Dress up your meals

Who doesn’t love a sauce? Whether it’s a salad or a grilled piece of chicken or fish, many of our meals can benefit from a tasty sauce to deliver a delicious burst of flavor. Having these versatile and easy-to-make-ahead sauces on hand will help you add interest to simple meals in a convenient way.

Tarragon Yogurt Dressing

Green and gorgeous on chicken, fish, salad, or vegetables. Yogurt gives this sauce a robust texture while tarragon imparts a licorice taste that suits salmon and poultry to a T.

1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped chives
1/2 cup (125 mL) yogurt
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon zest
3 Tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tsp (10 mL) honey

In food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Store in covered jar in refrigerator. Sauce will thicken up in the refrigerator, so allow it to come to room temperature before using on salads.

Makes 1 cup (250 mL).

Each 1 Tbsp (15 mL) serving contains: 30 calories; 3 g protein; 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat); 3 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 0 g fiber); 42 mg sodium

Ginger Miso Cashew Sauce

This sauce has enough heft to dress up cabbage or broccoli salads, or to be used as a dipping sauce for vegetables or meats. Ginger and miso lend bright zing and luscious umami flavor.

1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews, presoaked
3/4 cup (180 mL) water
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 Tbsp (15mL) white miso paste
2 Tbsp (30 mL) rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) grated gingerroot
2 tsp (10 mL) tamari
1 Tbsp (15 mL) orange juice
1 tsp (5 mL) red chili flakes (optional)

For a quick alternative to soaking cashews overnight, bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Remove from heat, place cashews in water, cover, and soak for 30 to 40 minutes.

Drain cashews and place with fresh water in bowl of food processor or high-speed blender; blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until combined.

Makes 1 3/4 cups (435 mL).

Each 1 Tbsp (15 mL) serving contains: 33 calories; 1 g protein; 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat); 2 g total carbohydrates (0 g sugars, 0 g fiber); 48 mg sodium

Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

A sweet sauce with punchy balsamic vinegar. Perfect over ice cream, yogurt, or cakes, it’s also magnificent drizzled over meats such as duck or pork, or as a condiment for cheese. Convert it to a dressing with a few tablespoons of olive oil and pair it with peppery arugula.

2 cups (500 mL) frozen blueberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 cup (250 mL) water
1/4 cup (60 mL) maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) black pepper
Pinch of salt

In saucepan, combine blueberries, vinegar, water, and maple syrup and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove pan from heat, season with pepper and salt, and set pan aside to cool for 10 minutes.

In blender or food processor, blend mixture and then pass through a sieve. (Collect solids from the sieve and spread them on toast). Place sauce in jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It’s equally delicious served cold or gently warmed.

Makes 1/2 cup (125 mL).

Each 1 Tbsp (15 mL) serving contains: 51 calories; 0 g protein; 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat); 12 g total carbohydrates (10 g sugars, 1 g fiber); 22 mg sodium

By Helena McMurdo