The Best Low Sodium Pizza Sauce
Is your favorite pizza New York or Chicago style? Or are you a Neapolitan style purist? How about crust, deep-dish, hand-tossed, or thin crust? Pizza stone or on a pan? What about pineapple? All of these are questions that can start a war over pizza. One thing that is universal and can unite us all is having a killer pizza sauce. I’ve modified my recipe (I learned in New York) and now have the best low sodium pizza sauce.
The Anatomy Of Pizza Sauce
Pizza purists believe that all pizza starts from what is called Neapolitan Pizza. According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, (Basically the High Council of Pizza) the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour , natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, salt and water. You must use fresh Mozzarella from Buffalo Milk. The sauce is uncooked, and made from canned San Marzano Tomatoes and salt. There are even rules as to how to hand roll the dough and even at what temperature those fancy pizza ovens need to be at and that they have to be wood fired.
If you add basil and some extra virgin olive oil to the sauce, it becomes a Neapolitan Pizza Margherita. If you add oregano to the Margherita, then it is classified as a Neapolitan Pizza Marinara. Outside of the Neapolitan rules, people adapted their sauces from family recipes, by the region they were from and the ingredients available. Sauces were modified based on the dough and the crust style.
Chicago Style Sauce
Chicago style deep dish pizza takes longer to cook through. The sauce starts out with a higher fluid concentrate as the liquid cooks down longer and the sauce reduces. There is usually more acid from vinegar or wine added to the sauce and the sauce is cooked like a pasta sauce. Chicago spices in the sauce taste a little more “aged” to me, probably due to the cook time allows the spices to really open up and perfuse the whole sauce.
Thin Crust Sauce
A thin crust pizza obviously cooks fast than a deep dish crust. You would want to get the most flavor you can from a sauce since the tomatoes and spices don’t have the length of time or heat to marry and form the best flavor. So the best thin crust sauce is also a cooked sauce. The sauce is usually cooked slow over a few hours in a pot or crockpot before it is ready to be used. I knew a family owned pizzeria where they started the sauce at home in a pot the night before and the owner brought it into work in his car every morning. My Low Sodium Spaghetti Sauce is the perfect consistency for sauce for your thin crust pizza.
New York Sauce
New York style has two defining features. First is that it is a thicker sauce. Since the slices are longer and typically folded while eaten, the sauce has to stick to the crust throughout the whole thing. If it is too thin or liquid it will make the crust soggy (No one wants that!).
The second and more important feature, is that the Spice of the sauce is the defining factor. It’s a perfect mixture of sweetness, acidity, heat, and herbaceousness. There’s garlic, basil, and oregano, and onion, the usual suspects, but also throw in some sugar, black pepper, and red pepper. Then there is a secret ingredient to boost the acid and sweetness, citric acid.
Canned or Fresh Tomatoes?
One thing the High Council of Pizza got right is that you want to consistently have the best tomatoes for your sauce. In Minnesota, I will put our fresh grown tomatoes up against the best. Nothing can beat that sun-ripened fresh flavor. You want that all year round. Where I live, that would mean three quarters of a year of greenhouse tomatoes.
So canned tomatoes will have your back with consistency the rest of the year when you don’t have access to fresh. I know San Marzano are considered the Godfather of Tomatoes, but you need to find No Salt Added, and they are rare to find in the U. S.. The great news is that many stores now carry no salt added tomatoes, puree, and paste.
Dried or Fresh Herbs?
OK, before I get yelled at by my chef friends, I understand their reasoning why fresh is always the best. In the drying process, water is removed. That also ends up removing flavor. I also believe that of spices like basil and mint that release their flavors quickly because of the natural oils in the herbs must be used fresh.
I also know as a food geek that spices that are grown in hotter temperature areas don’t lose flavor when dried. A spice like oregano, develops its flavors in high temperatures areas with a lack of humidity. So in several taste tests, the dried versions of these spices (are a bit cheaper) than the fresh, but also taste the same in the finished sauce.
Secret Recipe Hacks
So I want all the the full flavor of cooking a sauce for hours and hours over low heat. Let’s be honest, I don’t have that much time. Especially with three kids. The whole reason you cook longer, is to get a more concentrated flavor as the water cooks out. You can imitate that same function in less time by adding in a can of no salt added tomato paste. The paste itself is concentrated tomatoes, so you are just speeding up the flavor explosion process.
Sometimes you just don’t have all the spices in your pantry. For pizza sauce we already know we can use the dried spices. So I love having a rocking salt free Italian Spice in my pantry. My fave is the Dak’s Italian Blast, as it is salt free, non-gmo, and has no potassium chloride. Plus, they are low sodium allies and if you use the code HACKING SALT at checkout, you get 10% off your order and FREE shipping. So now let’s get to the recipe.
The Recipe For The Best Low Sodium Pizza Sauce
An authentic NY style pizza sauce remastered to be low sodium and heart healthy.
- 1 28 oz. can Peeled Tomatoes (No Salt Added) or 10-12 fresh plum tomatoes peeled
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 3 cloves Garlic grated with a zester
- 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 2 sprigs Basil (leaves and stems) or 12 leaves
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 tsp Sugar (or Sugar Substitute of your Choice)
- 1 medium Yellow Onion
- 1 6 oz. can Tomato Paste (No Salt Added)
- 1/4 cup Chianti or Red Wine (optional) or sub Red Wine Vinegar
In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes into a sauce. It doesn't have to be completely smooth, it can have chunks, but you want them smaller than 1/16th an inch.
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and melt the butter into the oil.
Add the garlic and dry spices to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is softened but not browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, paste, onion halves, basil sprigs (with stems), Chianti (if using) and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When ready, remove the onion halves and the stems from the basil and discard them. Now your sauce is ready to spread,
This nutrition information is for approx 1 cup of sauce on a 12" pizza crust. You would also need to consider sodium in your toppings and crust.
Phosphorous is 1.7% DV