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Palms are sweaty, knees weak, carbs are heavy,
It’s smothered on my pancetta already, mom’s spaghetti

There’s nothing wrong with carbs. However, some people, such as those following a carb-controlled diet, need to keep their intake down. While spaghetti is a gift to the world like few others (grazie, Italia!), many store-bought sauces turn it into a Trojan horse of carbohydrates.

It can be easy to whip up your own sauce, but there are cat memes your friends haven’t seen yet. Plus, your Animal Crossing island is running low on turnips. So no, you don’t have time. But you’d rather not eat dry pasta. Isn’t this a conundrum?

Keeping carbs at bay can be a challenge, but don’t worry — not all store-bought sauces are off the table. We’ve found the best options to help you stay saucy on a low carb plan.

Combine a serving of pasta (or spiralized zucchini, if you’re going all in on cutting carbs) and one of these low carb spaghetti sauces and you’ve got a healthy, filling, speedy dinner.

Will a store-bought sauce lose you brownie points? Sure. But what Nonna doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

1. Cucina Antica Tomato Basil

Carbs per 1/2 cup: 6 grams

Price: $14.25 for 25 ounces

This is a silky, chunky sauce brimming with fresh San Marzano tomatoes, specks of herby basil, and a potent blend of white and black pepper.

You can find jars of Cucina Antica in most grocery stores, and they’ll tie up your farfalle in a pretty little bow.

With just 35 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of sugar per 1/2-cup serving, you can add a veritable dollop of flavor and feel confident that the meal is within the limits of a carb-controlled diet.

2. Muir Glen Portobella Mushroom Sauce

Carbs per 1/2 cup: 6.4 grams

Price: $12.50 for 24 ounces

Some people love the earthy, savory taste of a mushroom but don’t like the texture at all.

But when mushrooms are hiding in your pasta sauce, texture isn’t really a problem. Everyone’s a winner, especially considering that all this sauce’s ingredients are USDA-certified organic.

These include:

  • the obligatory tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • garlic
  • onion
  • carrot purée
  • sea salt
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • black basil

That’s one heck of a guest list.

3. Victoria Marinara Sauce

Carbs per 1/2 cup: 6 grams

Price: $16.99 for 24 ounces

Undoubtedly one of the most soulful options on the shelf, this seven-ingredient marinara skips fillers like water. Instead, it’s a 100 percent hit of thick, rich sauce just waiting to hug your spaghetti.

The tomatoes are so fresh they must have rolled up to the kitchen on a Vespa scooter, and the sauce’s garlic, basil, onions, sea salt, and spices don’t hurt either. Plus, it has only 6 grams of carbs and 4 grams of sugar per serving.

Congratulations — you’ve completed zoodles.

4. Rao’s Homemade Vodka Sauce

Carbs per 1/2 cup: 7 grams

Price: $16.99 for 24 ounces

All hail Rao’s! The East Harlem mobster-hangout-turned-supermarket-bestseller has been nailing the grocery game for years now. And the idea of putting vodka on our tortellini is an offer we can’t refuse.

This is an expertly crafted, all-Italian tomato gravy for those of us who can’t secure a private table at the real-deal restaurant. (And at the time of this writing, in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, that would be all of us.)

This sauce, which adds Parmesan, Romano, and vodka to the standard marinara mix, is hella creamy and flavorful. And it’ll add only 7 grams of carbs to your plate.

5. Due Cellucci Arrabbiata (Spicy) Sauce

Carbs per 1/2 cup: 1 gram 😮

Price: $8.99 for 24 ounces

“Arrabbiata” is the Italian word for “angry,” which goes a long way toward describing the punch of this chile-infused sauce.

If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you can, make sure your kitchen includes a jar or two of this.

All that fierce spiciness can’t hide the big-hearted softie within — this sauce has only 1 gram of carbs per 1/2-cup serving. The only thing stopping you from gulping this down is your tolerance for spicy food.

At $8.99 per jar, it’s also one of the least pricey sauces on this list.

6. The Meatball Shop Classic Tomato Sauce

Carbs per 1/2 cup: 6 grams

Price: $8 for 24 ounces

The idea of meatballs without sauce is like imagining “Cloudy with a Chance Of Meatballs” without meatballs. That’s just a regular, overcast day, which doesn’t seem fun at all.

Another restaurant is here to help! The Meatball Shop’s slow-simmered sauce lives up to its New York City mini-chain’s reputation. It is, most definitely, walkin’ here.

And it’ll add just 6 grams of carbs to your daily intake. Bellissimo!

7. Yo Mama’s Foods Marinara Magnifica Gourmet Pasta Sauce

Worthy of inclusion for the name alone, Yo Mama’s pasta sauce has a simple but e that combines fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, and basil. That’s it. But it packs big flavor without any extra sugar.

It’s a humble operation, slow-cooked in small batches. But that’s where the homemade taste comes from. None of your friends will even ask you if it’s from a jar.

Plus, it has only 5 grams of carbs, so your keto diet can rumble on undisrupted.

Restricting carbs doesn’t have to narrow down your choices when it comes to deliciousness. There are marinara and arrabbiata sauces alongside many other options that go light on carbs and heavy on flavor.

Be sure to check the nutrition label to make sure whatever sauce you choose doesn’t have heaps of added sugar. If you’d prefer to knuckle down and make some sauce but don’t want it to take forever, give these simple, effective veggie pasta recipes a try.

Lose yourself in the meatballs, the moment, you want it, you better never let it go…