Low Sodium Marinara Sauce (Low Sodium Pasta Sauce)

This easy-to-make low-sodium marinara sauce only requires a few ingredients. Rest assured is low in sodium and thus can be used in a heart-healthy, and kidney-friendly diet. Try this heart healthy spaghetti sauce tonight!

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Why Make Low Sodium Marinara Sauce?

  • easy to make
  • simple
  • taste great
  • uses whole ingredients
  • is low in sodium

Why Choose Low Sodium?

Almost 1 in 4 Americans will be affected by high blood pressure or hypertension (1). High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to severe complications, including heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the 2nd leading cause of death in North America (2).

High blood pressure means your heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body. Over time, your heart overworks itself, leading to damaged and clogged arteries, heart attacks, or even stroke.

Eating a low sodium diet can help manage high blood pressure.

The majority of our sodium intake comes from processed foods, like pasta sauce.  Do yourself a favor, and cut the salt but make this no salt pasta sauce instead. 

Making your own low sodium pasta sauce without extra salt can be easy by adding flavor with fresh ingredients, Italian tomatoes, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, fresh herbs, tomato paste, fresh onions, fresh tomatoes, red wine vinegar or even white wine. This recipe uses simple ingredients and has a great taste without much sodium.

Low sodium marinara sauce in a mason jar surrounded by cherry tomatoes beside a red and white cloth on a wood cutting board.

Image of Veronica Rouse with Free 7 day heart healthy meal plan freebie.

Is There A Low Sodium Marinara Sauce?

The amount of sodium in your sauce will vary depending on the type of tomatoes you purchase. Here is a low down on what to look for. 

Buying jarred spaghetti sauces can be very high in sodium.  Some sauces are around 500 mg of sodium for a 1/2 cup serving! For a 2000 mg sodium diet, that’s 25% of your daily intake, and it’s likely you would consume more than the 1/2 cup serving.  

Looking for “low sodium” spaghetti sauce is helpful, as it only has about 120 mg of sodium per 1/2 cup serving which is only 6% of your daily intake if you are on a 2000 mg sodium diet.

That being said, if you can find it, I encourage you to choose “No Salt Added” canned products, because this means no salt is added during processing.  Thus, the only sodium in the product is the naturally occurring sodium from the tomatoes. 

Finally, if you want to eliminate the detective work, make this homemade low sodium spaghetti sauce recipe, that fits a low sodium diet plan.! This low salt spaghetti sauce only has 1% sodium intake based on a 2000 mg sodium diet.    

That means that this no salt spaghetti sauce recipe has 95% less sodium than regular store-bought marinara sauce.

 Regular Jarred MarinaraLow Sodium MarinaraThis Low Sodium Marinara Recipe
 Serving1/2 cup1/2 cup3/4 cup
Sodium 500 mg120 mg25 mg
%Daily Value Of Sodium (based on 2000mg per day intake)25%6%1%
* Approximate amounts based on grocery store inventory January 2023

What Are Low Sodium Pasta Sauce Brands?

If you can’t make your own low-sodium marina sauce, try these store-bought pasta sauces suggestions that have around 5% of your daily value of sodium per serving. The following are the best low sodium pasta sauce brands on Amazon, which don’t have much salt added.

Does Spaghetti Sauce Have A Lot Of Sodium?

Similar to marinara sauce, jarred spaghetti sauce has a similar amount of sodium in store-bought containers. They typically have approximately 500 mg per 1/2 cup serving.

What Is The Difference Between Marinara Sauce And Spaghetti Sauce?

The difference between marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce is marinara sauce doesn’t have meat.  It is just sauce.

That being said, this all-natural low sodium marinara sauce can also be used as a low sodium spaghetti sauce. Just add extra lean ground beef. Remember to choose “extra lean” to keep the saturated fat low, to help manage your cholesterol levels.

If you are looking for a vegetarian option, I recommend adding a can of “no salt added” lentils instead of ground beef, or cut your ground beef in 1/2, and add a can of lentils for a happy medium. This way you are getting some plant protein that is recommended in the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and Portfolio dietary patterns.

The marinara sauce does not contain meat, thus providing a thinner texture than the marinara sauce.

Ingredients

The basis of any good sauce, especially a heart healthy spaghetti sauce, is the raw ingredients it’s important to start with great-tasting ingredients. There are not a lot of ingredients to buy, so be sure your dried herbs are as fresh as they can be for an optimal flavor boost.

  • no salt added tomatoes – fresh tomatoes work well here, but if they aren’t in season, you can choose canned tomatoes. I recommend San Marzano No Salt Added Whole Peeled Tomatoes or No Salt Added Diced tomatoes.  Nutrition content of canned vs fresh does not differ.
  • olive oil – or choose a healthy olive oil substitute
  • nutritional yeast -has a nutty cheesy flavor with added nutrients
  • onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper and fresh basil – added for flavor

San Marzano No Salt Added Tomatoes

As suggested above, I really recommend purchasing San Marzano No Salt Added Whole Peeled Tomatoes.  These are the best-tasting tomatoes from Southern Italy in the San Marzano Valley.  I find them to have a sweeter, less acidic flavor and are perfect for this low sodium marinara recipe.

If you can’t find these tomatoes, you can always add 1 teaspoon of white sugar or 1/2 cup of soy milk to cut the acidity of just using jarred tomatoes.

How To Make

  1. It is so very important to sauté your garlic in olive oil to bring out the aromas. This is a trick from the Mediterranean style eating pattern, that adds so much flavor, without the salt.
  2. Feel free to add more fresh garlic here if you like the flavor.  It’s an important food that can lower blood pressure and unclog arteries.
  3. At the same time, you will want to blend the tomatoes and onion.  This is important to achieve an even consistency. Feel free to leave it chunky if you so desire.  I like it smooth because the flavor is evenly distributed and my noodles are all coated.
  4. Once it’s blended and the garlic is cooked, mix them together in the saucepan.
  5. Now it’s time to add flavor with the herbs and spices.
  6. Give it a good stir and voila, you are done!
  7. Simmer for at least 5 minutes, but I find the longer the sauce simmers, the thicker and more flavorful it becomes.

My favorite part of making it at home is the smell!

Picture by Marissa Frodsham, Nutrition Student

Storage

This low sodium pasta sauce recipe freezes well. In fact, I often double this recipe so I have leftovers that I can throw into the freezer to be taken out on a rainy day. 

Once cooled, I usually put the salt free spaghetti sauce in a plastic ziplock bag so it can lay flat in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Video Tutorial

Watch how easy it is to make this heart healthy pasta sauce.

Video by Marissa Frodsham, Nutrition Student.

How To Use It

Once you are done making the recipe, it’s time to eat it! Try serving low sodium marinara sauce recipe on:

  • pasta
  • ravioli
  • lasagna
  • spaghetti sauce
  • meatballs
  • dipping sauce
  • as a base for tomato soup
  • ratatouille
  • minestrone
  • shakshuka
  • pizza
  • fish parmigiana
  • served over grilled vegetables

Other Low Sodium Recipes

… or try these:  low sodium mayonnaise, low sodium breakfast ideas, low sodium lunch ideas, low sodium pasta recipes,low sodium bagels, low sodium tortillas, low sodium pancakes, low sodium oatmeal recipes, low sodium salsa, low sodium hummus, tofu bolognese, beet mac and cheese… to name a few.

Final Thoughts

You don’t need salt to add flavor. Make your dish taste great with this homemade low-sodium spaghetti sauce recipe.

Enjoy this traditional comfort meal, without worrying about how it will affect your health.  Eating low sodium can be tasty, and convenient too!

Recipe by Marissa Frodsham, Nutrition Student. Article was written by Veronica Rouse, MAN, RD, CDE.

Low sodium marinara sauce in a mason jar surrounded by cherry tomatoes beside a red and white cloth on a wood cutting board.

Low Sodium Marinara Sauce

Enjoy this traditional comfort meal of low sodium marinara sauce, without worrying about how it will affect your health.  Eating low sodium can be tasty, and convenient too!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 178 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Saute Pan
  • 1 Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 796 mL San Marzano tomatoes No salt added
  • ½ medium yellow onion sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh basil chopped

Instructions
 

  • Add the sliced yellow onion and can of tomatoes to a blender, and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium, and add minced garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute.
  • Add the blended tomato mixture to your saucepan and stir. Add nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, oregano and pepper, and chopped basil. Stir to combine and cover on low heat for at least 2-5 minutes. The longer it simmers the better.
  • Add to pasta, or use as a dipping sauce!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 25mgPotassium: 514mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 615IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 3mg
Keyword low sodium, Marinara sauce
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