Is pesto healthier than tomato sauce?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Is pesto healthier than tomato sauce? We will discuss how healthy pesto sauce is, how to prepare this sauce at home, and what nutritious alternatives are available. 

Is pesto healthier than tomato sauce?

Both pesto and tomato sauce have different health benefits: The idea to keep in mind is to opt for versions that are low in calories, low in saturated fat, and rich in nutrients. 

Tomato sauces, for example, help prevent and fight prostate cancer, pesto sauce is rich in antioxidants, and those with mushrooms boost the immune system.

Pesto: prepared with basil, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts, which can be substituted for chestnuts or walnuts. Basil is rich in magnesium and helps the cardiovascular system, as well as offering antioxidants that improve defenses. Oilseeds are also healthy because they are a source of mono and polyunsaturated fats that protect the heart.

Is pesto sauce healthy?

The ingredients of the pesto sauce have great nutritional virtues, among them, the pine nuts provide fiber and healthy fats to the dish that together with the fatty acids in olive oil benefit cardiovascular health. On the other hand, Parmesan cheese provides its high-quality proteins and basil is together with pine nuts, a source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The flavor of basil conjugated with a little garlic, pine nuts, and olive is ideal to accompany a well Mediterranean and healthy pasta because with this pesto sauce we add potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, quality proteins, healthy fats, and antioxidants to food rich in complex hydrates.

If we opt for sauces with noble ingredients such as pesto sauce, we do not have to fear pasta, but on the contrary, they are a rich dish full of benefits for the body.

Homemade pesto sauce

Pesto sauce: an easy, nutritious, and healthy recipe.  Pesto sauce is a traditional recipe from the gastronomy of Liguria, an Italian region famous for the spice trade in the past. The most classic version of pesto contains ingredients rich in vitamins, antioxidants, mineral salts, and proteins, which make it a complete and nutritious dressing for your dishes.

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 2 sprigs of fresh basil (20-30 g of leaves approximately)
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (or medium if you prefer a milder flavor)
  • 1 pinch of salt (optional)
  • 25 gr of grated Parmesan cheese (uses nutritional yeast for the vegan version)

The sauce can be prepared with the classic mortar or with an electric mixer with a glass if you don’t have much time.

Preparation:

  1. Wash the basil leaves and remove excess water with a paper towel or using a salad spinner.
  2. Separate the leaves from the branches and place them in the bowl of the mixer (or in the mortar).
  3. Add the pine nuts, the skinless garlic clove, and 4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil, the Parmesan (or nutritional yeast), and a pinch of salt (optional).
  4. Blend until all the ingredients are well mixed and you get a deep green sauce-
  5. Keep beating and gradually add another 4 tablespoons of oil until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.

Pesto is a sauce that is used in many recipes of Mediterranean cuisine. it goes perfectly with pasta and can add irresistible flavor to many vegetables, fish, and meat dishes.

If you like pesto, I recommend you try it with:

  • Stuffed pasta type tortellini or ravioli.
  • On pizza, just pesto.
  • On canap├ęs, toasts or crackers to add an aromatic touch.
  • In the vinaigrette to dress salads.
  • Add it to your savory cake recipes.
  • One teaspoon of pesto on a grilled turkey breast.
  • To accompany fresh “burrata” type cheeses.
  • To season grilled fish.
  • To season vegetables of all kinds, raw or baked.
  • With the zucchini spaghetti, it is a real delight

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

Is marinara sauce the same as Napolitana?

Is marinara sauce the same as Ragu?

How long does pesto last?

Choose the healthiest sauce for your pasta

Tomato sauce: this sauce has tomato, garlic, onion, oil, and basil. It is a fairly healthy option, especially for the tomato, a source of lycopene, a substance with antioxidant action that prevents the process of cell degeneration, fights prostate cancer and reduces cholesterol levels.

Bolognese: prepared with tomato, minced meat, garlic, onion, and in some cases dry red wine. Pasta is a source of carbohydrates, and minced meat is a source of protein, which makes this dish a perfect combination. When selecting the meat for your Bolognese, prefer cuts with less fat.

Frutti di Mare: This sauce typically includes octopus, prawns, mussels, tomato, and garlic. Seafood is an excellent low-calorie protein alternative. To prepare them, leave them for a short time in the pan with a little oil.

Funghi: the original version has dried mushrooms and a mixture of whole milk, butter, flour, and white sauce. It is a caloric and high-fat option, it can be prepared by substituting the ingredients for skim milk, yogurt, or ricotta.

Puttanesca: a sauce made with extra virgin oil, garlic, dry hot pepper, anchovies, capers, and olives. It is excellent and very healthy, you can change the anchovy for sardines that offers more Omega 3, a fatty acid that regulates cholesterol, triglycerides, hypertension, and improves brain functions.

Conclusions

We remind you that both sauces have different health benefits. While tomato sauce helps prevent and fight prostate cancer, pesto sauce is rich in antioxidants, and those with mushrooms boost the immune system.

The ingredients of the pesto sauce have great nutritional virtues, among them, the pine nuts provide fiber and healthy fats to the dish that together with the fatty acids in olive oil benefit cardiovascular health.

If you have any comments or questions on the content please let us know!

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.