In my never-ending quest to provide healthy recipes that are seasonally-inspired, I just wanted to share my super simple low sodium marinara sauce recipe with you. With no added sugars and crushed Italian tomatoes, anti-oxidant rich garlic and nutrient packed onions, this is an easy recipe that you don’t have to be a professional chef to prepare. It also tastes delicious on pasta, raviolis, and it even makes a perfect low sodium pizza sauce!
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Growing up in an Italian household, my mom was an excellent cook and, as a kid, I thought that she made the best spaghetti sauce (red sauce) in the whole world, but sometimes even I felt that there was just a little too much salt in her sauce. I owe this recipe to her and I only changed it ever-so-slightly to lower the salt content and keep it a little on the healthier side.
Low Sodium Marinara Sauce Recipe
- No salt added crushed Italian tomatoes like these or whole, peeled Italian tomatoes (reduced salt)
- 1/2 Clove Fresh Garlic or Chopped Garlic
- 1/2 Fresh Onion
- 1 Whole Red Bell Pepper
- 4 tbsp. Low Sodium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Leaves Fresh Basil
- 4 Pinches Dried Oregano
- 1 Mint Leaf for garnish (optional) OR see my trick below
So, as you can see, there are NOT a lot of ingredients to buy. As with most healthy recipes, this low sodium marinara sauce uses fresh, but very few, ingredients. And this is one of my favorite ways to prepare a tasty and delicious healthy marinara.
These are things you probably already have in your cupboard, at home, or can easily find at your local grocery store or on Amazon.com
RECIPE EQUIPMENT NEEDED
- Small or Medium Sized Sauce Pot or Soft-Grip Sauce Pan
- Large Wooden Sauce Spoon for stirring
- Sharp Chef’s Knife like this one
- Cutting Board
COOKING STEPS FOR YOUR LOW SODIUM MARINARA SAUCE
Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice or dice your half-onion into small chunks or peel into small slices, chop or mince your garlic clove (unless you bought minced garlic), and core and de-seed your red bell pepper.
Add extra-virgin olive oil to your saucepan or pot and cook over a medium heat until the olive oil becomes warm.
Once the oil in the saucepan gets hot, add your diced onions and red pepper (diced) and cook the onions and diced red pepper for about 3-4 minutes, occasionally stirring them so they do not burn.
Next, add the minced garlic and let cook for about one more minute or until the garlic begins to brown.
Add the whole, peeled crushed tomatoes or low sodium tomato paste to the mixture. (Please note that the amount of sodium in your sauce WILL vary depending on which brand of whole, peeled or crushed tomatoes you use or how many fresh tomatoes you add since tomatoes all have a naturally occurring low level of sodium in them).
If you prefer to use crushed tomatoes, try these Tuttorosso No Salt Added Crushed Tomatoes with Basil. They are a healthy alternative and are already infused with the aromatic taste of basil.
If you decide to crush your own tomatoes for this recipe (like my Italian mom used to), I highly recommend using San Marzano tomatoes. This is a variety of plum tomato that is delicious and has that deep, rich, red color that you like to see in a marinara sauce when cooked.
One of my favorite ways to prepare this sauce is to add a single mint leaf. In the photo I took for this article, you can see that I used the mint leaf as a garnish, however adding the mint leaf to the sauce at the same time you add the basil and cooking it adds such an interesting flavor texture to this marinara that I think may surprise you.
I absolutely love adding mint, but I know that it’s not for everybody so consider it an optional ingredient – and a nice garnish for your food photo!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Can’t I Just Buy A Low Sodium Marinara Sauce?
I understand that many of you are busy and short on time, and may not have the 45 minutes to an hour to make this sauce yourself. There are a few decent, healthy Low Sodium Marinara Sauces from a Jar. Try Victoria low sodium marinara sauce for a pre-made marinara that is healthy, flavorful and low in sodium.
How Can I Make My Marinara Sauce Thicker?
The thickness of your sauce is controlled by how much water you add to your saucepan and how much (or little you stir in the water). If you desire a thicker sauce, simply add less water and/or stir less thoroughly.
Can I Use The Fresh Herbs From My Garden In This Recipe?
Absolutely! Fresh herbs taste great in this marinara sauce.
What Are Some Other Ways To Reduce The Amount Of Salt In This Low Sodium Marinara Sauce Recipe?
The best way to keep this marinara sauce as sodium-free as possible is by using No Salt Added Crushed Tomatoes like the one I recommend or by using fresh tomatoes and crushing them yourself.
How Do I Tell What The Final Sodium Content Is?
This is a tough one to answer because some of the ingredients contain a nominal amount of salt. For example smaller tomatoes may contain about 12 mg of sodium while larger tomatoes can contain 20mg of sodium.
What are the Benefits of a Low Sodium Sauce Like Yours?
One of the benefits of reducing or eliminating salt from your diet is that it can lower your blood pressure. Folks with high blood pressure are often put on sodium-restrictive diets. Make sure to talk to your physician if you are going to make major alterations to your diet.