Thursday, January 14, 2016

Spaghetti Sauce with or without Meatballs #lowsodium #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Finding a decent lower sodium red pasta sauce is harder than you might think. In the past, I've used Classico red pepper sauce when a shortcut was needed for an Italian dish. But the sodium count in that sauce is higher than I should be eating. I tried a few low or no salt sauces and found them lacking in taste. Honestly? They were terrible. So what's a girl to do? Make her own, in a big batch, in order to freeze some for the future. And keep in mind, you can adjust ingredients as you prefer.

Ingredients for the sauce

Three large cans diced tomatoes in juice, no salt added
One large can crushed tomatoes in sauce
Two large onions
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
Five carrots
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon or more hot red pepper flakes
Two bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar, more to taste
1/2 cup red wine
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
One can tomato paste

Grind the carrots in your food processor, followed by the onions and garlic. Sauté all this in a large pot with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil. When the vegetables are soft, add the tomato products, plus oregano hot pepper flakes, bay leaves, and red wine. 

Once that mixture has simmered for 15 minutes, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar depending on your taste, and the chopped parsley and basil.

Simmer the sauce for 1 to 2 hours. I used some of it for spaghetti and meatballs, and saved the rest for a giant pan of stuffed shells.

Here's my recipe for low-sodium meatballs:
1 1/4 pound organic ground beef
Three squares of low sodium cornbread (I had some in my freezer, made using my regular cornbread recipe, only replacing no sodium baking powder for the regular baking powder, and cutting the salt)
One egg
1 teaspoon lower sodium Worcestershire sauce (I like the Annie's organic brand, 75 mg per teaspoon)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
One large garlic clove, crushed

Crumble the cornbread. Mix all the ingredients together, taking care to distribute everything so you don't leave little packets of garlic or spices. In a 350 oven, bake the meatballs until browned, about half an hour. I did mine on a cookie tray lined with parchment, so the cleanup was very easy. Turn the meatballs halfway through so both sides brown.

Mix the cooked meatballs with the sauce and serve with a little fresh grated Parmesan. (I'm sorry to say that we ate this dinner before I remembered to take a photo:). 

All the tomato products added up to about 1500 mg of sodium, and there are probably 15 servings in the pot. Compare that to the sauce I formerly used, Classico spicy red pepper, 310 mg for half a cup. 1500 for the jar, which serves five.

KILLER TAKEOUT is coming in April, but available for pre-order today!

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  1. Oh my! This looks so yummy! Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Thanks. I tried to make sauce only once. It was forgettable.

    1. Sue, if you're shooting for low sodium, the secret I think is lots of flavor from other things!

  3. Thanks, I've been wanting to try a recipe big enough that I could freeze some too.

  4. Hope you enjoy it! I have another recipe for spaghetti Bolognese on this site, that isn't low sodium, but it's delicious and makes a huge pot...

    1. Is this the Bolognese from one of your books?

  5. I can't wait to try this! I have to watch sodium, too, and most jar sauces are bleh. I think the carrots might be the magic ingredient here.

  6. Well played here. Do some therapeutic cooking, make a big batch, eat some right then and freeze the rest.

    Ad no one will be the wiser on the sodium content. I can't imagine anyone saying, "I don't know. It seems to be missing something. I'll just add a ton of salt. That should fix it."
    I want to go ballistic when people begin salting their food before they've even tasted it!

  7. This looks fab! I already use the Muir Glen marinara sauce, but I'm starting to be more conscious about daily sodium intake and it's nice to have this recipe. Once you start reading the labels it's just so darn frightening to realize what we're putting in our bodies. Also, I must admit that I have never, ever thought about putting cornbread in meatballs - I like this, and will definitely try this for a different taste. Sunday night is always spaghetti night in our house. :-)

  8. I can't wait to try it. Thanks.

  9. This looks terrific, Roberta/Lucy! Delicious and good for you, a double header.

    Thank you. We use Classico in a pinch too, but we like the 'from scratch' versions better.



  10. I am truly looking forward to reading Killer Takeout as soon as it comes out. Sounds great. Thank you for the recipe today too. Congratulations on this next book too.
    Cynthia Blain

  11. When my dad was alive my mom got really good at making things very low sodium that tasted very good. I usually didn't miss the sodium when I ate with them.

  12. By the way, Lucy/Roberta...I was thinking about you needing to cut out wine (as well as all the other things you mentioned). Way back when Graham Kerr, aka The Galloping Gourmet, gave up alcohol for health reasons. He found he could cook dishes using grape juice. Red juice with some tea added for red wine and white juice for white. I can't quite remember, but the white juice may have had a splash of vinegar added to cut the sweetness.

  13. I find I can't eat commercial pasta sauces as they are incredibly salty aand I am not on a reduced sodium diet. I tend to make my own. What is the preservative in canned tomatoes if there is no sodium added?