Have you ever truly looked at the ingredients on your favorite store bought pasta sauce? The first several ingredients usually sound innocent enough. But as you keep reading…
Here’s the ingredients for a popular store brand taken from their website: Tomato puree, diced tomatoes, sugar, beef, canola oil, salt, beef fat, spice, dehydrated onions, dehydrated garlic, citric acid, flavoring, dehydrated beef stock, onion extract, garlic extract, beef extract, yeast extract.
That thing that says “flavoring” down towards the end – that can mean anything and everything. You honestly have no idea what you’re getting in there. It doesn’t even clarify whether its natural flavoring or artificial. But let assume it’s “natural flavoring”. According to FDA, “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”
Sounds complicated and confusing. And all those extracts? Beef extract? Yeast extract? What is that? Does your body know what it is? Can your digestive system recognize it as a food item? I’m not sure.
This list looks much better: Tomatoes, peppers, onions, beef. Flavored with garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. We know what these are. Our bodies know what these are. Our digestive system can identify them all as food items and process them accordingly.
Here’s my tried and true recipe for a hearty pasta sauce, tweaked several times over the years, but a family favorite now. If you don’t like peppers and onions in your sauce, you could leave them out – I’m a fan of chunky pasta sauce though.
Homemade pasta sauce
- 1 or 1.5 lb ground beef (or turkey or venison)
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 t. minced garlic
- 2 t. oregano or basil or combo of both
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 1 t. maple syrup
Brown the beef over medium heat. When its about halfway brown, add in peppers and onions. As onions start to become translucent, add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. When beef is fully browned and onions translucent, add in all 3 tomato cans, liquid included, and maple syrup. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, or even up to an hour on low heat, or in a crock pot on low for a few hours.
This pasta sauce is great served over zoodles (zuchinni noodles) if you’re grain free, and also great over regular spaghetti or pasta if you’re not grain-free.
Please do yourself a favor and stay away from ingredients like “flavoring”. And if you really need to know the ugly nasty truth, some “flavoring” is castoreum, which is “natural”, and is a bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers. Seriously y’all.
Yeah….just stay away from things with “flavoring” or “natural flavors”. You really don’t know what it may be…
Be fruitful, happy, healthy. And don’t ingest fluid from beaver genital glands.