Five Simple Sauces

Crafting delicious sauces is easier than one might think. These sauces whip together in no time at all and offer the ability to add or subtract seasonings and flavors to compliment the dish. Family and guests will be impressed when you declare “I made that sauce!”


Savory Peanut Sauce

Recipe Information

Total Time: 5 minutes

Servings: about 16

This delightful sauce can be served as-is or suited to your fancy with the addition of ingredients to give it a twist.


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or nut butter of choice

  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

  • 2 tsp. prepared chili sauce

  • up to 4 tbsp. water to thin sauce


  1. Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, and chili sauce in a bowl and whisk with a fork to combine.

  2. Add small amounts of water to thin the sauce - go easy on the water. It’s easy to go overboard and end up with a runny sauce.

Serving Suggestion

Serve with rice and stir-fried veggies. Use as a topping for lettuce wraps. Serve with spring or summer rolls. Drizzle over salads for a dressing.


Add water sparingly; if the sauce gets too thin, add more peanut butter or peanut butter powder - it acts like a flour to thicken up the sauce. Include garlic, freshly-grated ginger, chopped peanuts, cayenne powder, lemongrass, fish sauce, sesame oil or red curry paste to suit your fancy.

Store unused peanut sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.


Smoky Barbecue Sauce

Recipe Information

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 8

Tangy, smoky barbecue sauce comes together in a snap with ingredients you may already have in your fridge and pantry.


  • 2 cups ketchup

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp. liquid aminos

  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic

  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp. chili flakes


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan.

  2. Heat over low-heat until sauce thickens and turns a deeper color.

Serving Suggestion

Coat ribs or chicken before baking or grilling. Use as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers or tofu fingers.


Store unused portion in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to one week.


Easy Marinara Sauce

Recipe Information

Total Time: 50 minutes; 10 minutes hands-on

Servings: 6-8

Tangy, smoky barbecue sauce comes together in a snap with ingredients you may already have in your fridge and pantry.


  • 1 28-ounce can of peeled whole tomatoes (we like Field Day)

  • 1/4 medium white onion - peeled and finely chopped

  • 4 large cloves garlic - whole but peeled

  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pinch dried oregano

  • 1 pinch dried basil

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

  • salt to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients except salt in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.

  2. Bring ingredients to a medium boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover pan with a lid.

  3. Let simmer over low for 45 minutes or until sauce reaches a desired thickness. Stir as needed to keep sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  4. Blend carefully with an immersion blender or food processor or blender until smooth.

Serving Suggestion

This rich and hearty marinara is perfect with a toothsome pasta like fusilli or over zucchini noodles. Dip mozzarella sticks and garlic bread for a savory treat.


If using a food processor or blender, let the sauce cool down a bit before transferring and use caution during the blending process. This sauce doesn’t need to be blended to be delicious; just crush the tomatoes and garlic against the side of the pot after simmering to create a chunkier, more rustic-style sauce!


Super Simple White Sauce (Béchamel)

Recipe Information

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4 one cup servings

This recipe yields a simple white sauce that works as a base for other, more elaborate, sauces.


  • 2 tbsp. butter

  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup half and half

  • salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in a medium-size sauté pan.

  2. Whisk in flour until completely combined and no lumps remain.

  3. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add in half and half and salt and white pepper to taste.

Serving Suggestions

Create an easy-peasy béchamel sauce with a pinch of onion powder, a sprinkling of clove powder and nutmeg powder, and add a whole bay leaf. White can be quite bland on its own but serves as a great base for other sauces. Use this basic sauce and add grated cheddar cheese and a dash of dried mustard for mac-n-cheese sauce, scalloped potatoes or topping for steamed veggies. Stir in parmesan cheese for a spin on Alfredo sauce.


Use warmed milk to create the smoothest sauce. It uses an extra pan but it is worth it to ensure a velvety sauce. Craft a thicker sauce by using 3 tablespoons each butter and flour but do not increase the milk. If using a bay leaf for flavor, remove before serving.


Coconut Curry

Recipe Information

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Fragrant and flavorful - this easy Thai-style curry sauce is breeze to put together


  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 2 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. finely-minced garlic

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. prepared curry paste or curry powder (see recipe below)

  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 tsp. sugar (or to taste)

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

  • 1 13.5-ounce can of light coconut milk (we like Field Day)

  • salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, combine coconut milk and soy sauce. Set aside.

  2. In a wok or medium-sized skillet, add oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add red pepper flakes, garlic, and curry paste or powder. Stir-fry until fragrant - about 15 minutes.

  3. Add coconut milk mixture and heat until it lightly begins to boil. Add basil leaves and gently boil until the sauce is lightly thickened.

Serving Suggestions

Serve over steamed rice and veggies or with pad thai rice noodles. Add cooked chicken, pork or seafood to make it an entrée. Cubed baked tofu is a protein-rich substitute for meat.


Curry Powder Recipe

Prepared curry paste is great for when you’re in a pinch for time, but freshly prepared curry powder comes together quickly and there’s no match for the fresh flavors.


  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric

  • 2 tbsp. ground coriander

  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin

  • 1 tsp. white pepper

  • 1-4 tsp. red chili flakes (or cayenne if you’re not messing around)

  • pinch of ground clove

  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Mix spices together minus bay leaves and heat in a dry skillet over medium-high heat while stirring continuously for one minute.

  2. Reduce heat to medium and continue heating and stirring for 6-10 minutes to toast herbs and release their aroma.

  3. Remove from heat. Add 1-2 whole bay leaves to the curry powder mix while cooking with other ingredients. Remove bay leaves before serving.


Store curry powder in an air-tight container for up to one year.

Corinne WhitmillComment