Consumer Reports looks into the best tasting tomato sauces for your pasta

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Your kitchen can be really busy. And the last thing you want to do is make complicated meals for your family. A healthy, simple solution? Pasta sauce. With so many sauces to pick from, which are the best? Consumer Reports tasters to the rescue.

Melissa Ortiz spends hours making her own sauce every Sunday, just like her grandmother taught her."I would definitely not buy a store-bought can of tomato sauce already made. My grandmother, she meant too much to me in my life, and I feel like she would, you know, come down and haunt me," she said.

But if you do not have time to watch a pot boil, Consumer Reports says you can get a homemade taste in a jar. They should know, they taste-tested 35 marinara-style sauces. So, what makes a marinara ...marvelous?

"Marinara is a simple tomato-based sauce, so when we taste them we're looking for the fresh flavors of tomato, onions, garlic, and herbs to come through," Amy Keating, Consumer Reports Nutritionist.

And tomato sauce can be really good for you. Tomatoes are high in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. But Consumer Reports found some sauces that are not so healthy.

Half the sauces were salt bombs, including these three, with close to 500 milligrams or more of sodium in a half-cup serving: Prego Traditional Sauce, Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Tomato & Sweet Basil, and Hunt's Traditional.

In Consumer Reports' tests, two low-sodium sauces got excellent scores for nutrition, and taste very good. Tasters said The Silver Palate Low Sodium Marinara has big tomato and garlic flavor, with notes of onion, fresh basil, and olive oil.

Victoria Low Sodium Marinara is mildly seasoned with fresh basil, olive oil, onion, and just a hint of garlic. It was one of the least salty-tasting.

One ingredient you will not find in a jar? Love.

"Bon Appetit!," said Ortiz.

Consumer Reports also says that the lower-scoring sauces were typically made with tomato puree, rather than whole peeled tomatoes, as well as dehydrated spices rather than fresh. So, it's worth checking the labels when you shop.

Take a look at all of 7 On Your Side's stories with Consumer Reports here.

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