This is as good or slightly better than the Vegetable Marinara. But it didn’t hold up to the lasagna test.
Previously, Target’s Giada De Laurentiis Vegetable Marinara Pasta Sauce made the top of the tomato sauce list. The Tomato Basil version of the sauce wasn’t in the original test. Here’s a review of the Tomato Basil sauce.
The Tomato Basil sauce is similarly, thick and not especially chunky. There’s a little bit of oil sheen on top of the sauce. That’s a good thing since the ingredient list, lists extra virgin olive oil. As it’s poured from the jar, it almost looks like a meat sauce. It’s not. The ingredient list starts with “coarse ground” tomatoes. That’s still a good description of the texture.
This sauce does not contain mushrooms or red bell peppers. This sauce has more of a rich fresh tomato taste to it. It smells good too. The hint of garlic is still there. Overall this tastes more like a traditional marinara sauce.
Perhaps unfairly, I skipped over testing this with the old standby al dente pasta and tried it in my lasagna recipe. Once again, for this test, the sauce had to stand on its own, bringing all the flavors to the dish. I added about a pound of browned ground beef to the sauce, ultimately making a meat lasagna. No other enhancements were made to the sauce.
With 3 kinds of cheeses, a pound of ground beef and 9 lasagna noodles; the sauce was quickly overpowered. What was left was an okay lasagna. It was still edible, but missing the extra flavors that my homemade sauce adds. There wasn’t even much visible evidence that 23 ounces of tomato sauce were in the lasagna. The sauce just sort of disappeared.
I’m glad the lasagna test didn’t go so well because I was afraid I was going to have to step up my homemade sauce game. But I’m safe for now. To be honest, my sauce recipe uses some “extra-large” tablespoons to measure ingredients (don’t try to find them in your favorite cooking supply store). When I add ground beef to the sauce, I’ll also season the beef directly with oregano and basil. As well as adding additional flavor to cover the beef, it makes the house smell great.
Although not tested, I’m sure if you currently use another jarred tomato sauce over plain al dente pasta, this sauce is going to at least equal it or surpass it. I can’t recommend this (or any jarred sauce) for heavier, more demanding dishes, such as lasagna, where the sauce has to fight for attention with the other ingredients. In those cases the sauce would probably need to be supplemented with additional spices, herbs, etc. If you’re going that far, it’s not that much more trouble to make a sauce from scratch.
Calories 100 per 1/2 cup (125 g) Price – around $3.00 on sale