Here at MyFamilyClub we’re suckers for a warming pasta meal and now that summer has upped sticks for the foreseeable future, we’re all about stocking up on quick and easy dishes that we can rustle up midweek.
Luckily with a tasty ready-made pasta sauce we can pull together fast dishes which are filling, healthy and most importantly, perfect for tiny tummies. But with so many types of tomato pasta sauces out there (with some branded as apparently perfect for a spag bol and others being just the thing for meatballs) it can be tough cutting through the fancy marketing speak to find a great value tomato sauce for tea.
That’s why we decided to put big name brand Dolmio against supermarket own brands to find out which sauce gives us the most bang for our buck.
All the sauces below are plain tomato sauce – it’s your choice if you want to add mince or meatballs!
Simply M&S: Tomato & Herb Pasta Sauce
£1.25p 550g (22p per 100g)
at Marks and Spencer
Ooh, 550 grams, now that’s a big jar of sauce? I know! And it’s pretty reasonable too. Especially for a brand like M&S.
Is this part of their new value range? It is indeed. M&S launched a brand new range called Simply M&S this year. They claim that the products may be cheaper but the quality is still the same.
So let’s hear it? Any good? Lovely. Lots of yummy chunks of tomato with a real taste of basil and garlic (whiff whiff). Lovely natural colour with a delicious smell. This one’s a winner methinks.
Rating: 5/5 Gorgeous!
Tesco Bolognese Pasta Sauce
80p 320g (25p per 100g)
Tesco, the old favourite. And at 80p it’s pretty cheap and cheerful.
So what’s the scores on the doors? Right well even though it smells very tomato-ey, it does have a weird synthetic under tone, which is a shame.
And the taste? Far too sweet and that weird synthetic smell definitely comes through in the taste. Which is surprising, as according to the ingredients it’s all natural.
But for 80p you can’t really go wrong can you? I suppose not, but for me it’s not that great.
Rating: 2/5 Not my favourite
Tomato & Herb for Bolognese by Sainsbury’s
69p 290g (23p per 100g)
I’ve got high hopes for Sainsbury’s pasta sauce. Sainsbury’s own brand Jaffa Cakes came up trumps in last week’s taste test so I’m guessing this sauce will be pretty good too.
And at 69p it’s pretty good value for money. It’s not bad, but actually M&S is still cheapest overall.
Is it any good then? Nice smell with a very smooth texture which will be perfect for wee bellies. In terms of taste it is quite sweet but it does have a lovely herby flavour. Not bad.
Rating: 4/5 Tasty but far too sweet.
Dolmio Sauce for Meatball Tomato & Basil
£1.99 500g (39p per 100g)
At 39p per 100g this is by far the most expensive sauce. Are we just paying for the name? Perhaps, although it’s also got the lowest calorie count per serving (38kcal per 100g).
Still unsure. And you’re right to be but after having a sniff it does have a very rich smell, heavy with herbs. It looks pretty good too with chunks of tomato and flecks of basil.
And the taste? Mellow flavour with a sharp acidic aftertaste. Lots of back notes of garlic and a few chunks of onion running though the sauce.
Rating: 4/5 Tasty but a bit too pricey for what it is
Verdict: This week’s taste test was pretty interesting as it shines a spotlight on a store cupboard staple. And although the Dolmio sauce was pretty tasty, the cheaper M&S alternative blew it out of the water and is my pick of the week! Come back next week as I’ll be testing packed lunch favourites – Walkers Multipack Crisps – against supermarket own brands.