Consumer Watch: The top tomato sauce

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Consumer Watch: The top tomato sauce

The last thing you want to do is make complicated meals for your family. A healthy, simple solution? Pasta sauce. With so many sauces to pick from, which are the best? Consumer Reports tasters to the rescue.

If you don't have time to watch a pot boil, Consumer Reports says you can get homemade taste in a jar. They should know, they taste-tested 35 marinara-style sauces. So, what makes a marinara...marvelous?

Marinara is a simple tomato-based sauce, so when testers taste them they're looking for the fresh flavors of tomato, onions, garlic and herbs to come through.

And tomato sauce can be really good for you. Tomatoes are high in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. But CR found some sauces that aren't so healthy.

Half the sauces were salt bombs, including these three, with close to 500 milligrams or more of sodium in a half cup serving: Prego Traditional Sauce, Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Tomato & Sweet Basil, and Hunt's Traditional.

In CR tests, two low-sodium sauces got excellent scores for nutrition, and taste Very Good. Tasters said The Silver Palate Low Sodium Marinara has big tomato and garlic flavor, with notes of onion, fresh basil and olive oil.

Victoria Low Sodium Marinara is mildly seasoned with fresh basil, olive oil, onion and just a hint of garlic. It was one of the least salty-tasting.

One ingredient you won't find in a jar? -- The love!

Consumer Reports also says that the lower-scoring sauces were typically made with tomato puree, rather than whole peeled tomatoes, as well as dehydrated spices rather than fresh. So, it's worth checking the labels when you shop.
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