Healthy Marinara Sauce

I’m always on the hunt for ways to reduce my sodium and sugar intake. Prepared marinara and spaghetti sauces tend to be higher in sodium than I like, and many homemade sauce recipes call for added sugars, as sugar tempers the acidity of tomatoes. I have made a few minor tweaks to the traditional marinara sauce recipes by using avocado oil instead of olive oil, and by substituting coconut sugar for white sugar. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to your favorite red sauces, look no further!

Healthy Marinara Sauce

20160402_085532Ingredients (Recipe Yields 6 cups):

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24oz. container of strained tomatoes (I love this brand as it is organic and has no added salt or sugar. You can also use crushed tomatoes as an alternative)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (I use this brand when I buy prepared. It’s organic with no added salt.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Sharon Lawrence, RDN

Sharon’s Nutrition Advice:

I recommend choosing red or yellow onions, as the colored pigment quercetin provides protection from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.


To Prepare:

  • In a large sauce pan with a heavy bottom, sauté the onions in avocado oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn, and cook another 2-3 minutes. The garlic will continue to cook in the sauce.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, starting with only 1/2 tsp salt to onion/garlic mixture and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally to cook for about 60 minutes. (I don’t cover the pan, but use my splatter guard to keep my stove top clean and to allow the wine to evaporate.)

I personally like to let the flavors of the sauce develop overnight, but it can be used immediately for instant gratification! I usually triple this recipe for use in future dishes. It freezes well and comes in handy as a topping for spaghetti squash zucchini noodles or cauliflower pizza crust.



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