How to Make Pasta Sauce Without Onions and Garlic

Updated on July 1, 2015

Delicious Pasta Sauce Without Onions or Garlic

Delicious spaghetti sauce without the onions and the garlic.
Delicious spaghetti sauce without the onions and the garlic.

Onions and garlic are practically synonymous with Italian food. But if you can't eat garlic or onion, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy pasta sauce.

Here is a quick and easy recipe for an amazing pasta sauce without garlic and onions. The are plenty of ingredients in this recipe that will give the sauce a good flavor and you won't even notice the lack of onions and garlic.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: About the equivalent of a jar of spaghetti sauce


  • 4 cups of tomato sauce fresh or canned, Hunt's has very minimal amounts of garlic or onion.*
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • white pepper, ground
  • black pepper, ground
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  1. Dice the peppers and any other vegetable you will be adding to the sauce.
  2. Saute the peppers and other veggies in a pan with olive oil. You will want them tender for the sauce. You can also steam the vegetables if you prefer, but the olive oil will add flavor to the sauce.
  3. If you are adding meat, saute it in olive oil till it is brown. Then drain off any excess oil.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce into a pot. Begin cooking it over medium heat.
  5. Add in the white pepper, ground pepper, and sea salt. You will use approximately 1/2 teaspoon. The measurement doesn't have to be precise. Add the oil, sugar, and any other seasoning you are using. Mix it well.
  6. Add in the cooked peppers and any other vegetable and meat you are using.
  7. Allow it to cook on medium until it starts to boil. Then turn it to low and let it simmer until time to serve it. If possible, let it simmer on low for an hour or two for the best results. Be sure to stir it occasionally.
  8. Sample it when it has been heated to see if it needs more seasoning. Add in more of the ground pepper, white pepper, salt, sugar, and oil as needed.
  9. Pour the sauce over your favorite pasta or Italian dish. Enjoy a great Italian meal!

Start With Canned Tomato Sauce

Buy four cans of canned tomato sauce. Look for a variety without added garlic or onion.
Buy four cans of canned tomato sauce. Look for a variety without added garlic or onion.
Dice the peppers and saute with any other vegetables you plan to include.
Dice the peppers and saute with any other vegetables you plan to include.
Pour tomato sauce in a pot and cook over medium heat.
Pour tomato sauce in a pot and cook over medium heat.
Add sauted peppers and vegetables.
Add sauted peppers and vegetables.
Season with sea salt, black pepper, and white pepper.
Season with sea salt, black pepper, and white pepper.
Allow to simmer. Add more seasoning if needed.
Allow to simmer. Add more seasoning if needed.

Other Ingredient Ideas

These veggies taste great in sauce.

  • mushrooms*
  • broccoli*
  • squash

Herbs and spices:

  • basil
  • bay leaf
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • lemon pepper
  • Italian seasoning*

Ground meat will also add flavor to the sauce. Here are some meat choices:

  • beef*
  • chicken*
  • turkey*
  • Italian sausage
  • bouillon cube

Other ingredients:

  • cream cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

For Those on Sulfite-Free Diets

* ingredients contain sulfites.

  • Avoid tomato sauces that have citric acid. "Natural flavor" and "spice" can also indicate sulfites and even small amounts of garlic and onion. Hunt's tomato sauce has less than 2% sulfites, which might not cause a reaction for you (it doesn't for me).
  • Use fresh tomatoes instead of canned sauce. You will need about four. Peel and chop them. The sauce will need to simmer longer when you use fresh tomatoes.
  • Be aware that sulfites can be present in ground herbs and spices. If you use whole organic herbs, you should be okay.
  • Use organic cane sugar with no sulfites.
  • Meat can contain sulfites. Organic meat is much more likely to be sulfite-free.

How flavorful is it?

3.7 stars from 43 ratings of Spaghetti Sauce without Onions and Garlic

This Sauce is Great on Any Type of Pasta

The sauce recipe is great for lasagna.
The sauce recipe is great for lasagna.

Dish Ideas for the Sauce

This sauce tastes great in just about any kind of Italian food. Now you can enjoy Italian food without garlic and onion.

Serve it in:

  • spaghetti
  • lasagna
  • other pasta dishes
  • homemade pizza
  • breadstick dipping sauce


Why can't you have garlic and/or onions?

See results

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Sam Tollerico 6 months ago

        Try Nellino's Pomodoro. NO garlic, NO onion. LOW FODMAP. Sensitive, gentle sauce with incredible flavor.

      • profile image

        KKey 7 months ago

        Love pasta but can't have it because of the garlic. Fooey

      • profile image

        Bill 9 months ago

        So, your garlic free sauce has a base that contains "minimal" garlic? That's not garlic free...

      • Spanish Food profile image

        Lena Durante 11 months ago from San Francisco Bay Area

        I have a loved one who cannot eat onions or garlic, and when I'm cooking for myself, I use a lot of them. This is a great resource, and I would be really interested to see other recipes without those ingredients.

      • Glenn Stok profile image

        Glenn Stok 13 months ago from Long Island, NY

        I like to avoid buying canned sauces because of all the chemicals they put in, so I always make my own pasta source too. I needed to add some variety, however, and you gave me a lot of ideas here.

        It works well without the sugar and salt since the other ingredients add all the flavor I need, but I like the other ingredient ideas that you included near the end.

        You gave me more options to experiment with and I look forward to many enjoyable pasta meals thanks to your recipe ideas.

      • profile image

        Beth 18 months ago

        Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I'm on a low FODMAP diet and have to avoid onions and garlic, so this was my first time eating red sauce in so long!

      • profile image

        Krista 21 months ago

        My husband has chronic migraines and there is a seriously long list of foods that make them worse, garlic and onion being at the top of that list. Thing is he LOVES garlic and onions and everything italian regarding food, especially spaghetti. Will be trying this sauce soon! Thanks!

      • profile image

        Heather 2 years ago

        This recipe was wonderful. My son is on a diet and not allowed to have garlic or onion. I couldn't imagine how he was going to survive without those ingredients. This sauce was flavorful and we don't feel like we are missing anything. Thanks so much. FYI, I added finely diced yellow squash to the veggie stir-fry and it wok red beautifully.

      • profile image

        Janet Buente 2 years ago

        Your recipe with Hunts tomato sauce would be a disaster for me. I am allergic to the allium family; onions, leeks, chives, shallots, ramps, scallions, and garlic. Hunts sauce contains minute amounts but no amount is safe for me. I have found the only onion free tomato sauce to be organic brands. So you might want to suggest that in your post. I will be trying the add ins that you list. Thank you.

      • profile image

        GolfingQueen 2 years ago

        Try Rao's Marinara Sauce for sensitive stomachs. No onion or garlic at all.

      • Miss Muse profile image

        Christine Rogers 3 years ago from Ohio

        Thanks! I have a friend allergic to garlic and onions, this recipe will come in handy!

      • profile image

        Sacha 4 years ago

        It used to take me ages to do the shopping, checking the ingredients on everything and having to reject many interesting prepared dishes, soups, sauces and so on because so many have garlic in, and it's just unecessary as this brilliant recipe illustrates. Now I do the shopping in no time, just buying everything fresh and making every meal from scratch. It takes longer and costs more (the UK is called "rip-off Britan" for a reason) but no reaction, no indigestion, no bad breath, and fresh is best and tastier any day. If you're not keen on peppers, squash etc, try liquidising them. Add a bit of garam masala or HP sauce to dishes about 10 minutes before serving for a tangy taste. I have even made this pasta sauce leaving out the tomatoes and using liquidised baked beans - great way to get children to try new things too.

      • profile image

        charlen 4 years ago

        HI, I MADE THIS LAST NIGHT---yummy----I am so impressed do you have more sulfite free recipe's? I am so new to this sulfite problem that I cherish all os the recipe s that I can get!

        Thank you


      • cocopreme profile image

        Candace Bacon 4 years ago from Far, far away

        peachpurple - Sounds yummy! And the veggies are super healthy. Thanks!

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        wonderful recipe. I like to eat pasta with tomato paste from Prego. Tasty even without using garlic and onions. Just simmer the tomato paste with some water and add in the vegetables. Gonna try your recipe. Voted up

      • cocopreme profile image

        Candace Bacon 4 years ago from Far, far away

        Jen Bogle - Interesting. It must be in the "spices" or "natural flavoring" that is listed in the ingredients. It is still a very small amount, though. It is less than 2%, so only people who are very sensitive to it would have a problem.

      • profile image

        Jen Bogle 4 years ago

        Hunts tomato sauce and ketchup both have garlic. Their rep and wrote me back to confirm.

      • cocopreme profile image

        Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

        mommymaya - Garlic and onions do seem to be in most italian foods. The trouble is that they do give many people digestive trouble. Hope you enjoy the recipe so you won't have to miss out on red sauce any more.

      • mommymaya profile image

        mommymaya 5 years ago from Arkansas

        This is great! I would never have thought to omit the garlic and onions because you tend to think it's the "base" of the sauce but my husband and I both have a hard time digesting them so we stay away from red pasta sauces. I'm so excited to try this recipe!!

      • cocopreme profile image

        Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

        Singharibol - Hope you find the sauce flavorful. May your meditations be more peaceful!

        Alecia Murphy - I completely understand about reflux. Hopefully you will find that you can enjoy sauce again when you don't have to worry about it biting you later.

      • Alecia Murphy profile image

        Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

        I don't go without onions and garlic by choice. But acid reflux has my number and I have to face facts. That's why I can't say how awesome it is to find a recipe that is still flavorful and tasty.

      • profile image

        Singharibol 5 years ago

        Thank you! Can't wait to try this. A diet without garlic and onions is good for meditation. I'm trying to give up these spices as an aspiring Vaisnava devotee but never could figure out how to get pasta sauce to taste as flavorful

      • cocopreme profile image

        Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

        randomcreative - This can definitely be customized according to taste. Thanks!

        Nettlemere - Onions can be a pain to cut. Thank you!

        wonderwriter11 - Thanks so much!

      • wonderwriter11 profile image

        Bobby 5 years ago from New Jersey

        Great Hub! I will have to implement this recipe into my cooking arsenal. Thanks for sharing!

        Take it easy.

      • Nettlemere profile image

        Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

        I like the idea of this - even though I like cooked onions, I find them a hassle to use what with trying to avoid eyes watering etc, so I can see myself using this recipe as a good alternative.

      • randomcreative profile image

        Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Thanks for the great recipe and ingredient options! It's great to have a recipe that is to versatile and customizable.