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Sound Food Swap: Pasta Sauce

Compare the cost of homemade v. store-bought pasta sauce. Plus, our ultra-delicious recipe for a 4 ingredient pasta sauce upgrade.

Ah, pasta – the ultimate quick and easy weeknight dinner. Its beauty lies in its simplicity — open a jar, boil some water, and you’ve got dinner. Hey, at least half of your meal is a vegetable, right?

The Cost Breakdown

Jarred sauce: $3.79 (Classico Marinara)
DIY Sauce: $3.59 (28 oz crushed tomatoes + 2 garlic cloves)

Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving – sure, tomato sauce is red and, well, tomato-ey, but if you look at the ingredient list of most jarred sauces, you’ll find they are actually made primarily from tomato paste reconstituted with water, and then flavored with sugar and preserved with additives.



The next time you are making a quick and comforting bowl of pasta, save yourself some money and boost the healthfulness of your dinner by making our 4 ingredient pasta sauce. The sauce will be done cooking faster than you can strain your noodles.

4 Ingredient Pasta Sauce Upgrade


  • 1 28 oz can pureed tomatoes ($3.29)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (from your pantry)
  • 2 Cloves garlic ($0.30)
  • A pinch of dried herbs from your spice cabinet (try oregano, basil, parsley, or an Italian mix)
  • A big pinch of salt (to taste)


  • In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Crush and peel the garlic, and add to pan. Stir until it just begins to brown. It should smell delicious.
  • Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer.
  • While the sauce is simmering, make your pasta.
  • Remove the garlic from the tomato sauce, and enjoy!
  • Bonus tip: You can also stir in a Tablespoon or two of butter if you want a richer sauce.

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