These simple recipes all start with a jar marinara sauce (or if you have a homemade frozen stash, that’ll work, too).
Marinara is a rich, well-seasoned tomato sauce—and we love to doctor it up for a low-lift pasta night, but we
wanted to play on some other cuisines that also highlight that cooked tomato flavor. We wouldn’t file some of
these recipes under “authentic.” But under: delicious, time-saving, and relying on very few ingredients. Not bad
for a weeknight dinner.
Mediterranean Baked Fish
Olive oil + garlic + paprika + marinara + cod + lemon + Kalamata olives
Goes well with: roasted potatoes or crusty bread.
1. Sauté a few thinly sliced cloves of garlic in olive oil an oven-safe pan. Add about a teaspoon of paprika.
Then add about a cup or so of marinara and bring to a simmer.
2. Nestle in a few fillets of cod in the sauce, give them a generous pinch of salt, and lay some thin slices
of lemon over the top of them. Scatter a few Kalamata olives over the pan, then transfer to a 375°F oven and
bake for about twenty-five minutes, or until the cod is totally opaque and flakes easily.
Spicy Sausage and Greens
Olive oil + garlic + chili flakes + fennel seeds + sausage + marinara sauce + kale
Goes well with: pasta or polenta.
1. Sauté a few crushed cloves of garlic in olive oil in a wide sauté pan over medium heat, watching to make
sure they don’t burn. Just as they begin to look golden and smell fragrant, add a generous pinch of chili
flakes and fennel seeds.
2. A minute later, add some Italian chicken sausage removed from the casing, breaking it up into smaller
pieces with the back of a spoon. After about seven minutes, the sausage should be nicely browned. Reduce the heat
slightly and add about a cup of marinara. Let the flavors meld while it simmers, for about ten minutes. Then
toss in a few large handfuls of torn kale.
3. If serving with pasta, add a splash of pasta water to the sauce before tossing with the noodles, or ladle
directly over prepared polenta.
Chickpea Tikka Masala
Coconut oil + onion + ginger + garam masala + cayenne + marinara + chickpeas + coconut milk
Goes well with: basmati rice, cauliflower rice, or flatbread.
1. Sauté about half a diced onion in coconut oil over medium-low heat. After about ten minutes, it should be soft
and translucent. Then add about a teaspoon of grated ginger along with a tablespoon of garam masala, a pinch
of cayenne, and a generous pinch of salt and cook for about three minutes. Add about a cup a marinara along with a
can of chickpeas and simmer for another ten minutes.
2. Just before serving, add about half a can of coconut milk. Let simmer for another five to ten minutes or so, just
to make sure the flavors meld. Taste and season accordingly.
Chicken Tinga Tacos
Olive oil + garlic + chipotle chilies + cumin + marinara + cooked chicken + cilantro
Great in: tacos, burrito bowls, or enchiladas.
1. Sauté some thinly sliced garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat. Add two diced chipotle chilies in adobo
(deseeded if you don’t like spice) along with about a teaspoon of cumin and cook for a few minutes. Add a cup and a half of marinara and a splash of water.
2. Once that comes to a simmer, add about two cups of shredded cooked chicken. Simmer for about another ten minutes and then top with a handful of cilantro.
Harissa and Bean Stew
Olive oil + onion + carrot + harissa + marinara + white beans + chard + yogurt
1. Sauté half a diced onion in olive oil over medium heat for five minutes or so. Then add a couple of
chopped carrots and a big pinch of salt and cook for another ten minutes, just until the carrots are starting
to feel tender.
2. Add one or two tablespoons of harissa paste (taste before you add it, as the level of spice
greatly depending on the brand). Add about a cup of marinara and a can of white beans. Fill up the bean can
with water and add that to the pot, too. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to low heat.
3. Add a few handfuls of torn chard. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Ladle into bowls and top
with a dollop of plain yogurt if desired.