Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know there are countless recipes you can use while meal prepping, and the truth is, we often tend to eat mostly the same meals throughout our week if we care about our nutrition. And whether you’re cooking for the whole week or the next 2-3 days, you’re likely to have some leftovers.
And the best way to make them more exciting (and your overall diet more exciting) is with sauces. The right sauces can absolutely transform plain meals into composed, delicious dishes.
Of course, it’s not that easy to prepare sauces. There’s a nuance to it and a specific process of creating them with the right ingredients. Here’s what you need to know about batch making healthy sauces you can use for your meals.
The secret to making good sauces: healthy flavors!
Salt, fat, and acid are three of the most vital components of flavor. And each of them balances the other two. Here’s an easy way to think about it: break your sauces down into three main components – salt, fat, and acid.
Then finally, add the spices and flavorings that will round things out.
Salt, ironically, enhances the sweet/sour/umami flavors while reducing bitterness. In other words, the correct amount of salt will actually make everything taste better. Obviously, one of the easiest ways to add salt is to… add salt. But if you want to add some flavor in as well, just opt for a salt-rich condiment such as teriyaki, mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and more. Season with a salty condiment as you’re cooking and only add a little bit of it at a time. You should be able to reach the fine line between perfectly seasoned and too salty. If you’re watching your intake of sodium and want to keep it light, just scale back the portion size of your condiments, as well as how much of the final sauce you’ll end up adding to dishes.
Fat basically spreads flavor throughout your sauce. It makes it more filling and thicker. It can even help revive certain foods that have dried out in the fridge. If you’re looking for a healthy fat that won’t really mess with the flavor of your sauce, go for light olive oil or grapeseed oil. On the other hand, you also have pumpkin seed, sesame, or peanut, all of which drastically change the flavor of your sauce. If you want a creamy texture, try coconut milk.
Acids are the sour-tasting element, and the most common form of adding acid to your sauce is to add vinegar or citrus juice. In some sauces, such as vinaigrette, your acid will make all the difference in flavor. In other sauces such as curry, acid doesn’t contribute to making your sauce taste sour – but actually balances the salt and fat. If you feel like your sauce is too salty, just squeeze some lemon juice and notice how that salty flavor will be less pronounced.
And finally, you’ve got the spices, herbs, blended veggies, and other natural flavorings. Different variations of these will keep your sauce new and the added variety will keep your meal prep much more exciting.
3 of the most common sauces, broken down and explained:
- Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes have a significant amount of acid in them. They’re already pretty flavorful. If you want to make your tomato sauce great, heat half a cup of olive oil on medium heat. Add a few cloves of garlic and then toss them inside until they’re golden brown. Add a peeled shallot (about half of one) and once you can start smelling the shallot, throw in a can of tomatoes. Add salt and basil to taste and you have yourself the perfect tomato sauce.
Aioli is sort of like mayonnaise – only not. It’s high in fat, made with emulsifying oil with added egg yolk and some extra acid. You can make it by whisking together an egg yolk, half a teaspoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Whisk this mixture as you slowly drip half a cup of oil into the bowl. You’ll get a creamy, thick sauce. The better your olive oil, the better your aioli. Make sure to add flavors such as herbs or minced garlic at the very end.
One of the easiest ways to jazz up grains, veggies, and pasta is to toss them up with pesto. Use olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan for your fat. And use lemon juice for your acid while mixing it with basil and other herb mixes. This is the easiest, most delicious pesto recipe out there.