Enjoy a homemade spaghetti sauce with lean ground beef, fresh herbs and only a fraction of the sodium content of traditional spaghetti sauce.
Approximate sodium content: 65mg per serving
This recipe for low sodium spaghetti sauce is one of my favorites and is very easy to make. Being able to enjoy this classic comfort food, without all the massive amounts of sodium is a true joy.
We like to keep recipes as simple as possible and for this recipe we’ll make use of the no-salt added versions of canned tomato sauce, tomato paste and diced tomatoes. No-salt added canned tomatoes in all it’s varieties have become standard on supermarket shelves in recent years. I’m so thankful for that because it makes low-sodium cooking much easier to have easy access to these ingredients.
We’ll use a combination of fresh and dried herbs: dried Italian Blend Herbs are common in all spice racks and should be a staple in your pantry too. We’ll get a nice boost of flavor from that. Then, we use fresh oregano and fresh basil to really bring a bright flavor to the sauce. These fresh herbs will not only cook in the sauce, but are excellent to garnish in top of the dish when serving.
For the meat, we use lean ground beef. I like to get it as lean as possible – usually 97% lean or there abouts. While we brown the meat we’ll be adding chopped onion and fresh cloves of garlic.
Finally, we get an excellent flavor boost with red wine vinegar.
Sodium Notes By Alex G., Registered Dietitian
A typical grocery store brand of jarred spaghetti sauce can contain as much as 480 mg of sodium per ½ cup serving! Cooking your sauce from scratch with this Low Sodium Spaghetti Sauce recipe is a great choice for a lower sodium lifestyle, and you won’t sacrifice any flavor since the recipe starts with fresh onion and garlic and finishes with fresh basil and oregano. When shopping for your ingredients, be extra careful to choose the no-salted added versions of the tomato products to keep your sauce at 65 mg of sodium per ½ cup. As another bonus, if you’re choosing to use meat in this recipe, choosing 97% lean ground beef will keep saturated fat low and further support your heart health.
Start by using a large pot or Dutch oven. A 5-6 quart size is ideal. You’ll need a lid too. Over medium/high heat, brown the ground beef. When it’s about halfway browned, add the onion garlic and continue to stir until the meat is browned. Since we’re using very lean meat, it’s up to you if you want to drain off the little bit of fat. I usually leave it in since it’s so minimal.
Over low heat we then add all of the canned items, the dried Italian herb blend, pepper, fresh oregano, fresh basil and red wine vinegar. Stir to get everything well incorporated.
Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
You’re now ready to serve your spaghetti sauce! Prepare the spaghetti (of other favorite pasta) according to package directions. When boiling the pasta, leave the salt out. We certainly don’t need any extra sodium.
The standard serving size for spaghetti sauce is ½ cup. It may sound like a small amount, but it actually goes a long way. The dish in the picture below uses exactly ½ cup of sauce and I think you’ll see that it’s plenty.
Garnish the sauce with fresh basil, fresh oregano, fresh Italian parsley or green onions for extra wholesome goodness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can this sauce be frozen?
Answer: Absolutely! Let sauce cool and place in airtight containers in freezer for up to 4 months.
Question: Can I substitute ground turkey for the ground beef?
Answer: You sure can. Ground turkey generally has a similar sodium content but be sure to check packaging for specific info.
Question: Can I leave the meat out altogether?
Answer: Yes. Simply leave out the meat and start by sautéing the onion over a low flame for about 5 minutes or until just becoming translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute. Then continue at step 2.
Low-Sodium Spaghetti Sauce
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings
This delicious meat sauce for spaghetti is loaded with the flavors you love and only a fraction of the sodium of traditional spaghetti sauces.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 28oz can of no-salt added diced tomatoes
- 1 14.5oz can no-salt added tomato sauce
- 1 6oz can of no-salt added tomato paste
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs fresh oregano
- 1 tbs fresh basil
- 1 tbs Italian seasoning (salt free)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Add ground beef to a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir and brown the meat until it’s about half done, then add the onions and garlic and continue to stir until meat is browned. (using lean ground beef there will be very little fat to drain. You can leave it in or drain if you wish)
- Add all remaining ingredients to the pot and stir over medium heat until everything is well incorporated.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over cooked pasta.
Want to go meatless? Simply leave out the meat and start by sautéing the onion over a low flame for about 5 minutes or until just becoming translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute. Then continue at step 2.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
This is a delicious recipe. I always try to cook using low sodium recipes. This sauce is very flavorful. The only change I made was to use a can of sodium free crushed tomatoes because that is what I had in my pantry. Made my sauce nice and thick. Makes a lot of sauce so I froze several dinner portions.
Made this sauce several times and my wife and I love it! Wether you’re on a low sodium diet or not, I would highly recommend this recipe! Delicious!!
My husband was diagnosed with heart failure last year, 2022, so we began our low-sodium journey. I saw this recipe the other day and made it tonight for supper. I’ve been cooking for 65 years, and this is one of the best pasta sauces I’ve ever made. Our hats are off to y’all for not only developing a delicious sauce but for, out of the goodness of your hearts, sharing it with the world. Thank you so much.
Thanks so much, Julie! I’m so glad you like the sauce! And wishing you and your husband the very best of heath in the new year. It sure can be scary hearing the diagnosis. I’m going on 12 years since hearing my diagnosis and i’m heading out to play golf shortly (if the rain stops). Thanks so much for the feedback!
Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe! My husband and I are seniors and have to watch our sodium intake (actually that’s good advice for anyone isn’t it ?). The ingredients were all available at our local supermarket & I made the sauce exactly as written. I froze the remaining sauce and have added this recipe to our favorites.
Thanks so much, Muriel! I’m glad you guys liked it! It truly is awesome that so many low-sodium ingredients are now readily available at supermarkets. Makes our cooking adventures SO much easier. 😉
Incredible sauce! I did substitute ground Italian sausage but followed the rest of the directions to the letter. This is my new go to sauce! Thank you for helping us live healthier!
I just started this low sodium way of life. I made this tonight and it was really well put together. Even my mother in law who puts salt on and in everything said it was good.
Thank you for sharing this one.
Anxious to try this. Husband is on low sodium diet and we love spaghetti
I have to be on a low sodium diet due to having CHF. I made this and even my husband and son loved it. Thanks
Love this recipe! Made it with ground turkey instead of beef and upped the seasoning a little for my elderly mother and it was a hit. My mother usually doesnt want to eat but she ate this up and asked for more.
Stumbled upon this recipe on pinterest. Made it for dinner. Very tasty and lifestyle change/diet friendly!
I made this tonight. Wonderful! I decided to cut the recipe in half, just to get a taste. This was easy and very tasty. Better than anything you’ll find in a (sodium-packed) jar at the grocery store. The sauce was a perfect consistency, not too thick nor too thin. And the spices and vinegar really add some zing to it. Thanks for the great recipe from someone who is watching her high blood pressure drop a lot by cutting back sodium. Too much in everything!
I’m glad you liked it Linda! The whole site is getting an overhaul soon. Check back soon for more recipes and big changes!
Hello…..Can I make this without the beef? I just wanted a low sodium sauce.
Can I make this without the beef? I just wanted a low sodium sauce.
Yes indeed you can.
I’m a CHF survivor and always looking for recipes. Will the follow us button connect me to your site? Thanks.
Tried this recipe tonight. I am taking this no/low sodium journey and your recipes are helping my family down this road.
I really enjoyed making and eating this dish tonight very easy and the sauce had plenty of flavor.
I am trying the meatloaf next and the pickles (I miss pickles so much).
Thanks for the feedback, Ricky! And a quick note… I’m redesigning the site soon and will be adding several more recipes. So stay tuned! And good luck on your journey with low-sodium eating. It will be easier than you think.
Can this be frozen?
Hi Bonnie. It sure can be.
Maita Joy Santiago
I made this tonight and it was really good! Watching my sodium intake because of my blood pressure so I am very happy to stumble upon this recipe and this site. I thought 1 can of tomato paste was a lot but I am so glad I followed the recipe. Everything mixed together made a harmonious dish. Hubby is very happy with dinner tonight. He is also watching his sodium intake.
Thank you so much for posting this recipe.
I’m so glad you both liked it! Tomato paste is indeed one of the surprise low sodium foods. Very happy you enjoyed the recipe!
Thanks…for the low sodium recipes……would like nutritional info..on a very strict diet..thanks again.
Hi Carolyn, as a CHF survivor, this was one of my “goto” low sodium recipes. I will be adding sodium content amounts to the site very soon. Please check back!