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Heart healthy roasted tomato sauce recipe

I love the smell of a big pot of pasta sauce cooking away for hours on the stovetop. But, sometimes I want to have dinner ready in an hour. The recipe below uses canned whole tomatoes, yet still yields a flavorful sauce without the added salt, sugar, or preservatives you get from many canned sauces. I’ve already discussed roasting vegetables to bring out their natural sweetness. Roasting also works beautifully with the garlic, onions, and tomatoes in this dish.

Adapted from a recipe I found on


  • 1 28-ounce can of whole plum tomatoes, with sauce (low sodium or no salt added, if possible)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ⅛–½ tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tsp. salt-free Italian seasoning (or your favorite blend of dried or fresh herbs)
  • ¼-1 cup water
  • 1 ounce reduced fat, creamy goat cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Spread olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Pour in canned tomatoes (with sauce) and slice tomatoes in half, cut side facing up.
  3. Top tomatoes with onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and seasoning. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Roast uncovered for about 1 hour, until edges of tomatoes begin to brown.
  5. Carefully transfer hot tomatoes and sauce to a large pot. Blend with an immersion mixer or transfer to a blender or food processor and puree in small batches (be careful with the hot liquid). Add water until desired consistency is reached (I only used about ¼ cup, since I like my sauce a thicker).
  6. Return to pot and heat over low flame until ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper as desired, and stir in goat cheese, if using.


I served the sauce with a high-fiber white pasta – it’s one way to trick picky eaters, like children (or in my case, a husband) to get some of the nutritional benefits of whole grain pasta without the flavor and texture of 100% whole grain. I also stirred in some chopped spinach for extra vegetables, and served it with homemade meatballs from lean ground beef.

Approximate nutrition, per ⅙ of recipe, sauce only: 72 calories, 3 grams fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 2.5 grams protein

You can also use this sauce for pizza or freeze the leftovers for later use.

Do you have a go-to tomato sauce recipe?