Shop-bought sauces are great for convenience, but they’re really not doing anything for your health, nor your bank account. They are overpriced and, as I discovered on my 4 week no-sugar challenge, full of both salt and sugar.
I grew up learning how to make my own sauces (shoutout to mama Bon) but over the years I have adapted these into my own little recipes which I use all the time and are totally free from unrefined sugar and all those nasty unnatural ingredients. I’m not a professional cook by any means and never use proper measurements, so I’ve tried my best to quantify the ingredients for you, but I definitely recommend you to experiment with them and find what you prefer.
I also haven’t recommended how many people these sauces would serve because I regularly eat portions that would feed a small village so I wouldn’t want to recommend anything. But as a rough guide, I’d say all of these recipes would be enough for two people.
So, without any further ado, let’s have a look at some of my favourite homemade healthy sauces.
Use for pasta or rice dishes, or with meat and/or vegetables.
You will need:
- 1/2 onion (red or white), diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes or passata (I prefer chopped tomatoes for the texture)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Salt and pepper
- Oregano and basil
- 1 tsp honey
- Heat a deep frying pan or sauce pan and add the onion, garlic, and carrot.
- Fry around the pan for 5 minutes, pouring a little water in to keep the ingredients from catching in the pan.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the tin of tomatoes or passata, tomato puree, salt and pepper, oregano and basil and let the sauce simmer gently for 5 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and add a little honey to make it slightly sweeter and more salt/pepper if it needs it.
- Stir into your pasta or rice or whatever your main dish is, and enjoy.
HEALTHY CREAMY SAUCE
This is a great alternative for creamy, cheesy sauces which can be super high in calories. I use this for pasta dishes, rice dishes or for a sauce in a bake.
You will need:
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 lemon
- Olive oil
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed well
- 3 tbsps full or reduced fat Greek yogurt
- Fry the garlic in a pan with the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the yogurt, avocado and squeeze in the lemon juice. Mix together.
- Add as much salt and pepper as it needs, and mix in with your pasta or rice.
- For a creamier sauce – add more yogurt. For a smoother sauce, put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
peanut stir-fry sauce
This is by far one of my favourite sauces to make, and I always have it with loads of fresh veggies and rice noodles. It also goes great with rice.
You will need:
- 3 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1/2 thumb-sized piece of raw ginger, finely chopped
- 1 small chilli, red or green, chopped (add more if you like it spicy)
- 1/2 vegetable or chicken stock cube, dissolved in approx 50ml boiling water
- 2 tbsps crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 lime
- Fry the onion, ginger and chilli in a pan for 3-4 minutes with some oil or water to keep it from catching (I use coconut oil).
- Add the stock cube with the water and let that simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Once some of the water has reduced, add the peanut butter, soy sauce, honey and lime. If there is too much liquid from the stock, just let it simmer for a little longer until the water has boiled off.
- Once you have mixed these ingredients together in the pan, turn the heat down and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to thicken slightly.
- If you are using the sauce with rice/noodles, you can cook these whilst you make your sauce or cook them now while your sauce thickens. Once your rice/noodles/veg/meat is ready, just add the sauce in and stir it all together. I then like to top it with a few salted peanuts and an extra squeeze of lime juice.
People often choose a salad thinking it’s the healthy option. Unfortunately, the dressing that comes with the salad ends up being full of more sugar/salt/calories than the “unhealthy” option. To combat this, make your own healthy salad dressing.
You will need:
- 1-2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1-2 tsps honey
- Salt & pepper
- Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste, and pour over your salad.
- If you are meal prepping, you can of course make a larger batch of this and just keep it in the fridge so it’s ready to pour over your salad when you freshly make it. The dressing will keep fine in the fridge for a few days.
And that’s a wrap
I hope you guys like the sound of these and will try them out. Remember, these recipes are here to inspire you – you don’t have to strictly follow them. Experiment with ingredients and quantities to make your own perfect sauces.