Favorite Healthy Homemade Pasta Sauce

Favorite Healthy Homemade Pasta Sauce

Made with lean bison or kept meatless, this healthy homemade pasta sauce is my go-to healthy spaghetti sauce recipe. Get it now!

This healthy homemade pasta sauce recipe is quick, easy, and packed with flavor

Until I met my husband I was perfectly happy with canned sauce. Sure, I’d add a little extra basil depending on the brand, but otherwise I had no issue unscrewing the lid, heating it up and pouring it over my pasta dish. 

But then he introduced me to true, homemade Italian sauces and suddenly those jarred sauces just couldn’t cut it anymore. 

This healthy homemade spaghetti sauce can be ready in just an hour and packs a serious punch of flavor. For a meat-based sauce, I recommend using lean bison, but feel free to keep it vegetarian!

Either way, I promise it’ll become your family’s favorite recipe as well! 

Healthy spaghetti sauce over zoodles

What you’ll need to make healthy homemade pasta sauce

  • Olive oil 
  • Shallot 
  • Garlic
  • Ground bison (leave out for vegetarian)
  • Roma tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes)
  • Canned tomato sauce 
  • Dried basil
  • Italian seasoning 
  • Salt 
  • Sugar 
  • Water 

Is ground bison healthier than ground beef? 

Growing up in Colorado, eating bison was perfectly normal. However, when I was living in Boston I quickly realized that not everyone is as familiar with it. 

Besides liking the flavor better, bison is also a healthier option with 4-ounces of ground bison providing 203 calories, 9.7 grams of fat, 4 grams saturated fat, and 29 grams of protein. 

In comparison, 4-ounces of 80% lean ground beef provides 280 calories, 22 grams of fat, 9 grams saturated fat, and 20 grams of protein. 

So, not only is bison lower in calories, total fat, and saturated fat, but it’s also higher in protein! 

Plus, due to federal regulations, all bison have to be raised without any hormones or antibiotics, so you don’t have to worry about reading your labels quite as closely. 

Can you make this healthy homemade pasta sauce with canned diced tomatoes? 

Absolutely! This sauce is unique in that it already uses some canned tomato products. While I like to use roma tomatoes, especially when they’re in season, you can still get a delicious sauce using canned diced tomatoes. 

To substitute in canned, use 1 14.5-ounce can of regular diced tomatoes in place of 1 pound of roma tomatoes. 

Choosing the best canned tomatoes 

Canned tomatoes

If there’s one “rule” with this pasta sauce, it’s using really good canned tomato sauce. As tempting as it can be to buy generic or whatever’s on sale, the quality varies greatly. 

My go-to is Muir Glen tomatoes; however, I know others swear by Cento San Marzano. 

Step-By-Step Instructions 

Step 1: Prep all your ingredients

Ingredients to make this healthy homemade pasta sauce recipe

Start by dicing you shallot and tomatoes and mincing the garlic. Measure out remaining ingredients. 

Step 2: Saute the shallot

Place a heavy-bottom pot or large saucepan over medium heat and add oil. I like to use a large saucepan as I find the sauce reduces and thickens better. 

Once oil is hot, add diced shallots and saute until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

Step 3: Brown the bison

Add ground bison and minced garlic. Cook until bison is browned, breaking it up into crumbles, about 4-5 minutes. It’s okay if the bison is sitll a little pink – it has hours left to finish cooking. 

If making vegetarian, just sauté the garlic for about 1 minute.

Step 4: Add remaining ingredients and cook long and slow 

Add remaining ingredients to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil. 

Adding spices into the skillet

Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for at least 1 hour, but ideally 2-3 hours, until thickened. 

Making homemade healthy pasta sauce in skillet

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Use sauce immediately or store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

This healthy homemade pasta sauce is perfect for meal prep! 

Just like how lasagna usually tastes even better the second day, this spaghetti sauce only gets better with a night spent in the fridge. 

Here are some healthier recipes to use it in:

Let me know how you end up using this sauce by tagging @TheHealthyToast_RD on Instagram, and don’t forget to share this recipe on Pinterest!

Favorite Healthy Homemade Pasta Sauce

From spaghetti to baked ziti and lasagna, this healthy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is my go-to pasta sauce. Made vegetarian or with bison, it's a flavorful, healthier option than store-bought.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Healthy homemade pasta sauce, Healthy spaghetti sauce recipe
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground bison leave out to make vegetarian
  • 1 pound roma tomatoes about 12 whole tomatoes, roughly diced OR 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cane sugar any sugar will work
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Place a heavy-bottom pot or large saucepan over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, add shallot and saute until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Add ground bison and minced garlic. Cook until bison is browned, breaking it up into crumbles, about 4-5 minutes. To make vegetarian, simply saute the garlic for 1 minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for at least 1 hour, but ideally 2-3 hours, until thickened.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Use sauce immediately or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Don’t forget to pin for later!

Healthy homemade pasta sauce recipe pin

Add a comment

9 Comments

  • Nicole Durham AvatarNicole Durhama year ago

    Growing up we only ever had bison to make “buffalo burgers.” I never thought of using it for anything else let alone a meat sauce for pastas. Sounds so good I can’t wait to try it!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toasta year ago

      It’s so good! As bison can dry out easily, using it in a sauce it the best way to keep in all that flavor and moisture. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Lisa AvatarLisaa year ago

    This recipe has come just at the right time… I actually have a pound of ground bison and was just looking for something to make with it! Love this recipe.

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toasta year ago

      Perfect! Let me know how it turns out!

  • Sara Welch AvatarSara Welcha year ago

    Gave this a try for dinner last night and it did not disappoint! Easily, a new favorite recipe in my home; the whole family loved it!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toasta year ago

      I’m so glad to hear that Sara!

  • Dionne AvatarDionnea year ago

    I don’t know why but I got a strong desire to make pasta.. Well, I do know actually – this meat sauce is amazing!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toasta year ago

      So glad you loved it!

  • Emily AvatarEmilya year ago

    My family and I loved this delicious sauce! The kids enjoyed it over traditional pasta noodles and my husband and I did it over zoodles and it was so good!

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

    Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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