The Best And The Worst Pasta Sauce

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Best and Worst Pasta Sauce

Have you ever tried to go down the aisle in your supermarket and there is some strange woman with her cart in the center blocking everything?

Yes, that was me for about 30 minutes as I waded through the liquid jungle of pasta sauce. Wow. There are so many choices!! A few things about my picks:

  1. I compared jars (not cans and not the fresher products in the coolers).
  2. I tried to pick ones that are available nationwide.
  3. I aimed for a low price point ($2-$3.50 per jar).

Now for the best sauce that I could find in my very scientific search:

Why did I like this? I hate sugar in pasta sauce. It makes it taste like ketchup. When you don’t add sugar, it tastes better AND it makes it lower in calories. This one was lower in fat as well and the amount of sodium was a good 50-100 mg per serving less than many of the other brands.

For ½ cup:

60 calories, 1 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber, 320 mg sodium, 1 Points+

INGREDIENTS: TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), DICED TOMATOES IN PUREE, ONIONS, SALT, OLIVE OIL, GARLIC POWDER, ONION POWDER, SPICES, BASIL, NATURAL FLAVOR.

I wish they used actual garlic instead of garlic powder, but what can you do? This tasted good to me and I am glad that I found it (because I will use it).

Now for the worst sauce. My criteria was too many calories, grams of saturated fat, and milligrams of sodium. We could all use less of these, no?

Paul, I know you are dead, but what is going on? Your philanthropic food company just made Snack Girl’s worst list. Check this out:

The serving size here is ¼ cup. Get out your ¼ cup measure and ask yourself if this is how much alfredo sauce you would eat. I HATE comparing stuff like this because I have to do math in my head.

Here are the nutrition facts for ½ cup:

180 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugar, 2 g protein, 0 g fiber, 820 mg sodium, 5 Points+

Obviously, comparing a tomato based sauce to cream based sauce wasn’t really fair (sorry, Paul). Newman’s Own was the worst of the alfredo sauces.

Perhaps, I will stand there again and find the worst tomato sauce (too many grams of sugar, fat, and sodium). I definitely will not wear heels because it will take a while.

What is your favorite pasta sauce?


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First 20 Comments: [ see all 55 ]

Your too funny! Poor Paul!! I didn't know they made a Light Ragu pasta sauce. I'll have to look for it at the store.

on August 29, 2013

Wow! I haven't bought sauce in a while, we make our own tomato sauce. But I do buy alfredo. I'm thinking I should add that to my list of things to try to make from scratch.

on August 29, 2013

I actually am a big fan of Francesco Rinaldi No Salt Added Traditional sauce. It's got 70 calories for a serving plus a gram or two more of carbs and fat -- but only 40 mg of sodium. I'd say its another healthy choice -- comparable to your Ragu choice, but a better option for those watching their sodium

on August 29, 2013

Really in all fairness you are comparing tomatoes to cheese.

on August 29, 2013

I've recently discovered Muir Glen pasta sauces, and while I do make my own I really like these. They taste great. How healthy they are? Well, for the one I have right now, Garlic Roasted Garlic, the ingredients are pretty good and the numbers look good too. Try them, at least it is organic.

on August 29, 2013

Making your own sauce is the way to go. It tastes way better and freezes well. We make big batches of it and store it in wide mouth mason jars or bags in the freezer. I admit though if I'm in a pinch on a week night and don't have any I reach for store bought, but what a difference in taste!

on August 29, 2013

I have used the Ragu light for years and we love it.

on August 29, 2013

You forgot a rather important criterion: taste. Ragu tastes like sh__.

on August 29, 2013

I have used the Ragu No Sugar Tomato and Basil since it came to our shelves a few years back. I LOVE it. Great choice.

on August 29, 2013

First, I like you reviews and recipes. In regard to pastas sauces. I found that no matter what sauce brand I bought, I would get them home and doctor them up with my own spices and veggies so now I just buy canned tomatoes and -make it from scratch. Just healthier I think, and no appreciable time difference to prepare

on August 29, 2013

First I need to say I love getting your emails.

Now for sauce. I make my own. I start with 28 oz of tomato puree and go from there. It's 1 pointsplus for 1/2 cup and tastes just like my grandfathers.

on August 29, 2013

I agree that Ragu isn't the best tasting sauce. We use Prego Marinara (NOT PREGO TRADITIONAL which is more widely available). Ingredients: Tomato Puree, Diced tomatoes in tomato juice, canola oil, salt, dehydrated onions, dehydrated garlic, spice, citric acid. Nutrition: Calories 80, Fat 3g, Sodium 480mg, Fiber 3g, Sugars 7g, Protein 2g. It tastes delicious, the kids love it and it is reasonably healthy. I urge everyone to give it a try.

on August 29, 2013

Another vote for Ragu Light. When I buy sauce it's my go to brand.

on August 29, 2013

I don't really like Ragu so much because the consistancy is too thin,like watered down tomato juice with Italian season. I like thicker or chunkier kinds like Prego. If I make my own I just use low sodium or no salt added canned diced tomatoes in juice,tomato paste,fresh basil,roasted garlic,roasted red pepper in the jars(not packed in oil,red pepper flake& Italian seasoning and puree it slighly. I then cut up some onions finely & simmer over low heat. It's not hard to come up with your own sauce

on August 29, 2013

When I don't make my own I use Francesco Rinaldi/Tomato and Basil. I like it's fresh tomato taste.

on August 29, 2013

Bwahahahaha Pamela, I thought the same thing to myself. No matter what the numbers on the label say, I will have to pass.

on August 29, 2013

We used to favor Francisco Rinaldi - no salt added, but since we don't eat cheese anymore (and it contains Romano), we've taken to making our own sauce.

on August 29, 2013

My favorite is the Emeril line- my #1 is his tomato and basil! So delicious!

on August 29, 2013

Often, natural flavor is a cover name for MSG.

on August 29, 2013

Nice review of sauces. I usually keep a jar of Ragu Light as an emergency meal ingredient (sudden arrival of guests at meal time.) For planned meals, I make my own. I grow tomatoes and make large batches, and freeze meal-sized quantities in Ziploc bags. Almost no sodium, and very little fat (only the amount used to saute the onions and garlic)

on August 29, 2013

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