Everyone seems to have their favorite tomato sauce that they use on pasta, meats, or even for pizza sauce. We had one that served those purposes and was thick and tangy. One trick we used that made our marinara delicious was to add sugar to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes. This maintained the deep red color, the thick texture, and offered less of an after taste. Now when we see restaurant reviews where people rave about the sweet sauce on the Italian dishes, we wonder how much sugar is actually added to those recipes. Our original recipe also called for a blend of spices, usually dried and a tablespoon of everything – basil, oregano, parsley, and sometimes just a blend everyone uses, called “Italian seasoning.”
Low Carb Trick
Our new low-carb lifestyle dictates the elimination of the sugar trick. In its place and to serve the same purpose, we began adding a quarter-cup of heavy cream to our sauce. It changes the vibrant red color of our normal sauce to a slightly pink color – almost like a “vodka sauce” without the alcohol. It does cut the acid taste of the tomato and it keeps the carbs down. The tomato base does add some carbs to the dish, but generally we go lightly on the sauce in our recipes.
Joanie’s sisters from Canada visit this time of year to avoid their brutal winters and enjoy our southwestern sunshine, and of course, to shop. Today, Joanie wanted a hearty lunch for them after a day of bargain hunting, so we decided on our tasty “meatloaf” – low carb, of course! We have an old favorite recipe from our recipe box for that also, but we decided on something a little different. This version will add a “tomato basil marinara sauce” both in the mix and as a topping.
Let’s start with the sauce . . .
We find that the blend of the tomato puree with the diced tomatoes will make the sauce a little chunky and thick. Blending in one-quarter cup of heavy cream to cut the acidity also adds to the thickness. If you prefer a thinner sauce then use more plain sauce and less puree. We also find that most canned tomato product today is of a very high quality in richness and flavor. Because of that, there is no need to simmer this sauce for hours; the flavors will blend together quickly. Sometimes we actually use fresh tomatoes – we boil them for a few minutes until the skin loosens and they become soft to the touch, then we use a food processor to create our own puree. Try that if you like. It will produce a thinner sauce.
The key ingredient in this Tasty Low Carb sauce is the basil. We had a couple of fresh basil plants so we decided to make that taste the center piece of our marinara! The end result is almost like a tomato basil soup, which is so popular – but our sauce is thicker, by design. We know you are going to love this sauce – try it and let us know what you think of our Tomato Basil Marinara.
- Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat, then add olive oil and onions and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stir occasionally to avoid burning.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes and sauce, then the puree, and the chopped basil.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes - taste to make sure basil flavor is as you desire.
- Add sea salt and pepper to taste.