Have you ever wondered what makes a Keto pizza sauce special compared to regular sauce, which is typically just a mixture of tomatoes and spices? The key factor here is keeping the carb count low. Did you know that some regular pizza sauces can contain up to 10 grams of carbs per serving?
That’s not ideal for those following a strict ketogenic diet, where the goal is typically to consume less than 50 grams of carbs per day.
So, Keto-friendly pizza sauce is a great option for those who want to enjoy pizza while keeping their carb intake in check.
But what makes a pizza sauce low in carbs? Sugar.
In traditional pizza sauces, sugars are often added, which can significantly contribute to the overall carb content. In contrast, sugar-free pizza sauce recipes are specifically designed to minimize carbs and keep them at a minimum.
So, how do you prepare low-carb pizza sauce, what’s the science behind keeping the carb count low, and what are the different types of keto pizza sauces you can make at home? Let’s explore all these aspects in detail.
Keto-Friendly Pizza Sauces – Enjoy the Low-Carb Ingredients
Many surveys have indicated that nearly 30% of market share is influenced by no sugar or low carb pizza sauces, revealing a broader shift towards healthier choices. From this point of view, the keto-friendly sauce market has been witnessing an estimated growth rate of 7% annually over the past few years.
Is Pizza sauce keto-friendly? Regular Tomato Sauce Vs. Keto Pizza Sauce:
Before jumping straight onto the Keto pizza sauce recipe, didn’t your brain come to the question, is pizza sauce keto-friendly? Well, it depends on the ingredients you use.
Straightforwardly, it can be, if you pick the right kind!
For example, in my experiments, a well-made, unsweetened pizza sauce tailored for keto can have just about 2 to 4 grams of carbs per serving. These carbs mainly come from the natural sugars in tomatoes. So, is sugar the culprit there? If you want to use sugar as a sweetening agent, be ready to compromise on the Ketogenic properties.
And if you ask me again, which is the best thing for your pizza? A homemade Keto Pizza Sauce or a store-bought one?
Look, here’s the scoop: the big difference here is the carbs. And the ratio between these two is predominantly due to added sugars and certain additives. Anything which is on the side of the carbs is purposely the best.
While I checked out several regular store-bought pizza sauces, these were shooting their carb count right up to 6 to 12 grams (sometimes even more!) in just a 1/2 cup serving. But some of the best store-bought sugar-free pizza sauces like Yo-Mama, Lucini Organic Rustic Tomato, and Cucina Antica can save your day when making it at home isn’t your thing.
Well, in a homemade keto pizza sauce scenario, you might wonder, how many carbs do you preserve in the sauce? Well, my go-to when I’m crafting a guilt-free pizza night is a game-changer while intentionally slashing that carb count. In fact, when I make mine, I opt for low-carb sweeteners like erythritol or stevia as a sweetening agent. Plus, Monk fruit extract is another excellent choice. These sweeteners are fantastic as they add that familiar sweetness without the nasty carb spike.
So, here are the top 3 Keto-friendly or sugar-free pizza sauces you can prepare readily at home:
- Classic Keto Tomato Sauce
- Keto-friendly Sweet and Sour BBQ Sauce
- Sugar-free Tangy Mustard Sauce
The Classic Keto Tomato Sauce:
Wait a minute here before we finally jump onto recipe steps!
Keep these notes in your recipe diary, as there are some points that need to be addressed before you start. Technically, when selecting tomatoes for a keto-friendly sauce, it’s essential to understand the carb distinction between fresh and canned varieties.
Depending on the quality and type, fresh tomatoes typically contain natural sugars, averaging approximately 2.69 grams of carbs per 100 grams due to their higher water content. For instance, Roma or San Marzano varieties have lower water content and carb quantities, which results in a thicker and more flavorful taste without a lot of prep.
On the other hand, canned tomatoes (some canned pizza sauces you can try) can often include additional sugars as preservatives. You should choose cans labeled “No Added Sugar” or “Unsweetened.” For example, I use these brands:
- Muir Glen Organic No-Sugar Added Tomatoes: Muir Glen is a reputable brand known for its lowest carb organic tomatoes. They have a variety of options, including crushed and whole tomatoes, without added sugars. This bring a very silky texture and balanced taste
- Cento San Marzano Certified Tomatoes: These are native Italian certified tomatoes from the Sarnese Nocerino, known for their taste and premium quality. As they don’t contain added sugars, many homechefs prefer this due to trust. These also bring excellent texture.
- Eden Organic Crushed Tomatoes: With their crushed canned tomatoes, you don’t have to put extra efforts after you open the seal. The product comes with no added salt or sugar, making it a clean option for keto dieters.
- Fresh Tomatoes – 3-4 big tomatoes or 400 grams
- Garlic: 2 cloves or 6 grams per clove – Imparts aromatic depth and a savory note, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
- Olive Oil: 1 tsp or 5 grams – A healthy fat source that facilitates even sautéing of garlic and adds a rich mouthfeel.
- Dried Oregano: 1 tsp or 1 gram – Adds a Mediterranean herbaceous flavor, complementing the tang of tomatoes.
- Dried Basil: (You can also use canned Tomatoes with Basil leaf) 1 tsp or 0.5 grams – Provides a sweet and slightly peppery flavor, balancing the natural acidity of the tomato.
- Red Pepper Flakes: 1/2 tsp (optional) – Introduces a hint of heat, elevating the sauce’s complexity.
- Salt and Pepper: According to preference – Used as seasoning; vital for enhancing and balancing flavors.
Nutritional Values (Approximate) per 120 grams:
- Calories (kcal): 50
- Protein: 1g
- Total Fat: 3.5g
- Saturated Fat: 0.5g
- Total Carbohydrates: 6g
- Dietary Fiber: 1.5g
- Sugars: 4g
- Sodium: 10mg
How Do You Make It:
Sautéing Garlic as the First Step: The initial step that’ll set a rich and aromatic base for this low-carb pizza sauce is sautéing the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. As the oil warms, add minced garlic. Raw garlic has a potent flavor that can overwhelm the sauce, so sautéing softens its texture and mellows its flavor, ensuring a harmonious taste in the final product.
Setting the Flavor by Adding Tomatoes and Spices: Once the garlic has turned a golden hue, add the tomatoes, basil, and herbs. The reason for adding tomatoes after the garlic is to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn, as the moisture from the tomatoes cools down the pan. By adding the herbs at this stage, you give the spices ample time to infuse the mixture with their flavors.
Simmering For a Final Touch: A simmer time of 15-20 minutes helps amalgamate the ingredients, breaking down the tomatoes and achieving a uniform flavor profile. Periodic stirring ensures the sauce doesn’t stick or burn.
Key Takeaways from this Keto Pizza Sauce Recipe:
- Opt for unsweetened canned tomatoes if using canned tomatoes as a base.
- Monitor the simmering closely.
- The sauce can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, making it a convenient make-ahead option
Keto-friendly Sweet and Sour BBQ Sauce:
Pro Tip: Don’t relax just yet! You should always be vigilant about the ingredients you use. Many store-bought sauces and condiments, including some Worcestershire sauces, contain hidden sugar and carb content in the form of corn syrup. Thus, paying great attention to the ingredient list is crucial.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 cup or 240 ml – Used as a backbone to mimic the classic BBQ sauce’s tangy flavor. Naturally low-carb, its slight fruity undertone fuses well with the sweet and smoky flavors in the sauce.
- Erythritol or Monk Fruit Sweetener: 3/4 cup or 150g – These are go-to alternatives for sugar and syrups, providing sweetness. These sweetening agents, without the added carbs, make the recipe keto-friendly.
- Worcestershire Sauce (sugar-free): 2 tbsp or 30 ml – Acts as a bonding agent between the vinegar and sweetening agents, rounding out the BBQ flavor by blending sweet, sour, and umami (savory) notes.
- Liquid Smoke (optional): 1 tbsp or 15 ml – Replicates the smoky essence without actual smoking.
- Chili Powder: 1 tbsp or 15g – Adds warmth and a hint of spiciness, contrasting the sweet and tangy elements, and adding complexity to the flavor.
- Paprika: 1 tsp or 5g – A milder spice that ensures the sauce has depth without being overwhelmingly spicy.
- Cayenne Pepper: 1/2 tsp or 2.5g – Provides a little kick for those who like spice.
- Salt: to taste – Enhances flavor.
Nutritional Values (Approx. for a serving size of 2 tbsp):
- Calories (kcal): 5
- Protein: 0.1g
- Total Fat: 0.1g
- Total Carbohydrates: 1g
- Sugars: 0g
- Sodium: 30mg (This varies based on the Worcestershire sauce brand and salt quantity.)
How Do You Make It?
Combine Ingredients in a Saucepan: Simply add all the ingredients to the saucepan for even heat distribution. This approach ensures flavors meld together, creating a harmonious, sugar-free pizza sauce.
Bring to a Boil, then Simmer: Erythritol and monk fruit are slightly more complex than regular sugar. Boiling them ensures they dissolve effectively. Once dissolved, simmering is crucial to prevent overcooking and burning, integrating the flavors without compromising the desired taste and consistency.
Key Takeaways From This Keto Pizza Sauce:
- Keto-approved sweeteners are essential for a no-sugar pizza sauce.
- For a smoky BBQ flavor without a grill, Liquid Smoke is the answer.
- Patience is key during the simmering process.
Who’s This Sauce For? True Keto dieters, BBQ flavor lovers seeking a healthier format, and users looking for a tangy alternative to classic tomato sauce.
Who Should Avoid It: Those with spice sensitivities, such as reactions to chili powder and cayenne, and individuals avoiding artificial sweeteners.
Homemade Tangy Mustard-Cream Sauce:
- Dijon Mustard 60g or 1/4 cup: Using this as the primary flavor base to induce a great combo of spiciness and tang. Being the backbone of our sauce, highly focus on its concentration; it should not exceed the limit.
- Heavy Cream 60ml or 1/4 cup: For pulling out a creamy texture while neutralizing the sharpness of mustard. This combination is meant to flavor up this low-carb pizza sauce with its signature profile.
- Apple Cider Vinegar 15ml or 1 tbsp: Use Apple Cider Vinegar for tangy notes while maintaining a fruity undertone. Don’t overdo it, as it can over-intensify the tanginess, turning it into bitterness.
- Garlic 1 clove, minced: An essential for depth, aroma, and a touch of warmth.
- Olive Oil 15ml or 1 tbsp: Garlic sauté better into olive oil, preventing garlic from overcooking or burning. It adds a subtle richness to our keto-friendly pizza sauce.
- Erythritol or Monk Fruit Sweetener 5g or 1 tsp: Use it as a substitute to neutralize the tang and acidic elements in the sauce without compromising on limiting the carbs count.
- Salt and Pepper: The classic seasoners that heighten all other flavors in the mix.
- Calories: 362 kcal
- Carbs: 3.8g
- Sugar: 0.3g
- Fat: 38.02g
How Do You Prepare it:
Mixing Dijon, Cream, and Vinegar: Well, before putting all the ingredients on direct heat, combine these well to form a mixture while none of the ingredients overpowers the other. Mix them well for a consistent texture flavor. Pre-mixing is like setting up a base for our low-carb pizza sauce.
Sautéing Garlic: Again, Garlic in the olive oil is set on medium heat to release its aroma and flavor for other ingredients. But don’t overdo it, as it may become bitter when it gets overcooked.
Introducing the Mustard Mix: Right when the garlic clove releases its flavor, the mustard mixture rightly gets incorporated with the warmed garlic, which helps in melding flavors while ensuring a smooth, even heat exposure for the sauce.
Sweetener Incorporation: Many people don’t like sweetening tones, so this step can be optional for those. However, to counter the acidic nature of the sauce and bring some sweet tones to the flavor, you can add sweetener at this later stage. This allows for precise flavor adjustment and ensures it dissolves seamlessly into the warm sauce.
Key-Takes from this Recipe:
- Always taste as you go, especially before adding the sweetener.
- Be Patient with the Simmering.
- Pre-mixing is the key to a deep taste.
Who’s This For:
Keto dieters looking for a flavorful yet low-carb sauce, seeking a twist on traditional mustard sauces appreciate a blend of tangy and creamy flavors.
Who Should Avoid: Cheese Lovers, those on strict low-fat diets, given the heavy cream content.
The Bottom Line:
While all these pizza sauces contain low-carb and sugar content, you can test these with different meal courses. However, among these Keto-friendly pizza sauces, I mostly go with Smoky BBQ sauce as it satisfies my inner BBQ lover kid. For users who love sauce more on the tangy and sweet and sour side, Tangy mustard is perfect for them. Else, the classic Keto tomato pizza sauce is King of all seasons.