If you are as big as a pasta lover as me, you probably know two things: Pasta dishes are usually cooked in either a red or white sauce, and choosing the right sauce could either make it or break it for your plate. So, in order to help you know which sauce is better for your taste (or simply healthier), here are the main differences of red vs white sauce. 

What is in a red sauce?

soup, tomato, basil, garlic, cream, vegetable
Adeena Zeldin

Red sauce, also known as Arrabbiata sauce in Italian, is mainly made with tomatoes, red chilli peppers, garlic, and olive oil. These ingredients are what not only give the sauce its strong and tasty flavor, but also its defining red coloring. 

If you are looking for a flavorful tomato taste with the right light amount of spicy in it, this is the sauce for you. This sauce goes best with long ribbon pastas (like fettuccine), and tube pastas (like penne and rigatoni). 

If Arrabbiata sauce doesn't sound that appealing to you, you can try some variations of it, like Napolitana sauce, also known as Marinara sauce, which main ingredients are tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil and basil. Or if you are interested in something more simple, you can never go wrong with pomodoro sauce, which only has tomatoes in the sauce. 

What about white sauce?

Known for it's creamier texture, white sauce is mainly made with flour, milk, butter, and cheese. This Bechamel sauce is not only simple and classic, but it is the perfect sauce if you want to spice a plain dish and make it mouthwatering. 

This thick sauce goes amazingly well with either long and skinny pastas (like linguine and spaghetti), or shell pastas (like conchiglie). Since white sauce has more calories than red sauce, it is best to pair this sauce with other foods that have a lower calorie count.

White sauce vs red sauce: Which is healthier?

A cup of white sauce has 262 calories and 17 grams of total fat, while a cup of red sauce has only the small amount of 160 calories and 4 grams of total fat. Needless to state, if you are looking for a healthy and lighter sauce, red is your best option. 

In addition to that, red sauce also has a huge nutritional value. It is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and lycopene. So not only is this sauce incredibly savory and delicious, but it is also really healthy and nutritious for you.

White sauce, on the other hand, has a lot of calcium and protein; but sadly, also has a significant amount of cholesterol and saturated fat

So that is the final verdict on red vs white sauce: Red sauce is a healthier alternative than white sauce. Remember that even though red sauce is healthier, there are a lot of other sauce options that could be even healthier or tastier — depending on what you are looking for. 

Also, if getting a lot of vitamins and minerals is really important for you, don't forget to add a lot of vegetables to your dish. That is the surest way to add some nutrition to your dish.