I work just outside of Little Italy. Needless to say, there is some really good food there. But the sauce, and marinara sauce at that, is a source of both pride and debate. Some people call it sauce while others refer to it as gravy.
What makes a good marinara sauce is usually up for some debate in terms of preparation and ingredients that go into it too. For me, I tend to prefer anything with San Marzano tomatoes. But that is not the case here.
Don't get me wrong, here is a product that is good. If Trader Joe's didn't sell so many fun and unique items maybe I would feel differently about this.
Maybe good isn't the right word. This product is basic. This isn't made from the pricey San Marzano tomatoes that I love and am willing to shell out the premium for.
This is just basic sauce at the end of the day. It's chunky enough to let you know there are crushed tomatoes here. It's a bit acidic too. Their olive oil is in there but not to the extent that the now discontinued Puttanesca sauce had.
There is some basil flavor, but that is something that is best added at the end. So overall, it's a good sauce but nothing that stands out. It's not looking to reinvent the wheel. It's a nice fresh sauce. A touch of fresh basil isn't a bad move either.
For me personally, I'll still reach for the Marinara with Barolo Wine over this. For $3.99 this is more expensive than the jarred varieties. It was good, but it didn't blow me away. And for the price and size, yes, 50 cents more and 50% larger, the jarred marinara is a better deal too.
Visual run down
The container of Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce:
The nutritional information:
The ingredients (sorry, the container is a weird shape and not the most conducive to taking great picture) and how to prepare:
After being heated and mixed with some leftover Black Squid Ink Pasta you get:
Would I buy this again? No, I would not buy Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce again. It was good for what it was, but there are other variations that I just like better like TJ's Marinara with Barolo Wine.
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
The Bottom Line
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Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce
Product Name: Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce
Product Description: Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce is a refrigerated variety of sauce.
Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce is a refrigerated sauce.
- Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce is one of two new refrigerated sauces hitting shelves: this and mushroom medley alfredo sauce.
- The ingredient list is pretty simple and straight forward.
- It isn't going to be my first choice in sauce options.
- This would have been better if they had used San Marzano tomatoes. Keep some EVOO and some basil on hand if you are planning on using this.
- For the price, there are some equally good options in the jarred section.