Picture this. You’re in the supermarket, searching desperately for a canned pasta sauce for your healthy spiralized veggie noodles to hurry home and make a quick dinner. These are your options:
Pasta Sauce A: Few ingredients, all recognizable whole foods or seasonings.
Pasta Sauce B: Many ingredients, many are unrecognizable and end in “phate” or “xyl”. Say what?!
Pasta Sauce C: Few ingredients, all recognizable whole foods or seasonings, organic, no refined sugar or dairy.
Pasta Sauce D: Without reading the ingredients, the packaging says “Fat Free” and “Sugar Free.” There may be a picture of a creepy used-car-salesman on the front, beckoning you.
Which do you choose?
Okay, Pasta Sauce D is obviously a joke. But really, never fall into the “fat free” and “sugar free” trap. Usually, if they’re advertising that on their can, they’re trying to distract you from reading the ingredients. It will most likely include artificial sweeteners (most are carcinogenics!) and other chemicals…. ie, Pasta Sauce B.
Pasta C is ideal. However, many grocery stores don’t carry such products and we’re forced to consider other options, especially when pinched for time.
Enter Pasta Sauce A. It may have sugar, it may have butter, but what it doesn’t have are harmful chemicals! Eating healthy is about eating clean (meaning eating whole foods, not those that are processed). Even though sugar and butter are processed, at least they aren’t replaced with harmful chemicals, like a similar “sugar free” product would contain.
For an example of Pasta Sauce A, consider Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Sauce. It’s award-winning and delicious! Look at the ingredients:
It passes the test! Citric acid is a natural substance found in fruits, which adds a tanginess to food and helps preserve flavors (especially when canned!)
While Dave’s Gourmet has sugar and butter, they are both not listed as the first couple of ingredients (a big no no when reading ingredient labels) and all of the ingredients are real vegetables or seasonings. No “phates” or “xyls.” No Googling needed.
This canned sauce was a tad sweet, so I added a splash of vegetable broth to lighten it up.
Now, for the kicker: I heated it up in a saucepan (not the microwave!) and poured it over boiled carrot noodles. Yes, boiled. Boiled carrot noodles taste so similarly to whole wheat pasta, I was floored. I can’t believe how flavorful and non-bitter carrot noodles taste once boiled. The texture is that of al dente pasta and the noodles puff up a bit when they absorb water.
If they don’t sell Dave’s Gourmet pasta sauce at your supermarket, just use my recipe for homemade butternut squash sauce or follow the guidelines in the beginning of this post when you’re at the supermarket next time.