The Go-To Dried Herb To Toss In Your Homemade Tomato Sauce


Where would we be without good ol’ tomato sauce? This kitchen standby brings bright sweetness to our pasta, pizzas, and baked casseroles such as eggplant parmesan, concentrating all the flavor of tomatoes into an incredibly versatile and often-reached-for condiment. Whether your favorite tomato sauce is a spicy arrabiata, a simple quick-cooking version, or even an uncooked type that simply needs to marinate with salt and oil, we’re willing to bet that if you like tomatoes even a little bit, you’re often known to roll up your sleeves and turn them into a sauce.

There seems to be no limit to the variety of tomato sauces out there, from marinara to puttanesca to creamy vodka (via Masala Herb). But the vast majority of them call for a few ingredients in common. These include olive oil, onion, garlic, and often some type of fresh or dried herbs, as well. But when using the latter, which choice is an all-around good bet?

Reach for dried oregano when simmering tomato sauce

No matter what your personal preference for tomato sauce is, it’s likely that when cooking it at home, you’re known to season it with a pinch of dried herbs, especially when you don’t happen to have any fresh basil or parsley on hand. But how much thought do you really put into your herb of choice when opening your spice cabinet?

According to Serious Eats, it’s worth carefully considering your options before stirring them into a nice pot of tomato sauce. The outlet notes that not all dried herbs are created equal: Some, like basil and parsley, taste dull and bland, while other heartier herbs, such as oregano, marjoram, and rosemary, hold on to their flavors better once dried.

For that reason, the site recommends using dried oregano when making tomato sauce. While it doesn’t taste exactly the same as its fresh version, it definitely imbues its unmistakably Italian-American flair into the sauce. Just remember to bloom the oregano in the hot oil while you’re sautéing the onion and garlic, as that will help distribute its taste throughout your tomato sauce.

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