68 Dinners That Start with a Jar of Pasta Sauce

Put that jar of pasta sauce at the back of your pantry to work! These dinner recipes prove just how versatile—and delicious—jarred pasta sauce can be.

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Unstuffed Peppers

If you like stuffed peppers, you’ll love this speedy version. It offers all the comforting flavor of the original, but takes just half an hour. Instead of cooking the instant rice, you can use 2 cups leftover cooked rice if you have it on hand. —Beth Dewyer, Du Bois, Pennsylvania

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Cheesy Meatball Sliders

These meatball sliders are a fun way to serve meatballs at your party without using a slow cooker. Made on mini Hawaiian rolls, they have a hint of sweetness to balance out all the wonderful Italian seasonings. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Spicy Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

I make this spicy shrimp pasta a lot because it's a something my family never seems to get tired of. The sauce is so fast to make I can get it done while the fettuccine is cooking. In the past, I have added red peppers and spinach, but who's to say you could not add mushrooms or more or less spice. —Stephanie Beluk, Sharpsburg, Georgia

If you can’t get enough sauce, learn more about all of your favorites with our ultimate guide to pasta sauce.

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Ravioli Casserole

The whole family will love the fun, cheesy flavor of this ravioli casserole. It's like lasagna—without all the fuss! Timesaving ingredients such as prepared spaghetti sauce and frozen ravioli make it a cinch to fix. Children can help you assemble this one. —Mary Ann Rothert, Austin, Texas
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Pasta Napolitana

This is the ultimate meat lovers sauce and is my copycat version of The Cheesecake Factory's pasta. Rich and hearty, with tremendous flavors, this pasta Napolitana will disappear quickly. I always make extra sauce, as it freezes very well. —John Pittman, Northampton, Pennsylvania

For a lighter meal, turn to these healthy pasta sauce recipes.

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Garlic Bread Pizza Sandwiches

I love inventing new ways to make grilled cheese sandwiches for my kids. This version tastes like pizza. Using frozen garlic bread is a timesaver. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Ground Beef Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

With two types of sauces, ground beef, spinach and three kinds of cheese, this dish is super hearty and goes beyond the expected. When serving, be sure to scoop all the way down to the bottom of the slow cooker so everyone gets a good taste of all the yummy layers. —Deborah Bruno, Mira Loma, California
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Cheesy Pepperoni Buns

A pizza version of the sloppy joe, this hot and melty open-faced sandwich is a surefire kid pleaser. Adults love it, too! —Tanya Belt, Newcomerstown, Ohio
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Spaghetti Squash Meatball Casserole

One of our favorite comfort-food dinners is spaghetti and meatballs. We're crazy about this lighter, healthier version that features so many veggies. It has the same beloved flavors with more nutritious ingredients! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Spinach and Cheese Lasagna Rolls

These Italian-inspired roll-ups are fast and fun to make. They may look elegant but are also very kid-friendly. —Cindy Romberg, Mississauga, Ontario
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Chicken Parmesan Burgers

A restaurant-quality burger that’s topped with marinara and loaded with cheese—what’s not to love? Fresh basil adds even more flavor if you'd like. —Brooke Petras, Alpine, California
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Favorite Lasagna Roll-Ups

This crowd-pleasing take on lasagna offers a new way to enjoy a classic dish in individual portions. And it requires only a few ingredients. —Susan Sabia, Windsor, California
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Shrimp Pasta Alfredo

My son loves any recipe with Alfredo sauce. As a bachelor, shrimp pasta was one of the first recipes he learned to prepare. Now his children ask for it regularly. Gail Lucas, Olive Branch, Mississippi
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Vegetarian Skillet Lasagna

This flavorful weeknight vegetarian skillet lasagna is sure to please any meat lover at your dinner table. Serve with a mixed green salad to complement the meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Decadent Spinach-Stuffed Shells

I created this comforting stuffed shells dish to serve on Christmas Eve, but it’s so good we enjoy it all year long. It can easily be assembled and frozen to bake at a later date. If you have any leftover cheese mixture, it can be served as a dip, either cold or spooned into ramekins and baked until browned. If you don’t like roasted red peppers, feel free to substitute chopped sun-dried tomatoes in the filling and any other pasta sauce. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, CO
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Simple Pasta Sauce

This is a simple pasta sauce that you can use for more than just spaghetti. Puree this recipe for pizza sauce or a great dipping sauce. I also like to make a variation for bruschetta by omitting the olive oil, using fire-roasted diced tomatoes and simply combining the uncooked ingredients. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving on toasts. —Deborah Markwood, Chester, Virginia

Check out these other pasta sauce types that are popular in our Test Kitchen.

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Quick Sausage Tortellini Soup

I love that this soup is easy to make and uses common ingredients found in the pantry. You can use other types of sausage or pasta if desired. —Annalise Lau, Newberg, Oregon
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Lasagna Cups

I love lasagna and garlic bread, so it only made sense to put them together in these fun little cups. Have one as an appetizer or two for a meal! —Angelique Douglas, Maryville, Illinois
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Tortellini with Sausage and Mascarpone

When I crave Italian comfort food on a busy night and don't have a lot of time to cook, this dish is a lifesaver. It's fast and yummy and starts with a premade jarred sauce, but then makes it much more special with just a few key additions. You can have it on the table in less time than a takeout order. —Gerry Vance, Millbrae, California
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Ham Ravioli Bake

I based this recipe on a dish my husband likes to order when we go out for Italian food. Not only does he love it, my young daughter does too. —Jennifer Berger, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
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Five-Cheese Ziti al Forno

After having the five-cheese ziti at Olive Garden, I tried to make my own version of it—and I think I got pretty close. I always double this when I'm making it and freeze the second one for another meal. —Keri Whitney, Castro Valley, California
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Sausage French Bread Pizza

I never seem to have pizza dough on hand, but that doesn't ever stop our family from enjoying pizza. We top crusty French bread with creamy Alfredo sauce, sausage and veggies. It's great to serve at a party for children or teens. —Cherie Sweet, Evansville, Indiana
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Healthy Meat Loaf

Welcome your family in from the cold with this moist and delicious meat loaf with wonderful southwestern taco flavor. This is down-home comfort food at its healthy best! —Mary Relyea, Canastota, New York
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Chicken Pesto Meatballs

These tender, pesto-stuffed meatballs get gobbled up in our house. They're short on ingredients, but packed with flavor. I always make a double batch, freezing the other half for a busy night. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa
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Florentine Spaghetti Bake

Just because you start with a jar of pasta sauce doesn’t mean you can’t end up with an amazing homemade meal! Grab a jar of the good stuff and combine it with fresh ingredients like spinach, mushrooms and sausage to make a satisfying supper.
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Baked Lasagna Roll-Ups

This baked lasagna is far better tasting than any store-bought version. Ham and spinach combine for fabulous flavor. —Delia Kennedy, Deer Park, Washington
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Creamy Prosciutto Pasta

I'm always looking for dinners that I can put together quickly. I re-created a favorite pasta dish from an Italian restaurant by using grocery store convenience products. Add crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal. —Christine Ward, Austin, Texas
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Garlic Bread Pasta Torte

My kids love to stuff spiral pasta inside bread for a clever dinner torte. We save the bread crusts to make garlicky croutons for salad. —Melissa Birdsong, Waleska, Georgia
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Spaghetti & Meatball Soup

A couple of nights a week our family ends up eating in shifts because everyone is going every which way, all at the same time. Having a hearty soup simmering in the slow cooker is an easy way to give them all a warm meal. —Susan Stetzel, Gainesville, New York
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Chicken-Pepper Alfredo

When I want a lighter dinner, I use lean turkey bacon in this recipe. It gives the pasta that richness you want without all the extra fat. —Courtney Harris, Denton, Texas
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Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
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Easy Pesto Pizza

Our Test Kitchen kneaded basil, oregano and Parmesan cheese into packaged bread dough for this full-flavored crust. Purchased pesto sauce keeps it big on taste and convenience.
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Mozzarella Baked Spaghetti

This satisfying easy baked spaghetti recipe comes together and will please everyone at your table. Add a salad and breadsticks, and dinner's done. —Betty Rabe, Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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Chicken Parmesan Slider Bake

Sliders are the perfect finger food for any get-together, and this flavorful chicken Parmesan version won’t disappoint. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
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Three-Cheese Meatball Mostaccioli

When my husband travels for work, I make a special dinner for my kids to keep their minds off missing Daddy. This tasty mostaccioli is meatball magic. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Slow-Simmered Meat Ragu

After a day of simmering in the slow-cooker, this ragu is not your typical spaghetti sauce. It's almost like a stew, so feel free to skip the pasta. —Laurie LaClair, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Italian Pasta Bake

I love to make this pasta bake whenever I need to bring a dish to pass. Fresh tomatoes add a nice touch that's missing from most other meat, pasta and tomato casseroles.—Karla Johnson, East Helena, Montana
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Italian Sausage Hoagies

In southeastern Wisconsin, our cuisine is influenced by both Germans and Italians who immigrated to this area. When preparing this recipe, we often substitute German bratwurst for the Italian sausage, so we blend the two influences with delicious results. —Craig Wachs, Racine, Wisconsin
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Chunky Chicken Cacciatore

This healthy pasta recipe is so versatile! Look in your fridge for anything else you want to throw in, like red pepper, mushrooms, extra zucchini—you name it. And if you're a vegetarian, go ahead and leave out the chicken. —Stephanie Loaiza, Layton, Utah
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Homemade Manicotti

These tender manicotti are much easier to stuff than the purchased variety. People are always amazed when I say I make my own noodles. My son fixed this recipe for several of his friends, and they were extremely impressed with his cooking skills. —Sue Ann Bunt, Painted Post, New York
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Lasagna Casserole

While growing up, I always wanted this meal on my birthday. Mother made the sauce from scratch, but now I use store-bought spaghetti sauce to save time. Replace the ground beef with Italian sausage if you want more spice. —Deb Morrison, Skiatook, Oklahoma
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Spinach-Beef Spaghetti Pie

With its angel hair pasta crust, this cheesy ground beef, tomato and spinach pie is always a hit when I serve it. Each neat slice has layers of pasta, cream cheese filling and spinach topping. —Carol Hicks Pensacola, Florida
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Slow-Cooker Chicken Parmesan

I love making this satisfying dish—it’s easy and elegant, and the slow cooker minimizes my time in the kitchen. I make this during football season too. For game days, I skip the pasta and serve the chicken on submarine rolls with a bit of the sauce and some chopped lettuce. It’s also good cut in half and served on smaller buns as sliders. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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One-Skillet Lasagna

This is hands-down one of the best skillet lasagna recipes our testing panel has ever tasted. And with classic flavors and cheesy layers, it’s definitely kid-friendly. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Power Lasagna

When my husband and I wanted to live healthier, our first step was to eat more power foods, such as whole grains, fresh veggies and protein. Combined with our love for Italian food, this tasty lasagna is one of the nutritious results.—Jennifer Yaden, Richmond, Kentucky
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Spicy Veggie Pasta Bake

My dad cooked with cast-iron skillets, so when I do, I remember his amazing culinary skills. I keep the tradition going with my veggie pasta. —Sonya Goergen, Moorhead, Minnesota
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Spicy Shrimp & Penne Pasta

I created this creamy pasta dish when I needed to use up some marinara. Red pepper flakes give it a little heat, which my family loves. It's super versatile, so try it with chicken, or simply stir in some fresh basil, too. —Lorri Stout, Gaithersburg, Maryland
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Ravioli Lasagna

When you taste this dish, you’ll think it’s a from-scratch recipe—but it starts with frozen ravioli! —Patricia Smith, Asheboro, North Carolina
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Slow-Cooker Turkey Pesto Lasagna

My cheesy, noodle-y lasagna makes any slow-cooker skeptic a believer. It’s easy to prep while my kids nap, and dinner’s ready when their dad walks in the door at night. We bring more pesto and marinara to the table for our resident sauce lovers. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, VA
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Fire-Roasted Ziti with Sausage

We punch up our pasta with smoked sausage and fire-roasted tomato sauce. It's an easy recipe to switch up—use whatever noodles and spaghetti sauce are in your pantry. —Jean Komlos, Plymouth, Michigan
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Easy Stuffed Shells

I threw this recipe together one day when we had unexpected guests. It was an immediate hit and is now a family favorite. Get the kids involved when putting together this simple, savory dish. —Dolores Betchner, Cudahy, Wisconsin
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Weeknight Ravioli Lasagna

My husband and I love lasagna, but it's time-consuming to build and we always end up with too much. Using frozen ravioli fixes the problem! —Pamela Nicholson, Festus, Missouri
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Sausage Manicotti

This classic Italian entree comes together in a snap but tastes as if it took hours. It's so tasty and easy to fix. My family always enjoys it. —Carolyn Henderson, Maple Plain, Minnesota
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Chicken Gnocchi Pesto Soup

After tasting a similar soup at a restaurant, I created this quick and tasty version. It’s rich and creamy, and couldn’t be easier to make! —Deanna Smith, Des Moines, Iowa
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Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Shells

This is my own personal recipe. I'm very proud of it because I am still a beginner cook and it was the first recipe I created. You can adjust it to your liking by doubling the spinach or adding some meat. —Laci Hooten, McKinney, Texas
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Argentine Lasagna

My family is from Argentina, which has a strong Italian heritage and large cattle ranches. One of our favorite Argentinian recipes is this all-in-one lasagna packed with meat, cheese and veggies. —Sylvia Maenenr, Omaha, Nebraska
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Three-Cheese Turkey Manicotti

This is my husband’s favorite dish. He always requests it, even for holidays! You’ll love the variety of cheeses and spices that jazz it up. It’s restaurant-quality, but at a quarter of the price! —LuAnne Wallace Bennett, Powder Springs, Georgia
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Favorite Skillet Lasagna

Whole wheat noodles and zucchini pump up nutrition in this delicious, family-friendly dinner. Topped with dollops of ricotta cheese, it has an extra touch of decadence. No one will believe this one’s lighter. —Lorie Miner, Kamas, Utah
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Pirate Pasta Shells

Grandfather loved pirate stories and good pasta. When we make his stuffed shells, it reminds us of his favorite tropical places and adventures. —Kathy Noll, Laureldale, Pennsylvania
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Penne Beef Bake

I had ground beef and veggies on hand so I came up with this pizza-flavored casserole. I never expected my family to love it so much. It's a good way to sneak in some extra veggies for the kids. —Jennifer Wise, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
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Sausage Spaghetti Spirals

My family loves this flavorful casserole with hearty chunks of sausage and green pepper. The recipe makes a big pan, so it's nicely sized for a potluck. —Carol Carolton, Wheaton, Illinois
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Lasagna Rolls

My Italian lasagna roll-ups are not complicated; they require only basic ingredients to assemble. Prepared spaghetti sauce helps me save time and get dinner on the table sooner. —Mary Lee Thomas, Logansport, Indiana
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Hearty Vegetable Beef Ragu

This recipe is healthy yet satisfying, quick yet delicious. It's on the table in less than 30 minutes, and it's something that my children will gobble up! If you are not fond of kale, stir in baby spinach or chopped broccoli instead. —Kim Van Dunk, Caldwell, New Jersey
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Slow-Cooker Sausage Lasagna

On especially cold winter days, my family loves this with mild Italian sausage. I agree about the cold days, but I prefer a spicy sausage blend, which gives it a bit of a zing. —Cindi DeClue, Anchorage, Alaska
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Chicken Manicotti

When one of my friends came home from the hospital with her newborn, I sent over this freezer casserole. She and her family raved over how good it was. Try substituting olives for mushrooms or using veal instead of chicken. —Jamie Valocchi, Mesa, Arizona
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Rich Baked Spaghetti

It takes a little longer to make baked spaghetti, but the difference in taste, texture and richness is well worth the time. I serve this lasagna-style dish with a tossed green salad and breadsticks for a hearty, healthy meal. —Betty Rabe, Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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Saucy Chicken & Tortellini

This heartwarming dish is something I threw together years ago for my oldest daughter. When she's having a rough day, I put on the slow cooker and prepare this special recipe. —Mary Morgan, Dallas, Texas

Amy Glander
Amy is a book editor at Taste of Home where she gets to pour her passions for food and storytelling into trade and series cookbooks. When she’s not writing or editing, you’ll find her antiquing, cooking and baking from her favorite vintage cookbooks and exploring Milwaukee’s urban beauty with her digital SLR in hand.
Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.