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 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 have sugar in them in one form or another.
Some of the sugars and other bad ingredients I found in popular sauce brands on the super market shelf include:
- Liquid sugar
- Modified Cornstarch
- Corn syrup
- Soybean Oil
- Corn Oil
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 one is just the way I do it. It has the rich, tomato flavor that a 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…. whiskey? Yep! If you haven’t already skipped to the recipe, continue reading and I’ll explain below.
One last thing… This is 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 count for all the garlic and spices that are in it. I don’t believe everyone considers the spices involved, but they 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 and no preservatives.
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 I’ve come across, I’ve found that they’re all pretty much the same. Just be sure you read the label. You don’t want any 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.
This will allow you to thicken your sauce and adds a richer 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 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.
Monk Fruit is a wonderful, Keto-approved sweetener. Since we discovered it, we’ve started using it in just about everything that needs to be sweetened.
Monk fruit stands up great to heat (especially in baking) and it doesn’t leave a weird, tinny after taste in your mouth that some sugar alcohols do.
The best part is not only does it have zero carbs, Monk fruit also contains a substance that is reported to help stabilize blood glucose levels.
The draw back to Monk Fruit is the expense. It’s a little pricey, even on Amazon. It’s extremely pricey at Whole foods and other health food stores where we’ve found it.
They have started carrying at Walmart, but our local store doesn’t stock much of it at a time, so they’re usually out.
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 this 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
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Easy Lower Carb Pizza Sauce
- 2 Cans Tomato Sauce
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 Bouillon cubes or 2 tsp beef base
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp whiskey
- 2 tbsp Italian season (recipe below)
- 1 tbsp Powerdered Monk Fruit
- 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1. In a medium sauce pan, sweat onions in olive oil over medium high heat, just until transluscent.
2. Add garlic and stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add tomato sauce, tomato past, bouillon or beef base (depending which you’re using – don’t add both), seasoning, Worchestershire sauce, and whiskey
4. Bring to a low boil.
5. Just when the sauce begins to bubble, stir in the whiskey.
6. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. 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!
Italian Season Ingredients
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
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.
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 or Chicharróns (aka pork skins) in it!
Net Carbs: 2.1
Welcome to Keto Ginger; a blog about our journey along the Keto Road. We hope our research, experience, and recipes will help others who have started down the same path, or who are simply Keto curious.
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