What to Eat on Pasta if You Hate Tomato Sauce

Some people just don’t like tomatoes, but they love tomato sauce. Others are the opposite and love fresh tomatoes, but hate them once they are cooked. Some people just dislike tomatoes in all forms except ketchup. And while I can’t relate, I can totally understand not liking something. For instance, I don’t like dry, overcooked salmon, or vegemite, or people who hate tomatoes (just kidding). Well, tomato haters, since your feelings are valid and we want to make sure you have something you like to put on your spaghetti, here is our list of what to eat with pasta if you hate tomato sauce.

This is the classic answer when it comes to tomato sauce alternatives. Why? Probably because it rhymes. Also, it is one of the two highly mainstream names in the pasta sauce without tomatoes game. So, if you are in need of a non-tomato sauce, switch out the tomato for the alfredo—this alfredo sauce, specifically. Rana alfredo sauce is as close to restaurant quality as you can get without going to a restaurant, and is “creamy, salty, and buttery.” Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo also pointed out that since this sauce uses a combination of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheese, it has an extra salty and sharp bite to it that Parm alone just can’t provide.

Related: Best Jarred Alfredo Sauce: 7 Best Jarred Alfredo Sauces for Creamy Pasta

California Olive Ranch 100% California Extra Virgin Medium Rich & Vibrant and Garlic

Pasta with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and whatever veggies you want is a deceptively delicious way to pasta. Also known as “Aglio e Olio” (garlic and oil) pasta, this easy alternative to tomato sauce is quick, easy, and delicious. But here’s the thing. You have to use good olive oil for an olive oil-based sauce to taste good. That being said, it doesn’t have to be freshly squeezed straight from the udder of an olive tree on the coast of ~Ethpaña~ to be darn good olive oil, and we think this very readily available brand, California Olive Ranch, does an excellent (and affordable) job. Danny Palumbo called this olive oil “rich, mellow, and balanced,” and that’s really all you need for this recipe to work!

Related: Best Olive Oil: 5 Best Olive Oils for Cooking, Dipping, and Drizzling

Kirkland Basil Pesto

Hey what do you know, it’s the other non-tomato-containing mainstream pasta sauce. We here at Sporked love pesto. Heck, I love tomato sauce but I will choose pesto over tomato sauce nine times out of ten just because it is so McFrickin good. Plus this pesto from Costco is actually fabulous.  It is vibrantly green, and, as Danny Palumbo pointed out, it has a “pure nutty, cheesy, oily, and herby flavor.” He also noted that it “uses D.O.P (Protected Designation of Origin) Genovese basil and Pecorino Romano.” What does that mean? That means a good portion of what is in Kirkland Pesto comes from Italia herself. WHAT a bargain.

Related: Best Store Bought Pesto: Jarred Pesto That’s the Besto

Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Hebrew National Beef Franks

If you have never heard of this before you may be questioning my sanity, but let me tell you, this combo is a hit in a lot of different parts of the world, most notably Japan, where it is called Napolitan and people heckin’ love it. This is a great tomato sauce alternative if you are one of those people who loves ketchup but hates tomato sauce and tomatoes. The sweet, tangy, salty flavor bomb of the ketchup with the beefy hot dogs? MmmmmMmmmMMM! It is not remotely Italian but boy is it delicious. Plus, you can’t go wrong if you’re making it with the best ketchup (Heinz) and Hebrew National hot dogs, which Danny called “salty and meaty” and perfectly girthy (sorry). Just add spaghetti!

Related: Best Ketchup: 7 Best Ketchups (with Guest Taster Josh Scherer)

Now, I don’t know who else grew up with this or if it’s just a strange vestige of my Eastern European roots, but noodles and cottage cheese was a “thing” when I was growing up. You just cook a box of pasta, drain it, add an ungodly amount of butter, a large amount of salt (to taste, but it is always a lot), and throw in a full 16 ounce tub of cottage cheese, mix it around, e voila – noodles and cottage cheese. Y’all it is SO good. It is just noodles with butter and lil cheese curds, essentially, but it tastes like a hug. Plus if you use good cottage cheese like this “intensely flavorful and complex” offering from Good Culture, you truly can’t go wrong. If y’all try this let me know, I’m curious what people think of this outside my immediate family.

Related: The Best Cottage Cheese in All of Its Creamy, Curdy Glory

Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt

Plain. Buttered. Noodles. The original tomato sauce alternative. The very first “what to eat with pasta if you don’t like tomato sauce” solution. The national anthem of picky eaters everywhere. But hear me out – with the right butter, this dish actually might get…interesting? That’s right, with a butter that “takes you on a journey to butter town,” as Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart put it. I, an actual person who has eaten many flavorful foods in her life, think that plain buttered noodles would taste a little less “plain.” Danny said this butter “fills your mouth with flavor,” and, heck, if that is not the role sauce would play in a pasta scenario, I don’t know what is. If you MUST eat plain buttered noodles, please use this butter. It will add a bit of tangy, Vermont-y pizzazz to your otherwise very safe food choice.

Related: Best Butter: No Buts About the 7 Best Butters (Salted & Unsalted)

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.