(PCM) Sauces are essential to satisfying cuisine – imagine a life of dry spaghetti, salsa-less chips or fries without ketchup to dip in. Scary, right?
So why do we honor National Sauce Month in March, as opposed to every day of the year? Our internet investigations turned up no clear answer. However, there does seem to be a natural tie-in with another month-long March celebration, National Nutrition Month®.
Nutrition Month is all about promoting healthy habits. Making changes in your diet (such as reducing salts or fats and increasing your fruit and veggie intake) is a great place to start; but it’s also, sometimes, super hard to do. If you’ve got the lean chicken breast and steamed broccoli blues, why not spice things up with an exciting sauce or two?
Many of our favorite comfort foods include heavy sauces made delicious by dairy and fats, like butter, cream, or cheese. Thanks to the information age, you can find low-fat, health-conscious versions of these recipes with just a click of the mouse or a jog down the cookbook aisle. If carbs, gluten, or other allergens are your problem, that’s no problem either! Modern supermarket shelves abound with alternatives. In our house we whip up an easy allergy-friendly Béchamel using soy-free vegetable “butter” spread, white rice flour, and coconut milk.
Other classic sauces are naturally low-fat and nutritious. Tomato-based options like marinara or bbq, hot sauce, sofrito, salsa and, yes, ketchup can still be a part of your dietary repertoire. Look for low-sugar brands or recipes, and, where needed, use heart-healthy fats like olive oil. Let veggies, vinegars, and spices bring the flavor zing you crave.
But don’t feel you have to stick to the old and familiar! Other healthy sauce ideas? How about honey-mustard, pesto, hummus, soy sauce (especially low-salt), kimchi, fish sauce, orange-zested cranberry sauce, pureed strawberries with a dash of balsamic vinegar, or olive oil laced with garlic, pepper, and basil – for starters. Keep looking, ask around, or invent your own!
National Sauce Month is thirty-one days long. What wondrous sauce flavors will you savor this month?