Wine has become an essential part of the culinary industry because multiple recipes can be ramped up with its addition to the mix. That being said, pasta and spaghetti recipes are literally incomplete without red wine.
When you add wine to these dishes, it increases the richness of the flavor and makes the dish stand out. Wine plays a better role in making a dish flavorful than any other liquid ingredients such as broth or water.
Since spaghetti and pasta dishes do not have too many ingredients, to begin with, it is important to add some wine and let it reduce entirely to add that kick to the whole thing.
Even the smallest amount of wine has the ability to transform a basic Italian dish into a spectacular one. So, what do you do if there is no red wine available? You don’t need to worry because we have some substitutes for red wine in spaghetti sauce!
Substitutes For Red Wine In Spaghetti Sauce
This wine is made from dark-colored grapes. Contrary to usual belief, red wine is available in various colors, such as violet, brick red, and brown. The young red wine has an intense violet color, while the mature wine has a brick red hue.
Also, the older red wines are brown. All in all, red wine is a delicacy, but we have substitutes that can deliver the red color and delicate flavors!
1. Pomegranate Juice
This might be a non-alcoholic substitute, but it has the rich color and fruity flavor of red wine. The pomegranate has a boosted flavor which is acidic in nature.
It can easily replace red wine in cooking because of its similar acidity, flavor, and aroma. However, the acidity level might be less than red wine, so you can add a spoon of vinegar to lower its pH value to suit your requirements.
In addition to spaghetti sauce, it works with other recipes as well, such as salads, dressings, and veggies. The best thing about pomegranate juice is the health benefits associated with it.
It has a high antioxidant content which helps with blood pressure issues. This option is also great for those who have quit alcohol consumption.
2. Cranberry Juice
If you don’t have the pomegranate juice, you can also add cranberry juice to spaghetti sauce. It has a rich flavor with similar color and acidic nature.
It can easily add intense color to the sauce. For replacement, you can opt for a 1:1 ratio. However, we suggest opting for the unsweetened cranberry juice, so the sauce doesn’t add a sweet flavor to the recipe.
On the contrary, if you cannot find unsweetened cranberry juice, just add one or two tablespoons of vinegar for optimizing the flavor. Also, it’s a healthy substitute.
Cranberry juice is great for kidney health and this is a great way to utilize it in your food.
3. Ginger Ale
This is a carbonated soft drink that has a ginger flavor. It is flavored with cane sugar, lime, and lemon. It can replace red wine in terms of flavor and aroma.
However, it is white, which means the recipe will miss the intense color of red wine. This can be an issue for some people and some might just make do with the great taste.
For substituting red wine for ginger ale, you can use the 1:1 ratio. Also, the acidic nature is just perfect, but it will add the ginger flavor to the sauce, so if your recipe had some ginger, to begin with, you can most probably skip it entirely if you plan on adding ginger ale.
4. Red Grape Juice
There can be no better substitute for red wine than red grape juice. Red grape juice has a rich and robust flavor, but it’s not alcoholic.
The main thing about alcohol is that when you reduce it completely, it brings out all the original flavor of the dish and masks any unpleasantness.
It has an identical color and flavor, which makes it suitable for a 1:1 ratio. Since it’s a juice, it has a much higher sweetness level than is required in most savory recipes, so you will need to add vinegar.
The vinegar will not only cut the sweetness but will add tartness and increase the level of acidity.
When it comes down to the spaghetti sauce, the stock can work as a great base. The users can opt for vegetable stock, chicken stock, or beef stock, depending on the recipe.
Stock is made by simmering the vegetables, chicken, or beef, along with the herbs and seasonings. The stocks are rich in flavor but will not have an acidic nature. In that case, you just have to add vinegar.
This is not an ideal substitute like many of the options mentioned above are. But if you are in a time crunch and there is no other alternative available at hand then you can opt for this one.
6. Apple Juice
It’s obvious that apple juice is a sweet beverage, but it’s a suitable substitute for red wine if you want to replicate the sweet flavor. Usually, it’s used for replacing white wine, but it can replace red wine if you are fine with a lack of color.
However, this substitute will work only if you’ve to add a smaller quantity of wine to the sauce. Also, add vinegar to improve the acidic nature.
For recipes that require a larger amount of red wine or a highly acidic base, then apple juice will not work as a good replacement for red wine.
7. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is one of the widely used ingredients and boasts a sour flavor. It can easily improve the flavor and will add tanginess. The best thing about substituting red wine with lemon juice is that it’s acidic.
However, you cannot use the 1:1 ratio because lemon juice can be extremely tarty in nature. So, we suggest that you dilute the lemon juice with water (and add red food color for replicating the color of red wine).
This can work for your recipe, depending on how much of an authentic Italian flavor you are looking for.
Lemon juice can be a little tricky to work with instead of red wine so if you are relatively new to cooking then you should stick to alternatives like pomegranate, grape, or cranberry juice.