Three Home Made Sauces You Should Never Be Without

Although I must confess to buying pre-made spreads and sauces for the sake of convenience, here’s are the three I usually make at home. Keep these on hand, and you’re always ready to dine – or evenentertain – in style. Each of them can be used in myriad different ways.

1. Pizza/Pasta Sauce 

Pasta sauce

Pasta sauce

2 large onions, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp dried or fresh herbs (basil, oregano, and thyme work best)
1/2 cup red wine
12 cups peeled and seeded fresh ripe tomatoes (reserve the juice)
salt and pepper to taste

Make it: Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or saucepan. Add the onions and cook on medium heat until they soften and brown, then add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or so more. Add the tomatoes and their juice and stir. Lower heat and cook for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Use it: In sandwiches. On pizza. As a cold dip for bread sticks or raw vegetables. As a marinade for grilled vegetables or fish. Pureed and heated up as a soup. On pasta: Toss over boiled pasta, adding sliced black olives and any sliced cold cuts or cooked vegetables you have on hand, then top with grated cheese for a complete meal.

2. Hummus 



2 cups boiled chickpeas (channa)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tsp cumin
Garlic to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp tahini (optional)
Water as required

Make it: Place all ingredients in a blender and mix to a smooth, thick paste, adding a minimal amount of water, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency.

Use it: As a dip for tortilla chips or raw vegetables. As a spread in a sandwich, pita, or wrap. On crostini as an appetizer. Thinned down, heated up, and served as chickpea soup. Or, stirred into other soups as a thickener instead of cream and butter. As a side to a salad. As a mayonnaise substitute.

3. Pesto 

Basil pesto

Basil pesto

1/4 cup pine nuts (or shelled walnut), lightly toasted and crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Make it: Place all ingredients in a mortar and pestle (or food processor if you want a shortcut), and blend to a thick, grainy paste.

Use it: As a marinade for fish or chicken. As a spread on bread. As a garnish for soup. In pasta. With vinegar and pepper as a salad vinaigrette. Heated up in a little cream as an accompanying sauce for meats. In mashed potato for a burst of flavor.


4 thoughts on “Three Home Made Sauces You Should Never Be Without

  1. Totally agree with the list, but would add Salsas.The main ingredient being tomatoes, pineapple, mango, papayas…. the list goes on. Any fruit works.

    • Hey Bina: Thanks for reading. I love salsas, as dips. IMO, although they are delish, they aren’t as versatile as these… if you disagree with that view, please let me know the various ways in which a salsa can be used.

    • Hi Purbasha, I love guacamole – unfortunately, it doesn’t keep very well, and turns black when exposed to air. So while yes, I do agree that it is a versatile dip – no, I do not think it is feasible to make it ahead and keep it on hand for quick use.

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