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I rarely use jarred pasta sauce at home, and that's mainly because most of the mainstream brands are packed with additional sugar and other unnecessary filler ingredients. Also, I really don't enjoy the flavor of most premade sauces. I do, however, enjoy the ease of pulling together a dinner by simply having to heat up a jar of sauce with some cooked ground beef or sausage. I had an opportunity to try Uncle Steve's Italian Specialties jarred sauces and what encouraged me to say "yes" to this review was the fact that each serving has only 3 grams of sugar. There is also no added sugar in the ingredients list.
All of Uncle Steve's sauces are:
- USDA certified organic
- Gluten free
- Kosher certified
- No added sugar
Uncle Steve's Marinara Sauce: Visually, the sauce is slightly chunky as opposed to being pureed into a totally smooth texture. I prefer having the bits of tomato and find that makes my Italian dishes a little more interesting. The thickness of this sauce runs middle of the road, not thick and pasty yet not watery - it's a nice mix for clinging to pasta or being soaked up by breads. But what about the flavor? Uncle Steve's tastes closer to homemade than any jarred sauce that I have tried before.
Ingredients: Organic Imported Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Organic Fresh Onions, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Fresh Basil, Organic Black Pepper.
The ingredients in the marinara sauce are not much different than what I would use when making my own sauce at home. This basic version of Uncle Steve's is great as a starter for pretty much any Italian dish. I used it to make little individual pizza toasts by topping slices of Italian bread with the sauce, adding mozzarella cheese and pepperoni and toasting it in the oven on Broil. It made a great easy lunch.
Uncle Steve's Tomato Basil Sauce: The ingredients in this sauce are the exact same as the basic marinara, though the basil flavor comes through quite a bit more. Because my husband and I both enjoy a good kick of basil in a red sauce, we preferred this version over the marinara. The texture of Tomato Basil was the same great middle-of-the-road consistency. I heated this sauce with some cooked ground beef and used it in a baked spaghetti casserole and it did a great job. I appreciate that the lack of added sugars does not mean that the sauce will taste acidic - the tomatoes have just enough natural sweetness to prevent the sauce from becoming bitter. I didn't feel the need to add any additional sweetness to the sauce.
Ingredients: Organic Imported Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Organic Fresh Onions, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Fresh Garlic, Organic Fresh Basil, Sea Salt, Organic Black Pepper.
Uncle Steve's Arrabiata Sauce - The spicy offering of the three Uncle Steve's varieties, Arrabiata gets its spice from the addition of crushed red pepper. Though I like spicy food I'm not a huge fan of crushed red pepper as it tends to not be the "right" kind of spicy or heat that is tasty to me. I was expecting this to be my least favorite of the three, but after taking a taste I found that the amount of crushed red pepper doesn't overpower the flavor of the tomatoes, basil, onion, and garlic. The red peppers add just enough spice and heat to enhance the other flavors without leaving much "sting" in your mouth. If you're in the market for a kick-you-in-the-face hot and spicy sauce, this one may disappoint you, but if you want just enough heat to heighten the other flavors of the sauce without being overwhelmingly hot, then I can recommend Uncle Steve's Arrabiata as one of the best spicy sauces I've tried.
Ingredients: Organic Imported Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Organic Fresh Onions, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Fresh Basil, Organic Crushed Red Pepper, Organic Black Pepper.
Where to find: You can order Uncle Steve's sauces and other pasta products directly from their website. If you reside in the NYC area you can also find the sauces locally (use this store locator for specifics)
Uncle Steve's Giveaway
One lucky reader of my blog will get to try Uncle Steve's for free, as well as some other fun stuff! By using the widget below, you'll be entered in the running to win:
1 jar Uncle Steve's Tomato Basil Sauce
2 jars Uncle Steve's Marinara Sauce
1 personalized "Nonna Gram"
2 packages of Organic Maltagliati Spaghetti
1 bamboo spoon
Giveaway will end at 11:59pm ET on Tuesday, May 23rd
I was provided with samples of Uncle Steve's pasta sauces to try and review and share my opinions with all of you. I do not accept free product or compensation in return for a fully positive review. Remember our motto: if we think it sucks, we'll tell ya!