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3 Simple Healthy Pasta Sauces You Can Make At Home

3 Simple Healthy Pasta Sauces You Can Make At Home
Pasta Sauce

Pasta is a staple in my diet because it’s super quick to prepare for lunch and dinner, and it's so versatile! 

While there is controversy in the fitness industry around whether we should eat carbohydrate-based meals like pasta dishes, I firmly believe that carbs are not evil and that eating a balanced diet is the key to a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. In fact, eating whole grains like wholemeal pasta can even help you to burn fat faster compared to processed foods. 

Why make your own healthy pasta sauces?

Buying pre-made pasta sauce can unintentionally add sugar, salt, and preservatives to your meal. However, when you make your pasta sauce at home, not only can it be more flavoursome, you also know exactly what has gone into it. 

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience either, as these sauces can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, allowing you to add them to different meals throughout the week.

Here are three of my staple healthy pasta sauces. I’ve included a creamy alfredo recipe so you have a more nutritious option to satisfy your craving for a creamy sauce. 

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade Tomato Sauce 

A tomato-based pasta sauce goes well with almost any style of pasta, from spaghetti to rigatoni or ravioli. If you’ve made a batch to use throughout the week, try topping a baked sweet potato with this tomato sauce, adding a sprinkle of cheese and a side of steamed greens. 

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: makes ~ 2 cups (470mL)
Dietary preferences: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free

Pasta Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300g canned diced tomatoes
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10g (¼ cup) chopped fresh basil
  • 10g (¼ cup) chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Method:

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and oregano and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring frequently.

2. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Add the diced tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally. 

4. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Remove from the heat and stir through the fresh basil and parsley and adjust the seasoning if needed.

5. Transfer the sauce, in batches, to a high-powered blender (or use a stick blender) and blend until the desired consistency is reached. For a chunkier sauce, puree half of the sauce mixture and mix it back through the sauce. For a smooth sauce, puree it all. Enjoy!

When completely cool, any extra sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or place in the freezer for up to six months.

Basil Walnut Pesto

Basil & Walnut Pesto 

I love pesto with penne or fusilli. It’s also great with rotini (better known as spirals!). Pesto can also be used as a dip or spread on crackers as a snack.   

Total time: 5 mins
Serves: makes ~ ¾ cup (175mL)
Dietary preferences: Vegetarian, Gluten-free

Healthy Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch basil, washed and leaves picked
  • 30g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ medium lemon, juiced
  • 50g (½ cup) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 100ml olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Place the basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and parmesan cheese in a food processor or a high-powered blender and process until coarsely chopped.

2. With the food processor still running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until fully combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times.

3. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Enjoy!

Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Creamy Alfredo Sauce  

Alfredo pasta sauce pairs well with fettuccine. I like to prepare a garden salad to accompany this sauce to add freshness and an extra source of nutrients and fibre. 

Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 12 mins
Serves: makes ~ ¾ cup (175mL)
Dietary preferences: Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Nut-free

Pasta Sauce Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp plain wholemeal flour
  • 125ml (½ cup) salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 60ml (¼ cup) reduced fat milk
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 30g (¼ cup) parmesan cheese, grated
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently.

2. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until smooth. Gradually whisk in the stock, milk and nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium and gently bring to the boil, stirring constantly. 

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture thickens, gently stirring constantly. Add the parmesan cheese and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Enjoy!

Alfredo sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days. Reheat it slowly when needed.

Try these pasta sauces with lunch or dinner!

I recommend using wholemeal pasta with these sauces to get the health benefits of whole grains. You can also make your own pasta, like this sweet potato gnocchi, if you have more time. 

If you’re looking for more delicious and healthy pasta dishes, try this broccoli and cauliflower pasta bake, or make this Mediterranean pasta salad with any leftover pasta. 

I hope you enjoy these pasta sauces! Let me know how you’ve used them in the comments below.

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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