Keto as a Way of Life
Easy Lower Carb Pizza Sauce
Marinara Sauce is one of those kitchen staples that can serve as the backbone to something like a bazillion quick/easy meals.
If you have a good pizza sauce recipe in your back pocket, people will think you’re a culinary master.
The problem on Keto, though, is that most marinara and pizza sauce recipes contain sugar in one form or another.
Here are some of the sugars and other bad ingredients I found in popular sauce brands on the super market shelf:
- Liquid sugar
- Modified Cornstarch
- Corn syrup
- Soybean Oil
- Corn Oil
Many Types of Sauce
It seems like everyone who has a tomato/marinara/pizza sauce recipe swears by it.
One of the things I love about cooking is that recipes like this have so many interpretations. Most of those personal recipes are excellent.
This low carb pizza sauce recipe is just the way I do it, and I swear by it!
It has the rich, tomato flavor that a marinara sauce should have with those warm, earthy notes from the herbs. The punch of the garlic rounds it out and a few drops of whiskey bring it all together.
Wait…. what? Whiskey?
Yep! I’ll explain below.
One last thing… This sauce is only barely lower carb than some of the sauces on the market.
I can’t figure that out really without noting that I counted the carbs for all the garlic and spices that are in it. I don’t believe everyone considers the spices/ingredients involved in the store-bought sauce recipes. But those ingredients actually have some carbs in them (especially garlic).
Also, I feel good about having this on keto because it’s made with whole food.
No weird sugars.
No nasty ingredients.
The flatbread featured in the picture above was made using a really good recipe I found on a blog called Ketogasm. (click the link to check out the blog – it’s a good one!)
I actually made her recipe and then cut it in half to make two flatbread pizzas. Rebecca and I each had one to ourselves and they were fantastic!
I use the canned stuff for this.
After using pretty much every random brand of canned tommato I’ve come across over the years, I’ve think they’re all pretty much the same.
Just be sure you read the label and avoid crazy ingredients. You’re looking for something that’s just plain ol’ tomato sauce.
Alternately, you could use stewed tomatoes if you like, but you would need to puree them to get a “saucy” texture.
Breaking down and processing whole tomatos makes a great sauce, but it adds a good amount of time and effort to the recipe.
This will allow you to thicken your sauce and add a richer depth of flavor. Since tomato paste is made by roasting and reducing down tomatoes, it adds a bit of a smoky or roasted flavor to the finished sauce.
It’s always great to use fresh herbs. Honestly, though, I almost always use dried herbs for this sauce.
Fresh herbs are harder to get, they’re harder to store, and let’s be honest… they take a lot of special effort.
We’re already doing enough by making this sauce from scratch. Save yourself some time and get the dried herbs.
They taste good in this.
You can use fresh garlic. Peel it, mince it, etc…. But when I can buy the stuff already minced in a great big tub, I do it. It’s really not that much more expensive, and it makes recipes like this a lot easier to put together quickly.
For the purposes of this recipe, these two are interchangeable. I use beef base because I keep it on hand, but bullion is easier for some people to get. I’ve used both, and they both work perfect in this sauce. This ingredient adds savory depth to the flavor of the sauce.
Monkfruit quickly became our favorite Keto sweetener. It tastes good, has no aftertaste that we can discern and it doesn’t affect our blood glucose at all. It also stands up to heat better than most other Keto sweeteners.
The only downside is that it’s a little more expensive than other sweeteners, but we think it’s worth it.
Granulated (aka Classic) Monkfruit is a substitute for white sugar, and can be used as a 1:1 replacement in most recipes.
Learn More About Sweeteners
Interested in learning a little more about sweeteners and where they rank for Keto?
We put together a handy chart of 55 sweeteners commonly used on the market today. The chart shows you which sweeteners are actually sugar, which ones are bad chemicals or natural, where they land on the Glycemic Index and more.
We also rank each sweetener on the list as Good, Bad, or Ugly for Keto.
Here’s where I sometimes get strange looks from people when I explain how I make my sauce.
There’s some science behind adding alcohol to food. The key is only adding a little. Adding too much alcohol will just overwhelm the dish.
Alcohol is like salt in that it makes a food taste more like itself. It intensifies the flavor of food for a couple reasons:
- Alcohol is volatile: without getting into too much of that science, just understand that it binds with the aroma of the food and carries it further. When you smell something, you can taste it better. Ever notice how you have a hard time tasting your food when your nose is stopped up?
- Alcohol binds with both fat and water causes it aromatic and other subtle flavors to penetrate deeper into meats and other foods, and it causes the flavors within those foods to become more pronounced. This is an extremely short way of explaining a complex chemical reaction, but for our purposes here, I hope this helps makes sense of why I apply whiskey to this sauce.
So in our low carb pizza sauce, the whiskey will make the tomatoes more ‘tomato-y”
A couple notes on this, however:
- Less can be more when you use alcohol to cook. Don’t think that you can just keep adding alcohol and your dish will be even more flavorful. It reaches a point of diminishing returns and can even overwhelm the flavors of the dish. Keep the alcohol to less than 5% of the dish.
- Different spirits do bring different flavors to the dish.
- Whiskeys tend to offer more woody, malted flavors with notes of grains and corn.
- Beer lends it’s malt, but also some bitterness due to the hops. Depending on the type of beer, it may offer the dish some roasted grain, coffee or even chocolate notes.
- Wines will help you develop sweeter flavors and aromas, and tend to insert hints of flavor from the fruit from which they’re made.
Notes on Method
The great thing about this recipe is that it comes together with relative ease and speed.
You just dice the onion and sweat them in olive oil over medium high heat. I typically do that right inside the pot that I’m going to cook the sauce in, so I’m only messing up the one pot.
Then you pour in the tomato sauce, paste and all the rest EXCEPT for the Monk Fruit. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and simmer for about an hour.
Add the Monk Fruit after you’ve simmered the sauce for about an hour. Stir it in and then remove the sauce from the heat.
I’ve found that, while Monk Fruit can take cooking heat, if you cook it for too long (like simmering it for an hour) when the sauce cools, it will form a clear crust on the top. It may also get a bit of a gritty texture from the Monk Fruit crystallizing. Adding the Monk Fruit at the end prevents this from happening.
Try this low carb sauce with our Meatball recipe. They go great together, so it’s a WIN WIN!
Thanks for Reading
We hope you enjoy this Low Carb Pizza Sauce Recipe. If you give this recipe a try, please let us know how it works out for you. Please drop us a line in the comments below, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us on our Facebook Page where we share and discuss Keto recipes all the time.
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Easy Low Carb Pizza Sauce
Our low carb pizza is a great marinara for topping Keto flatbreads, making pizzas or just for dipping a Keto breadstick. Great to have on hand for various low carb Italian inspired dishes.
- 16 oz Tomato Sauce 2 8oz cans
- 6 oz Tomato Paste 1 6oz can
- 1 Medium White Onion Diced
- 2 Cubes Beef Bouillon or 2 tsp Beef Base
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves Minced
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Whiskey Dark whiskey is best
- 2 tbsp Italian season Recipe Below
- 1 tbsp Confectioners Monk Fruit
- 1 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
- 1/4 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt To Taste
In a medium sauce pan, sweat onions in olive oil over medium high heat, just until transluscent.
Add garlic, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato sauce, tomato past, bouillon (or beef base), Italian seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce.
Bring to a low boil.
Just when the sauce begins to bubble, stir in the whiskey.
Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove sauce some heat and add Confectioners Monkfruit, stirring thoroughly to combine.
Add salt to taste. Roughly 1/4 tsp is right, but depending on the bouillon/beef you use, that might be too much salt. Taste first. Then add salt!
After consulting some pro pizza web sites, they seem to agree that 3 ounces of sauce is the right amount for a ten inch pizza. That means if you ate the whole pizza, you'd get about 6 Net carbs from this sauce. Not bad!
I'm going to list the Macros per ounce, though, so you can figure out how much you want. After all, you might not want it on a pizza. You might want to dip Veggies, Chicharróns, or Keto Bread sticks in it!
Italian Season Ingredients
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
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