How to Cook Healthy Sauces

Q. How can I make flavorful rich sauces without using fat, cream, or butter?

A. I have a few ideas to share with you in making creamy sauces without fat, butter and cream, you may like any or all of these types of sauces.

  1. Blend silken tofu and soy milk with slow cooked onions and garlic. This makes a creamy texture with a lot of flavor. When you cook the onions slowly they release a lot of flavor that enriches the flavor of the soy. You may want to add fresh herbs to the onions if you are cooking for even more extra flavor.
  2. Another way of making a healthy cream sauce is to blend white beans or potatoes as a base for your sauce. Once again slow cook onions to add flavor.

Q. What about other types of sauces that are not creamy?

A. I am particularly fond of salsas, pestos, mushroom sauces, and lighter sauces that are reduced. Following are a few examples.

  1. Whenever a recipe calls for a mushroom sauce I like to add a little bit of reconstituted dried mushrooms such as porcini or shitake. They add a lot of flavor that you donít get with just fresh mushrooms. Add dried porcini mushrooms to a little tomato sauce and fresh herbs and you have a very flavorful sauce that is quite versatile and goes with many dishes.
  2. A little more complex method of making a flavorful sauce is to simmer vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and spices, for about 30 minutes, starting with cold water. Once you have drawn out the flavor from the vegetables, strain and return to your pan. Continue to simmer on a high temperature to reduce sauce to about half the quantity. This reduction will intensify the flavor. If you are serving meat, pour this sauce into the pan you just cooked the meat in and it will add extra flavor.
  3. Salsas make a terrific healthy topping for many foods, such as fish, chicken, frittatas, just to name a few. In fact they are easy to get creative with depending on the flavor you want. They lend themselves to raw ingredients as a topping with a lot of flavor. I make not only Mexican flavored salsas, but Italian, Asian, Thai, Tropical, you name it.
  4. Pestos are another great way to make healthy sauces. They are not only very flavorful, but the fresh herbs are incredibly beneficial medicine.

    Between our recipes for the World's Healthiest Foods website and cookbook we have a multitude of healthy sauces of all kinds for you to try.

Q. What is a healthy way of thickening a sauce?

A. If you want to thicken a sauce without adding flour, a good alternative is to mix a little arrowroot with water. Add to your sauce at the end and continue to cook for just about 3-4 more minutes giving it time to thicken. Add a little at a time so as not to make it thicker than you want. However with the cream sauces I have recommended, the tofu, bean, and potatoes thicken the sauce nicely without needing extra thickening.

This page was updated on: 2003-09-01 23:05:35
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation