realized it’s grown little blue fuzzballs. We get it. The intention to use the leftovers is there, yet you find yourself face-to-face with wasted sauce. Again.

We’re helping you turn those half-used jars of pasta sauce into some seriously tasty and healthier options. We’ve broken down the recipes into fast and easy (a win-win), single-servings (sometimes we just want to cook for ourselves), and those for feeding a crowd (because we like to party).

Fast and Easy

Pasta Sauce Recipes: One Pot Three Bean Chili
Photo: The Healthy Maven

For a quick and hearty meal that will serve a large crowd (or make for lots of leftovers), this one-pot beef and three-bean chili couldn’t be easier. Chop up onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes; combine with ground beef, sauce, and spices; and dinner is on its way. And because it makes everything better, top with some avocado.

Pasta Sauce Recipes: One Pot Chicken Cacciatore
Photo: Jessica Gavin

As the name suggests, this recipe is easy, quick, and will leave you with just one pan to clean up (score). Toss in mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini along with pasta, chicken, and that extra tomato sauce for a colorful, light pasta dish that will be ready in half an hour, tops.

Pasta Sauce Recipes: Vegan Tempeh Sloppy Joes
Photo: Dietitian Debbie Dishes

If the phrase “Sloppy Joes” brings back awkward summer camp memories, we don’t blame you. But give this updated vegan version a chance, especially on nights when your heart says burger, but your brain says bring on the veggies. This spicy sandwich is filled with tempeh, a great vegetarian substitute for ground beef, as well as onions and peppers. Swap out the tomato paste for your leftover tomato sauce, and you’ll feel like you’re at a grown-up cookout in no time.

Single-Serving

Pasta Sauce Recipes: Eggplant Parmesan For One
Photo: Betsy Life

When eating by yourself, it can be tempting to just toss something frozen in the microwave. But with just a little extra effort, you can have a meal that’s way more satisfying and nutritious. This easy eggplant parm recipe will have you wishing you could cook for one for the rest of your life.

Pasta Sauce Recipes: Single Serving Shakshuka
Photo: Seek Satiation
Don’t be fooled: This dish is a lot easier to make than it looks—and can be done using a single pan for minimal cleanup (we won’t judge if you eat straight out of the steaming pan either). Called shakshuka, it’s a classic Middle Eastern dish that’s high in protein and spices. Eat shakshuka for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or put it on top of fiber-rich crackers or Ezekiel bread as a post-gym snack.
Pasta Sauce Recipes: Lasagna in a Mug
Photo: Bigger Bolder Baking
So you want lasagna, but you don’t feel like going through the hours-long process of cooking a whole pan, especially when it’s just you tonight. We’ve been there. With this mug recipe, you’re just 10 minutes away from warm, saucy comfort food in a cup. If you want a slightly less-rich version, substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta.

Feeding a Crowd

Pasta Sauce Recipes: Pizza Hummus
Photo: Sinful Nutrition

Who doesn’t love pizza? The crowd-pleaser can get a bit messy (and expensive) when served whole, so welcome an easy, dippable solution: pizza hummus. This dish is the perfect last-minute addition to a party—just blend chickpeas, tomato sauce, and spices; top with diced tomatoes; and serve. Pair it with veggies, fresh bread, or pita chips… and maybe make a second batch, just in case.

Pasta Sauce Recipes: Avocado Chicken Meatballs
Photo: The Wholesome Dish

Avocado adds a fun surprise to this cold-weather classic. Even your pickiest guests will appreciate the simple ingredients that go into these meatballs—all you need is an egg, ground chicken, tomatoes, chilies, sauce, and spices. If you want to take the health factor up a notch, sub in rolled oats or crushed flax for the bread crumbs.

Pasta Sauce Recipes: Quinoa Pizza Bites
Photo: Jessica in the Kitchen
This recipe combines two of our favorite finger foods: pizza and muffins. And while the bites taste indulgent, they are packed with protein from the quinoa, making them a healthy alternative that guests will love on game days. Chop up some of your favorite toppings (olives, broccoli, or mushrooms sound good to us) and toss them into the muffin tins for an even more filling snack.
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