Red sauce VS White sauce pasta -- which is healthier?

Pasta is a healthy dish but which sauce you make it in is also important. We tell you which one is healthier - red or white.

red-pastaPasta is a staple of Italian cuisine but is equally loved in India too. It is available in a variety of shapes and sizes and tastes best when cooked with sauce. Each sauce is unique in flavour and it enhances the flavour of the pasta and other ingredients added in it. Usually, pasta is cooked in two types of sauces either red sauce pasta or white sauce pasta.

Red sauce/Arrabbiata sauce

Red sauce is made up of tomatoes, garlic, red chilli peppers and olive oil. A blend of these ingredients gives it the perfect spicy flavour. 'Arrabbiata' is an Italian word which means 'angry' and that's the reason this fiery sauce is red in colour. The core ingredient of this tasty and spicy sauce is tomato.

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Tomatoes not only provide taste but are also a rich source of lycopene and vitamin C. Lycopene helps combat free radicals and protects our immune system whereas vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which helps fight against diseases. Along with the added health benefits, red sauce is not very high in calories as it consists mainly of tomatoes and vegetables. One serving (150g) of pasta in arrabbiata sauce is about 210 calories. (Read: 6 reasons why pasta is good for health)

White sauce/Bechamel sauce

As compared to the fiery red sauce, white sauce has a very delicate and creamy flavour. The fat content of this tasty sauce is on the higher side as it is made up of butter, flour, and cheese which makes the sauce creamy. White sauce pasta being a rich recipe has more calories whereas red sauce pasta which includes tomatoes is on the lighter side.

Due to high butter and cheese content, white sauce contains loads of cholesterol and saturated fat. But it also has milk which has calcium and protein. But people who wish to lose weight should refrain from this sauce. A single serving of white sauce pasta (150g) has over 250 calories. (Read: Keep BP under control with high fibre pasta)


We have seen the advantages and disadvantages of both the sauces but red sauce has lesser calories and fat content thus making it a healthier option. To make pasta more nutritious, use whole wheat pasta instead of the refined one and add more vegetables so as to incorporate more vitamins and minerals.

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