The “Clean” Tomato Sauce You’ll Make Again and Again

A cardiologist shows the healthy way to enjoy pasta.

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Ready to ditch your canned tomato sauce? Homemade marinara is one of the easiest recipes to make, so it’s perfect if you’re looking ways to switch to a “cleaner,” less processed diet.

Once you start making your own tomato sauce, you’ll have a hard time going back to storebought jars.  This pasta sauce will spoil you with fresh tomato flavor and bold, zesty herbs. Preparing it yourself will also give you total control over the salt content, and sneaky sodium levels are a primary offender in processed foods. And cutting out processed foods to lower the sodium content of your diet can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure and kidney disease.

To make this healthy marinara the best pasta sauce, cardiologist and chef Mike Fenster, MD adds a few special ingredients, including the careful choice of tomatoes.  Heirloom tomatoes are grown with the focus on quality over quantity. In particular, San Marzano tomatoes come from the Naples region and provide an Italian flavor that is difficult to replicate.

Tomatoes can be quite acidic, so most canned tomato sauces use salt and sugar to tame that flavor. Instead, Dr. Mike adds a little red wine to this sauce. This one ingredient tames the acidity of the tomatoes, adds an interesting depth of flavor, and reduces the salt content. (Check out this video for more tips for cutting salt from your diet.)

This homemade tomato sauce is mega versatile, so feel free to whip up this recipe anytime you have a craving for lasagna, baked ziti, spaghetti, or even DIY pizza.

  • 1 cup onions
  • 2 ounces red wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 dash of salt (1/16th teaspoon)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup diced Heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf

1. In a large pot, add the roughly chopped onions, chopped garlic, olive oil and red wine. Then allow the red wine to cook until it has almost completely evaporated. And seasoning. 2. Add the chicken broth. Then add the diced Heirloom tomatoes and the San Marzano tomatoes, and bring to a boil. 3. Once the pot has begun to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook. Add the tied bundle of herbs to the simmering pot. 4. Let simmer until just 1/3 of the liquid remains, and remove the bundle of herbs. Using an immersion blender, puree the remaining ingredients until it is consistently smooth throughout.

Nutrition Information

Recipe Serves: 4
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
Calories 984%
Fat 4gr6%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 72mg3%
Carbohydrates 12gr9%
Fiber 2gr8%
Sugar 6gr12%
Protein 3gr5%

*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dietary Needs

Dairy Free
Dairy Free
Gluten Free
Gluten Free
Lower Carbohydrate
Lower Cholesterol
Lower Sodium
Lower Sodium
Lower Sugar
Lower Sugar