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Easy Marinara Sauce

This easy homemade marinara sauce recipe only uses a few simple ingredients to create a rich and bold flavor, perfect for pasta and more!

The post Easy Marinara Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I know it’s super easy just to open up a jar of store-bought marinara sauce and pour it over your pasta, and sometimes that’s all the energy we have (no shame), but hear me out. This easy marinara sauce recipe is surprisingly simple, super inexpensive, and you get to control the ingredients (great for those watching their sugar or sodium intake). Plus, homemade marinara sauce is very freezer-friendly, so you can make a double batch now and save the other half for the nights when you have no energy. It heats through in minutes and you’re good to go with zero effort!

Overhead view of a pot full of homemade marinara sauce with a wooden spoon in the center.

What is Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce is a simple tomato-based pasta sauce. It’s characterized by its simple list of ingredients, which leads to an uncomplicated and bright tomato flavor. The texture of marinara sauce is usually very uniform without large chunks, which allows it to coat pasta evenly. Marinara sauce is most often used as a sauce for pasta, but it can also be used in many other dishes or as a dipping sauce.

Ingredients for Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce in its most simple form is just puréed tomatoes (or passata) and a small amount of herbs and spices. I’ve added a couple more ingredients here to satisfy my American palate, but the recipe remains very simple. Here’s what you’ll need to make this marinara sauce recipe:

  • Onion: The natural sugars in onion add a touch of sweetness to the sauce, which helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Garlic: Garlic pairs so well with tomato sauce that I just had to add some to round out the savory flavors. That being said, you can skip it for a more traditional marinara sauce flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil helps the onion sauté without burning and it adds some body to the sauce.
  • Crush Tomatoes: A large can of crushed tomatoes provides bulk to this sauce with a fairly smooth texture. If you can not get crushed tomatoes where you live, passata will also work.
  • Tomato Paste: A little bit of tomato paste added to the sauce helps thicken it up and intensifies the tomato flavor.
  • Herbs: Dried basil and oregano round out the flavor of this sauce and give it a subtle herbal finish.
  • Brown Sugar: Adding sugar is a short cut with tomato sauce that helps balance the acidity without having to simmer the sauce for a long period of time. You can skip the brown sugar, but I love the balance it brings to the flavor.
  • Salt: Salt is arguably the most important ingredient in any dish as it helps our tongue distinguish between different flavors. If your sauce is not properly salted, you will not be able to taste its full flavor.

What Kind of Tomatoes to Use for Marinara Sauce

This recipe is written using canned crushed tomatoes, which offer both convenience and a low price. While you most definitely can make marinara sauce using fresh tomatoes, that would require several more steps and a reformulation of the recipe to account for the extra water and flavor differences.

When choosing the canned crushed tomatoes for this recipe, keep in mind that there can be quite a drastic flavor difference between brands. If budget is your main concern, this recipe makes a great sauce even when using generic-brand canned tomatoes. But, if you want to get a bit fancier, you can opt for a premium or imported brand, or even buy whole canned San Marzano tomatoes and purée them yourself. Even when you opt for a more expensive canned tomato, this recipe is still very easy and budget-friendly, making it a great option for special occasions like date night in!

How to Use Marinara Sauce

We all know that marinara sauce is great on pasta, but you can use it for other recipes, as well! Here are some other ways to use this easy homemade marinara sauce:

  • Use it on pizza for a lighter tomato flavor. It’s particularly great on Margherita pizzas.
  • Use it as a dipping sauce for homemade focaccia or breadsticks.
  • Combine it with other sauces like pesto or alfredo sauce to make a new pasta or dipping sauce.
  • Add it to sandwiches, like Meatball Subs.
  • Use it as a base for soup by adding more seasoning, broth, and other items like pasta, meatballs, or vegetables.

How to Store And Reheat

As mentioned, this marinara sauce recipe freezes beautifully. After cooking the marinara sauce, transfer it to the refrigerator until completely chilled. The sauce will stay good in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or you can transfer it to the freezer for longer storage. Just make sure the sauce is in a freezer-safe container, label and date it, and then freeze for up to three months. To reheat, simply transfer the frozen sauce to a saucepot and heat over medium-low, stirring often, until heated through.

A fork twirling into a pile of pasta covered in marinara sauce.
Overhead view of finished marinara sauce in the pot surrounded by pasta and herbs.
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Easy Marinara Sauce

This easy homemade marinara sauce recipe only uses a few simple ingredients to create a rich and bold flavor, perfect for pasta and more!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Total Cost $3.11 recipe / $0.39 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 (½ cup each)
Calories 73kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion $0.37
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.20
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $1.89
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional) $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste) $0.05

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a sauce pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the tomato paste and continue to stir and cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste takes on a slightly darker color. This caramelizes the sugars in the tomato paste to give it a slightly sweeter and less acidic flavor.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, brown sugar, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve any tomato paste from the bottom of the pot.
  • Allow the sauce to come to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and allow the sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After simmering for 30 minutes, taste the sauce and adjust the salt, sugar, or other seasonings to your liking. If the sauce is too acidic for your liking, you can let it simmer longer (about one hour) or add more sugar. Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to eat.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 454mg | Fiber: 2g
Close up side view of marinara sauce being stirred in the pot with a wooden spoon.

How to Make Marinara Sauce – Step by Step Photos

Sautéed onion and garlic in a saucepot.

Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and 2 Tbsp olive oil to a sauce pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Tomato paste stirred into the onions and garlic in the saucepot.

Add 2 Tbsp of tomato paste to the pot and continue to stir and cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste takes on a slightly darker color. This caramelizes the sugars in the tomato paste, adding a natural sweetness.

Crushed tomatoes, sugar, and herbs added to the pot.

Finally, add one 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp brown sugar, and 1 tsp salt. Stir to combine and dissolve any tomato paste from the bottom of the pot. Allow the sauce to come to a gentle simmer.

Marinara sauce being stirred in the pot.

Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leaving a lid on the pot but slightly ajar can help prevent splatter.

Overhead view of finished marinara sauce in the pot surrounded by pasta and herbs.

After simmering for 30 minutes, give the marinara sauce a taste and adjust the salt or other herbs to your liking. If it’s still too acidic for your taste, you can either simmer it longer (around 1 hour total), or add more sugar.

Marinara sauce being spooned over a plate of pasta.

Serve the homemade marinara sauce over pasta, use it for a dipping sauce, or freeze it for later!

The post Easy Marinara Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.


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Spinach Artichoke Lasagna

Ever tried artichoke in lasagna? If not, you’ve been missing out. This vegetarian recipe is freshly flavored, hearty and cheesy, but not too heavy. It’s a marvelous…

The post Spinach Artichoke Lasagna appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

slice of spinach artichoke lasagna

Ever tried artichoke in lasagna? If not, you’ve been missing out. This vegetarian recipe is freshly flavored, hearty and cheesy, but not too heavy. It’s a marvelous option for date night at home or a special Sunday dinner.

This spinach and artichoke lasagna recipe has been one of my personal favorites for nearly a decade, and it has raving reviews. Today, I’m sharing it again with new photos and a step-by-step video. You’ll also find plenty of serving suggestions below to round out your meal.

spinach artichoke lasagna ingredients

I originally created this recipe for our friend Scott. He came to the blog looking for a lasagna recipe to cook for his wife, Sara, and I had nothing to offer! This recipe formed the backbone for my Best Vegetable Lasagna and Vegan Lasagna, so if you have enjoyed those, you’ll certainly love this one.

This recipe taught me the beauty of no-boil lasagna noodles, which are so much easier and quicker to work with. It also features a simple, no-cook, diced tomato sauce with basil and garlic that tastes so fresh. Try it, and you’ll see!

Continue to the recipe...

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Green Goddess Tahini Dip

Bored by your dinner plans? This green goddess tahini will liven up any basic meal! I’m always so happy to have it in the refrigerator to serve…

The post Green Goddess Tahini Dip appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

green goddess tahini dip recipe

Bored by your dinner plans? This green goddess tahini will liven up any basic meal! I’m always so happy to have it in the refrigerator to serve as an appetizer or snack.

Just a dollop or two brings together random leftovers and simple meals made with veggies, greens, whole grains or beans. You can also spread it onto your sandwiches or wraps. Green goddess tahini is here to save the day. You’ll find many more serving suggestions below.

green goddess tahini sauce ingredients

This recipe was inspired by a similar dip that I grabbed at Whole Foods before hosting girls’ night (I can’t seem to find the brand name). A couple of my friends follow dairy free and vegan diets, so I’m always on the lookout for fun options that satisfy our requirements. As the night went on, we all fell in love with the dip—it’s creamy, rich yet fresh, and satisfying. It’s irresistible.

So, I combined my Best Tahini Sauce (truly the best) with the herbs from my Easy Green Goddess Dressing, and here you have it. You can make this recipe with any combination of cilantro, parsley, basil, dill and/or mint. Add a small handful of fresh tarragon if you can find it for that characteristic green goddess flavor. This dip (or sauce) is lovely in any season and at any holiday. I hope you fall in love with it!

Continue to the recipe...

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Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Roasted chicken and vegetables is an easy wintertime dinner with juicy chicken thighs, caramelized vegetables, and an herb-infused marinade.

The post Roasted Chicken and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Roasting is my preferred method of cooking this time of year because it’s easy and hands-off, plus it creates the most scrumptious caramelized flavors and super tender and juicy meat. Not to mention, it will help keep your kitchen warm and cozy. 😏 This recipe for Roasted Chicken and Vegetables combines budget-friendly bone-in chicken thighs with a medley of winter vegetables and an herb-infused seasonoing for a hearty meal that will keep you full and warm on cold winter nights.

Overhead view of a large white casserole dish filled with roasted chicken and vegetables.

Why I Love This Dish

Roasting absolutely transforms food. It caramelizes the natural sugars in the vegetables, making their flavor deep and sweet. It browns the skin on the chicken making it crispy and delicious, all while keeping the meat inside tender and juicy. Plus, all of that time in the oven allows all of the flavor of the herbs to infuse every bite. It’s ✨magical✨.

The best part, though, is that roasting is very hands-off, meaning you can go take care of other things while the food in the oven working its magic. There’s a little bit of chopping and seasoning in the beginning, but then it just goes into the oven and an hour it comes out delicious! BOOM!

Ingredients for Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Here’s what you’ll need to make this cozy winter dinner:

  • Chicken Thighs: I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe because they are budget-friendly and always turn out super tender and juicy. You can also use chicken drumsticks, but I would avoid boneless or skinless cuts of chicken because they will dry out with this longer cooking time (and you won’t get that beautifully crispy skin!).
  • Vegetables: I used a combination of potatoes, carrots, garlic, and onions to create a colorful, filling, and flavorful mix. The potatoes and carrots are firm enough to hold up to the long roasting time, the potatoes absorb all of that amazing flavor, and the garlic and onions get deliciously soft and caramelized in the process. I used tri-colored baby potatoes, but if those are out of budget you can use red potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • Herbs and Spices: To add flavor to the chicken and vegetables I added a hefty dose of seasonings including dried basil, dried thyme, dried rosemary, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Every bite will have maximum flavor!
  • Olive Oil: Oil helps the seasoning stick to the chicken and vegetables and it also helps prevent them from drying out from the heat of the oven. Instead of shriveled dry vegetables, you’ll get tender caramelized vegetables and crispy chicken skin!

What Kind of Baking Dish to Use

You’ll want to use a very large casserole dish for the roasted chicken and vegetables so the ingredients have good exposure to the hot air. Aim for a dish that is at least 9×13 inches and around 3-4 quarts in volume. Glass or ceramic work best, but if you have a metal casserole dish you may need to reduce the cooking time slightly as the dish will heat up faster. A sheet pan will allow the ingredients to be too far spread out, causing more evaporation and less of the flavorful juices that soak into the potatoes.

How to Store Leftovers

This cozy meal makes a great meal prep, if you are feeding just yourself or have a household of two. Simply divide the chicken and vegetables into single-serving containers after cooking, then refrigerate. The chicken and vegetables will stay good for about four days in the refrigerator and can be reheated quickly in the microwave.

Close up overhead view of chicken and vegetables on the plate.
Overhead view of roasted chicken and vegetables in a white casserole dish.
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Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Roasted chicken and vegetables is an easy wintertime dinner with juicy chicken thighs, caramelized vegetables, and an herb-infused seasoning.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $10.94 recipe / $2.74 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 781kcal

Ingredients

  • 24 oz. baby potatoes* $2.99
  • 2 large carrots $0.31
  • 1 red onion $0.80
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.48
  • 2 tsp dried basil $0.20
  • 1 tsp dried thyme $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp paprika $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lbs.) $5.49

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Wash and cut the baby potatoes in half (or, if using larger potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces). Wash and slice the carrots into 1-inch pieces. Peel and cut the red onion into wedges. Peel the garlic cloves and leave them whole.
  • Add the olive oil, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl and stir until well combined.
  • Place the prepared vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle half of the seasoning over top. Toss the vegetables until they are fully coated in oil and herbs, then transfer them to a 9×13-inch or larger casserole dish.
  • Place the chicken thighs into the same bowl and pour the remaining oil and herbs over top. Toss until the chicken is fully coated, then nestle the chicken down into the vegetables in the casserole dish, making sure the chicken is not covered with vegetables.
  • Roast the chicken and vegetables in the preheated 425ºF oven for 40 minutes, then remove the casserole dish and carefully stir the vegetables. Spoon some of the liquid from the bottom of the dish over the chicken, then return the dish to the oven and roast for an additional 20 minutes or until the chicken skin is golden brown and crispy and the vegetables are browned and caramelized. Serve hot.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*To reduce costs you can substitute the baby potatoes with red potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 781kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 52g | Sodium: 794mg | Fiber: 6g
Side view of pan juices being drizzled over the chicken and vegetables.

How to Make Roasted Chicken and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Vegetables used for roasted chicken and vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Begin by preparing the vegetables. Wash and slice 24 oz. potatoes in half (or into 1-inch pieces if using larger red potatoes). Wash and slice two large carrots into 1-inch pieces. Peel and slice one red onion into wedges. Peel four cloves of garlic and leave them whole.

Herb seasoning mix in a bowl with oil.

Prepare the seasoning mix for the chicken and vegetables. In a bowl combine ¼ cup olive oil with 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.

Seasoning being poured over the vegetables in a bowl.

Place the prepared vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle half of the seasoning mix over top. Toss the vegetables until they are fully coated in the oil and herbs. Transfer the seasoned vegetables to a very large casserole dish.

Seasoned chicken thighs in a bowl.

Place four bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lbs.) into the same bowl and pour the remaining seasoning over the top. Toss the chicken thighs until they are fully coated.

Chicken thighs in the casserole dish with the vegetables.

Nestle the chicken thighs down into the vegetables in the casserole dish. Make sure the vegetables are not covering the chicken. Transfer the casserole dish to the preheated 425ºF oven.

Roasted chicken and vegetables in the casserole dish.

Roast the chicken and vegetables in the oven for about 40 minutes, then remove the dish and carefully stir the vegetables in the casserole dish and spoon some of the liquid from the bottom of the dish over the chicken. Return the chicken and vegetables to the oven and roast for another 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are golden and caramelized and the chicken skin is golden and crispy.

Overhead view of roasted chicken and vegetables on a plate.

(Garnished with parsley for color, not needed for flavor.)

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Caprese Salad Wreath

If you are looking for an EASY holiday recipe, you have to try this Caprese Salad Wreath. You only need 5 ingredients and 10 minutes to make this Christmas salad. On a large platter or board, use arugula to make a wreath shape and decorate with tomatoe…

If you are looking for an EASY holiday recipe, you have to try this Caprese Salad Wreath. You only need 5 ingredients and 10 minutes to make this Christmas salad. On a large platter or board, use arugula to make a wreath shape and decorate with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella peals, and basil. Drizzle with balsamic…

Tomato & Chickpea Pasta with Goat Cheese

This wholesome tomato pasta recipe makes a wonderful weeknight dinner! This feel-good recipe is warm, comforting, and lightly creamy, but not heavy. It’s bursting with Mediterranean flavors—roasted…

The post Tomato & Chickpea Pasta with Goat Cheese appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

tomato chickpea pasta recipe

This wholesome tomato pasta recipe makes a wonderful weeknight dinner! This feel-good recipe is warm, comforting, and lightly creamy, but not heavy.

It’s bursting with Mediterranean flavors—roasted cherry tomatoes, hearty chickpeas, creamy goat cheese, pops of briny olives, and garlic. Each one benefits from the heat of the oven, and the end result is just fantastic.

tomato chickpea pasta ingredients

I love how this recipe comes together and I think you will, too. Basically, we’ll cook the pasta on the stovetop and roast the remaining ingredients in one baking dish. Stir it all together, add fresh basil, and you’re ready to eat. You’ll have plenty of time in between steps to tidy the kitchen or chat.

This recipe is a variation on last summer’s Baked Feta Dip with Cherry Tomatoes, which was inspired by the viral TikTok roasted cherry tomato and feta pasta and Deb’s version of it.

It’s always fun to see how recipes morph over time, and this one is a real winner. Please give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Basil Rice

Basil rice is tasty addition to any meal! Fresh basil and garlic bring an herbaceous aromatic flavor to this easy…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Basil rice is tasty addition to any meal! Fresh basil and garlic bring an herbaceous aromatic flavor to this easy side dish.

Basil Rice

Need an easy side dish? Try this herbaceous basil rice! It’s simple to whip up with fresh basil, butter, and garlic, which bring an aromatic flavor to this easy side dish. A bit of lemon zest and juice add an extra citrus spin! It’s amazing what a few extra ingredients can do to add pizzazz to simple rice. This one is a standard on our table (and, you can make variations with any herbs you have on hand!).

Ingredients in basil rice

It’s simple to make basil rice, and it’s perfect for when you have fresh basil on hand. Whether it’s fresh from your garden or leftover from the store, it works perfectly to make an impressive and easy side dish. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White long grain rice
  • Salted butter
  • Garlic (or garlic powder)
  • Fresh basil
  • Lemon, zest and juice, optional
Basil rice

Tips for basil rice

There’s no trick to basil rice: the fresh basil and bright lemon carry the flavors! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you make a pot of rice:

  • No shortcuts with a short ingredient list! Use a real garlic clove for the best flavor (not jarred in either case). But if you don’t have garlic on hand, garlic powder tastes good too. If you have it, a real lemon gives a big punch to this recipe! But it’s optional and tastes great either way.
  • Rinse the rice. Rinsing rice removes starch from the outside of the grains. This prevents getting a gooey, sticky, gummy pot of rice.
  • Allow the pot to stand for 10 minutes after cooking. This rest time is crucial because it steams the rice, letting the water become fully absorbed into each grain.

Leftover storage

This basil rice recipe tastes the best the day of serving. But leftovers also keep well! Store leftover basil rice refrigerated for up to 5 days; reheat gently on the stovetop with a small splash of water. You may need to add an additional pinch or two of salt.

One thing to keep in mind for leftovers: the color of the basil darkens after refrigeration. So if you’re making this ahead, keep the basil separate and add right before serving.

Basil

Ways to serve basil rice

Basil rice is very versatile: it pairs with many Mediterranean-style recipes from chicken to fish and vegetarian dinners. Here are a few great ways to serve it:

More basil recipes

There are so many ways to cook basil into meals! Here are a few favorite basil recipes:

This basil rice recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy free, use olive oil.

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Basil Rice

Basil Rice


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Rest Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Basil rice is tasty addition to any meal! Fresh basil and garlic bring an herbaceous aromatic flavor to this easy side dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry white long grain rice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter or olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced basil
  • Zest from 1 lemon and/or 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it under cold water, then drain and shake dry.
  2. Place the rice in a saucepan with 1 ½ cups water and ¼ teaspoon of the kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, until the water is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the butter, minced garlic, basil, lemon zest and juice (if using), and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serve immediately or store leftovers refrigerated for up to 5 days; reheat gently on the stovetop with a tablespoon of water. Keep in mind, the color of the basil darkens after refrigeration, so if making in advance, add the basil directly before serving.
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Basil rice

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted tomato soup is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic that are slowly roasted until the flavors are deep, sweet, and cozy!

The post Roasted Tomato Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Roasted tomato soup is the perfect transition recipe to usher us from summer into the fall season. This simple soup gives me just enough cozy vibes to get me excited for fall without being too heavy for these last few warm days of summer. Plus, it’s the perfect way to use up those last few juicy tomatoes of summer, whether you score them from your local farmer’s market or your backyard. Don’t let any of those gorgeous ‘maters go to waste!

Overhead view of a bowl of roasted tomato soup with a spoon and grilled cheese on the side.

What’s in Roasted Tomato Soup

I love this Roasted Tomato Soup because it’s incredibly simple, yet totally elegant. It’s the type of recipe that really makes you feel pampered even though it doesn’t take a lot of work. You’ll need these ingredients to make tomato soup:

  • Fresh tomatoes: The fresher the better when it comes to this homemade tomato soup! If you can score some home-grown or locally-grown tomatoes, that will give you the best flavor.
  • Onion: The natural sugars in the onion caramelize while roasting, giving this soup a natural sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, as well as a nice savory base note.
  • Garlic: Garlic gives the soup depth and I just can’t do tomato without it’s best friend, garlic. ;)
  • Olive oil: Olive oil helps the vegetables caramelize without drying out and it adds some body to the soup, so it doesn’t feel quite so thin on the palate.
  • Vegetable broth: Adds both volume and flavor to the soup. You can substitute chicken broth if preferred.
  • Basil: The seasoning is simple in this soup so that the natural flavors of the tomatoes really shine. Just a little basil does the trick!
  • Salt and pepper: It’s all about balance! Salt helps flavors pop and pepper adds just a little sparkle of flavor.

The Best Tomatoes for Tomato Soup

Tomatoes are the main ingredient in this easy soup, so picking the best tomatoes is key to making the soup really great. Here are some tips for choosing the best tomato for the job:

  • Fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes will give the best flavor and color to the soup. If you grow your own tomatoes or have a neighbor with a green thumb, take advantage! Or, try to source from a farmer’s market, when possible.
  • If tomatoes are not in season and you have to source from the grocery store, smaller varieties, like grape, cherry, plum, or Roma tomatoes will provide the best flavor. Roma tomatoes tend to be the most budget-friendly, but can sometimes be the least fresh, so make sure to check for freshness.
  • Avoid tomatoes that are large, pale, or grown in a hothouse. While these tomatoes may be great for slicing or dicing, they won’t provide much flavor to the soup.

What Else Can I Add?

The recipe below is elegantly simple, but you can jazz it up if you have some of the following ingredients on hand:

  • Fresh basil – blend into the soup when puréeing the vegetables, or top each bowl with fresh leaves
  • Parmesan – either use to top each bowl of soup or simmer a Parmesan rind in the soup
  • Cream – Swirl in a ½ cup to the pot for a deliciously creamy finish
  • Red bell pepper – roast with the tomato, onion, and garlic for a sweeter soup
  • Flavored olive oil – drizzle a little extra over each bowl just before serving for more depth of flavor
  • Pesto – add a shot of herbs, Parmesan, and flavorful oil all in one spoonful!

What to Serve with Tomato Soup

Grilled cheese, of course! If you want something truly epic, try making an air fryer grilled cheese, spinach and feta grilled cheese, or pesto grilled cheese. Or, if you’re looking for something on the lighter side, try pairing this tomato soup with a veggie sandwich or a classic cucumber sandwich. Or just serve it with some garlic bread on the side.

A pot of roasted tomato soup being stirred with a spoon.
Overhead view of a bowl of roasted tomato soup with a spoon dipping into the center.
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Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted tomato soup is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic that are slowly roasted until the flavors are deep, sweet, and cozy!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.62 recipe / $2.16 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 (1.5 cups each)
Calories 145kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. fresh tomatoes $7.18
  • 1 yellow onion $0.36
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided $0.03
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.34

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the tomatoes into quarters or halves, depending on the size of the tomatoes. Slice the onion into 1-inch wide wedges. Peel the garlic.
  • Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic on a large sheet pan. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt and tsp pepper, then drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat everything in oil.
  • Roast the vegetables in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until they become slightly browned on the edges.
  • Transfer the vegetables and all of the juices to a soup pot and purée with an immersion blender. Or, transfer to a blender, add the vegetable broth, and purée.
  • Add the basil and vegetable broth (if not already combined) to the soup pot and heat over medium. Allow the soup to come up to a simmer, then continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
  • After simmering for 10 minutes, add salt to taste. The total amount of salt needed with depend on the salt content of the broth used, so start with ¼ tsp and add more until the flavors are vibrant. Serve hot with a grilled cheese or garlic bread for dipping!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 780mg | Fiber: 5g
Grilled cheese being dipped into a bowl of roasted tomato soup.

How to Make Roasted Tomato Soup – Step by Step Photos

Tomatoes, onions, and garlic on a sheet pan being drizzled with olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut 3 lbs. of fresh, ripe tomatoes into quarters (or, if using a small variety, cut in half). Slice one yellow onion into 1-inch wide wedges and peel four cloves of garlic. Add the tomatoes, onions, and garlic to a large sheet pan. Add ¼ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper, and 2 Tbsp olive oil, then toss to coat.

Roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic on the sheet pan.

Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in the preheated 400ºF oven for 40-45 minutes, or until there is some browning on the edges of the tomatoes and onions.

Vegetables being blended in the soup pot with an immersion blender.

Transfer the vegetables and all their juices to a soup pot and use an immersion blender to purée. Or, transfer them to a blender and the broth to cool them down, then purée.

Basil and broth added to the soup pot.

Add ½ tsp dried basil and 2 cups of vegetable broth to the pot with the puréed vegetables. Place the pot over medium heat and allow it to come up to a simmer. Simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Finished roasted tomato soup in the soup pot being stirred with a spoon.

After simmering for about 10 minutes, give the soup a taste and add salt to help the flavors pop. The amount of salt needed will depend greatly on the salt content of the broth used, so start with ¼ tsp and add more until the soup tastes vibrant.

Close up of roasted tomato soup in a ladle over the pot.

Don’t forget to make an epic grilled cheese to go along with your fresh homemade tomato soup!

The post Roasted Tomato Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pesto Chicken

This pesto chicken recipe makes an impressive and easy dinner! Basil pesto makes a quick herby sauce to pair with…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This pesto chicken recipe makes an impressive and easy dinner! Basil pesto makes a quick herby sauce to pair with the juicy chicken.

Pesto Chicken

Got pesto? Here’s a great way to use it to make an impressive dinner recipe: Pesto Chicken! Combine basil pesto with a bit of cream and it makes a stunning fresh sauce for juicy chicken breasts! It’s a quick trick that makes an everyday dinner into something special, perfect for entertaining or just an easy weeknight meal. This one is very popular in our house: especially when we have guests!

Ingredients in this pesto chicken recipe

Pesto chicken in perfect for when you have access to fresh basil and can make a big batch of basil pesto! The flavor of homemade pesto far outshines the jarred variety you can find at the store. It also has a brighter green color! However, if you want to make pesto chicken with purchased pesto that works too (see our tips below).

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound, organic if possible), butterflied or cutlets
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt
  • Salted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Basil pesto
  • Heavy cream
Basil Pesto Recipe

For the pesto: homemade vs storebought

Pesto chicken tastes and looks best with homemade basil pesto. Of course, this isn’t always possible to have fresh basil on hand and time to make pesto homemade. If you’re using the jarred variety, keep this in mind: the flavor and quality of jarred pesto varies greatly between brands. 

  • Homemade pesto has the best flavor and bright green color. Make a batch of Basil Pesto if you can. Or try Arugula Pesto or Kale Pesto, which have a slightly spicier flavor.
  • Purchased pesto brands vary greatly in flavor (a spritz of lemon juice can help). Each different brand has a different salt and acid level, and some taste very bitter and acidic, which can overwhelm a dish. Adding a spritz of fresh lemon juice can help to improve the flavor.
  • Or, try refrigerated fresh pesto (in the produce section). This type of pesto tends to have better flavor than pesto in jars.
Pesto chicken recipe

How and why to butterfly chicken

Chicken breasts are often very thick, making them tricky to cook evenly because the thin part finishes before the thick part cooks through. The trick? Butterfly your chicken before cooking it! Slicing the chicken breast in half horizontally makes thinner pieces which cook more evenly. They’re also easier to eat and are better seasoned.

You can buy a chicken breast already butterflied, which may be marked on the package (or it may be labeled as “cutlets”). Or if you buy regular chicken breasts, you can butterfly it yourself. Here’s how to butterfly a chicken breast:

  • Place your hand over the top of the chicken breast.
  • Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact so it can open up like a book (or butterfly!).
  • Unfold the chicken breast like a book, then for cutlets, cut along the fold to separate the two halves (each half is a cutlet).

Buy organic chicken if possible

How to find the best meat for this pesto chicken recipe? The best chicken to buy is organic. Per the USDA, organic chicken must be raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not given antibiotics or hormones.

Buying organic chicken makes sure that it is the highest quality meat that was raised sustainably, and it is also free of chemicals and additives so it’s the healthiest option for eating. It also tastes better!

Pesto chicken

Ways to serve it

How to make pesto chicken into a meal? Add an easy side dish or two to turn it into dinner! Here are a few ideas:

More recipes with pesto

When you’ve got pesto, there are so many ways to use it! Here are some of our favorite recipes with pesto:

This pesto chicken recipe is…

Gluten-free.

Print
Pesto Chicken

Pesto Chicken


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This pesto chicken recipe makes an impressive and easy dinner! Basil pesto makes a quick herby sauce to pair with the juicy chicken.


Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound, organic if possible), butterflied or cutlets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, then slice it in half horizontally (if not already butterflied). Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  2. Add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. When the internal temperature is 165°F or the center is no longer pink, remove to a plate and rest for 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the basil pesto and cream with a pinch of kosher salt. When the chicken has rested, gently toss the chicken breasts in the sauce and serve immediately with a drizzle of the sauce over the chicken. 
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Pesto chicken, pesto chicken recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Basil Lemonade

Basil lemonade is a sweet tart, herbaceous, and refreshing summer drink! It’s easy to make with a quick infused syrup.…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Basil lemonade is a sweet tart, herbaceous, and refreshing summer drink! It’s easy to make with a quick infused syrup.

Basil Lemonade

Got basil? Fresh basil leaves are pure gold: an abundance can make everything from fresh basil pesto to caprese salad and everything in between. Here’s a fun way to use this fresh herb: basil lemonade! It has a sweet tart, refreshing flavor with a pungent finish of basil to each sip. It’s simple to whip up at home with a quick infused basil syrup that brings that signature herbaceous pop. Here’s how to make it!

Ingredients for basil lemonade

Basil lemonade is fun to whip up at home and the perfect drink for impressing everyone (our son is one huge fan of homemade lemonade!). You’ll make a basil syrup that takes only a few minutes of hands on time, though you’ll need 30 minutes to the flavor to steep into the syrup. Keep in mind, this recipe is best in summer you’ve got fresh basil to spare. It calls for 1 cup mint leaves, which can get expensive if you’re buying store-bought herbs. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Fresh basil
  • Lemons
  • Suga
Basil Lemonade

How to make basil lemonade (basic steps)

Homemade lemonade is simple: it just requires lots of lemons! You’ll need 7 to 8 large lemons to make a big pitcher. You can also consider making a half pitcher for a smaller quantity! Here are the basic steps for how to make basil lemonade (or jump to the recipe below for quantities):

  • Make the basil syrup. Dissolve equal parts water and sugar, then add basil and allow the leaves to steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Juice the lemons. Using a press juicer is the quickest way to juice lemons: it gets out the most juice without tiring out your fingers from squeezing. The next best choice? A handheld citrus juicer.
  • Mix the pitcher. Mix the basil syrup in a pitcher with the lemon juice and more cold water. Add ice and serve!
Basil Lemonade

Spiked variation: add vodka or gin!

For another variation on basil lemonade, try turning this recipe into a summer cocktail! It’s the perfect basis for a sweet tart summer drink. Simply combine 1 cup of this lemonade with 2 ounces (¼ cup) vodka. Or, try it with gin: add 1.5 ounces (3 Tbsp) per glass. Or, add limoncello to amp the lemony flavor: add 1 ounce (2 Tbsp) per glass.

Basil lemonade by the glass

Don’t want to make an entire pitcher of basil lemonade? This recipe makes 8 to 9 cups of lemonade, so it’s intended for parties or entertaining. You can make a big pitcher, but if you’re really just craving a glass, you can do that too! Here’s what to do:

  • Squeeze 3 tablespoons lemon juice into a glass. That’s 1 large lemon or 2 small.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of basil syrup and stir until it dissolves.
  • Add 1 cup cold water and a handful of ice. Water it down more if necessary. Enjoy!
Basil Lemonade

More homemade lemonade recipes

This basil lemonade recipe is one in a lineup of fruity and herby lemonade flavors! Here are a few of our favorite ways to make lemonade:

This basil lemonade recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Rest Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8

Description

Basil lemonade is a sweet tart, herbaceous, and refreshing summer drink! It’s easy to make with a quick infused syrup.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7 to 8 large lemons)*
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Add the sugar and 1 cup water to a small saucepan and heat until a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Allow to steep until syrup is room temperature, about 30 minutes.*
  2. Strain out the basil leaves, then add the basil syrup to a large pitcher with 6 cups cold water and the lemon juice.  Add ice and serve.

Notes

*Or, make a variation by the glass. Make the basil syrup and refrigerate leftovers. To make the lemonade by the glass, use 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons basil syrup, and 1 cup cold water. Add ice and serve!

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Lemonade
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Basil lemonade

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.