Want to know the secret weapon of some of the world’s best chefs? A killer sauce. A sauce can turbocharge the simplest of “whole food” ingredients into a culinary masterpiece bursting with flavor. In many cases, it is the sauce that makes the meal!
And yet as important as a sauce is to bringing to life the most basic of ingredients, it is also one of the least understood facets of cooking. Once you acquire a repertoire of sauces you will be blown away at how effortlessly and quickly you can pull together the tastiest of meals. But of course the sauce has to be healthy or you might as well just order take out.
Making a sauce that is both tasty and healthy is a challenge, but it can absolutely be done. And it doesn’t require a single pat of butter, not a drop of cream, zero mayo, and very little to no oil.
Since a basic red sauce is one of the easiest things on earth to make and something just about everybody loves, we thought we would start off with that. The recipe below yields a lot of sauce, so you will have plenty of leftovers! You can store leftovers in a jar and keep them in your fridge for a week or freeze for up to a month.
We suggest you keep a super sauce in your fridge at all times. That way, you can pull together a complete Clean Cuisine meal in minutes. Use the sauce to dress roasted, steamed or lightly cooked frozen vegetables, baked potatoes, grilled fish, whole grain pastas, whole grains, beans and more.
Clean Cuisine’s Red Sauce Staple Recipe
We have tried numerous different canned tomatoes by many different brands and without a doubt our favorite is the boxed (not canned) tomatoes by an Italian company called Pomi. The Pomi brand boxed tomatoes have a superior off-the-vine quality that contributes an incredibly fresh flavor to red sauce recipes. Look for Pomi next to the canned tomatoes in your supermarket or natural foods store or online at Amazon.
Here’s how to make the recipe:
Red Sauce Recipe
This simple red sauce recipe uses the most basic ingredients to bring out natural, healthy and whole flavors.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion
- 1 whole head of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 box (26.46 ounces) POMI brand chopped tomatoes
- 1 box (26.46 ounces) POMI brand strained tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- In a large heavy non-toxic saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper; sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning and simmer, uncovered, over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve chunky as-is or use a handheld stick blender and process until smooth and creamy.
Clean Cuisine’s 10-Minute Fast Food “Dinner Bowl”
Our fast food dinner bowls can be on the table in less time than it would take us to call for take-out. As long as we have a prepared sauce on hand, such as the basic red sauce recipe above, and a ready-made whole grain we can put together one of our favorite standby fast food “dinner bowls” in less than 10 minutes. Here’s how we do it:
- STEP 1: We quickly “microwave steam” about 2 cups worth per person of fresh or frozen chopped greens (such as broccoli raab, kale, spinach, collards, etc.) To “microwave steam” simply put your fresh or frozen chopped greens in the microwave and heat for about 2 minutes. Note: microwaving is no more harmful to your food than any other form of steaming! It is true you will lose some enzymes when your food is heated, but it makes absolutely no difference whether the food is heated in a microwave or stovetop.
- STEP 2: We transfer our steamed greens to a small saucepot and then add whatever canned beans we have on hand (rinsed with water and drained, of course) and whatever cooked whole grains we have on hand in a ratio of 2:1 (two parts beans to every 1 part grain.)
- STEP 3: We mix in whatever sauce we have on hand and gently heat everything over low heat until heated through. Sometimes we add a poached pastured egg on top or a bit of pastured chicken, pastured lamb or pastured beef. And sometimes we melt a little gourmet cheese on top (FYI: cheese is NOT “Clean Cuisine” ingredient—we add it only for flavor and just a little tiny bit.)