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Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce

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Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce |

Ever since finding out that I was going to get to meet my favorite chocolatier yesterday, and tour his magical chocolate factory, I admit that I have had chocolate on the brain. (And…the oompa looma theme song. Go figure.)  :)

But when it comes to chocolate, I feel like I always use it to make chocolate desserts and sweets. So as a challenge, I decided to get creative and try to come up with a new savory dish. In the past few years, I have really grown to love adding a hint of cocoa powder to my fresh tomato salsas. Thus, I began to wonder if chocolate might have the same effect in a tomato sauce.

And thus, this Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce was born.

And it is good. Like, really good.

I ended up adding actual chopped dark chocolate to the sauce. It’s not overpowering at all — just a subtle, warm hint that rounded out the acidity of the tomatoes perfectly. I kept the sauce simple with some fresh basil, but if you’re into spicy, I think this would also be fantastic in a spicier sort of diablo sauce. However you make it, it is really simple, vegetarian and vegan, and is sure to be the talk of your dinner table.

And of course, it’s an excuse to add even a little more chocolate to your life. :)

Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce |

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Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce

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  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 -4 servings 1x


A hint of dark chocolate makes this marinara extra special!


  • 12 ounces dried pasta (I used linguine)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • optional garnishes: additional julienned fresh basil and Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta in generously-salted water al dente according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, drain the water. Then serve the pasta with the sauce ladled on top, or stir together the pasta and sauce and serve with additional garnishes, if desired.

Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce |

Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce |

Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce |

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43 comments on “Pasta with Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce”

  1. This sauce sounds sooooo good! Lovely colour too!

  2. Love chocolate in savory dishes – I don’t do it enough!! Sounds so good.

  3. I am SO intrigued! This sounds amazing – and I bet there are some amazing pizzas that could be made with it too!

  4. The color of that sauce is absolutely gorgeous. I’m trying to imagine what the chocolate-infused sauce would taste like, and have concluded that I’m just going to have to make this for the family! Market research. :)

  5. The color of this sauce looks to deep and rich!! I love that!!

    I love adding chocolate to my chili so why not my pasta sauce! I am all in!

  6. OK, this is further proof that chocolate is just about always appropriate. So exciting about meeting your favorite chocolatier too! It’s only appropriate to sing Willy Wonka all day long…and now it’s in my head too!
    PS. I love your board that’s in these photos. Where’d you find it?

  7. gotta say, I am so curious about this! I have never added chocolate to a savoury dish! Bit of a weird concept for me, I guess I will have to try it! You were do lucky to visit the chocolate factory! I was swooning over your instagram pics!

  8. Chocolate and pasta?! I think you just combined two of my greatest loves.

  9. WOW! Chocolate in an entree – love it!

  10. Ooo, I’m so intrigued by this! I made chili once with chocolate and it was fantastic. I’ll have to try this!

  11. The only thing missing is my ENTIRE FACE.

  12. I’m so intrigued by this dish! I could always use more chocolate in my life so this is going on the must-make-ASAP list!

  13. chocolate sauce?? on pasta??? I have to try it.

  14. I’m with Heather on this one. It would be great as a pizza sauce too.

  15. This looks so yummy. The sauce is so rich with the addition of chocolate. Love that!

  16. Love this sauce, the dark chocolate sounds incredible!

  17. The color of this sauce looks amazing! I’ve heard of adding chocolate to chili before, so I imagine it’s the same concept of the chocolate working well with the tomatoes and spices. Such a great idea!

  18. Your photos are always gorgeous, but these are especially beautiful! The color is amazing! And the flavors sound so interesting and lovely… pinning to try!

  19. Chocolate in marinara?! You’re a genius, Ali.

  20. I am definitely intrigued….I mean I’ve had chocolate in savory dishes (mole) but never in a pasta sauce. My curiosity is killing me – Definitely going to pin this to try out! :D

  21. Totally LOVE the sound of this. I can’t wait to hear more about the tour!!

  22. I always want to find ways to get more chocolate in my life :) Gorgeous sauce!

  23. I’ve made “North Beach Spaghetti Sauce” with a recipe from the Ghirardelli’s cookbook that includes ground chocolate. It’s good too, and provides just enough sweetness to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. I’m looking forward to trying the recipe with chopped chocolate.

  24. I am totally intrigued by this.

  25. I have never added dark chocolate to marinara but I really must, this looks amazing Ali. Amazing.

  26. I would *never* have thought to add chocolate to pasta sauce, but what a fantastic idea! Any opportunity to add chocolate to a meal is a good one in my book :)

  27. This sauce sounds wonderful! I’ve got to try this out :)

  28. Don’t you just love it when those moments of inspiration hit you? And I’m always looking to add a little more dark chocolate to my life…so can’t wait to try this one!

  29. What?!! That is one amazing dish my friend. DELICIOUS!

  30. This looks so good! I have never had a pasta sauce like this.

  31. I just made this for my family tonight (I doubled the recipe). It was delicious. I added two things, though. I started by adding a white onion, sauteing first and then adding the garlic. The other addition was some parsley. Other than that, I followed the recipe and it was delicious and a big hit. Thank you for the recipe!

  32. Yummy the best i can belive it its the olny way to make this for a life time