These awesome sauces can be served on pasta, rice, or even meat dishes or mashed potatoes… the possibilities are really exciting 😉
Butternut Squash Sauce with Sage
This gorgeous golden sauce packs a powerful nutritional punch, with lots of vitamins! You can also try this recipe with pumpkin instead of butternut squash–either way, this is a fantastic and very inexpensive fall recipe to try this year.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (we will explain how in this recipe!)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Optional: Cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 6 sage leaves, cut into thin strips
- Medium saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Prepare butternut squash: wash the outside of the squash. Cut off the top “stem”. Microwave on a microwave-safe dish for ~5 minutes, or until you can pierce easily with a fork. THE SQUASH WILL BE VERY HOT!! You can either wait for the squash to cool, or dunk it in a LARGE BOWL OF ICE WATER to help speed up the cooling. Then you can peel the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the insides, and cut the flesh into ~1/2-inch cubes.
- Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic.
- Add squash and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add bay leaf, nutmeg, sage, and chicken broth.
- Cover the pan and cook for 8 minutes, or until squash is tender.
- Puree the sauce with a blender until smooth.
- Serve over pasta of choice–pictured here is gnocchi!
- Add cheese of your choice.
Easy Marinara Sauce
Marinara is a classic tomato-based sauce that you can make in huge batches and store in the fridge in jars or freeze in zippered freezer bags. Making your own can take some time, but it’s a great way to cut down on salt (also known as sodium) in your diet. You could also select “low sodium” or “no sodium added” varieties of pre-made sauce, but nothing really tastes quite as good as homemade! Adding lentils, canned beans, ground meat, or canned tuna can complete this meal with a great source of protein.
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- Optional: 1/2 cup lentils or 1 can tuna
- Pasta of your choice
- Drizzle of oil of your choice to grease the pan
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Heat a small amount of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes with their juice. Crush and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in seasoning and lentils/tuna (if desired), and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Healthy Spaghetti Sauce Boosts
If you do want to use pre-made tomato/pasta sauce, adding lentils will boost protein without much additional cost. Lentils provide more than just protein–they are also a source of iron, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium. As always, you can add as much of any veggies you would like: 1/2 a package of frozen spinach or 1 can of drained mushrooms would also be delicious in this sauce!
- 1 can/jar of regular pasta sauce
- 1/2 can lentils, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp oil (canola or olive)
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced (OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Optional: 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning (or oregano +/- basil +/- parsley)
- Grater (for the carrot)
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, stirring, until sizzling.
- Add carrot (or other vegetables), lentils, and pasta sauce.
- Add the seasonings, if desired.
- Heat through until all ingredients are mixed and sauce is hot (bubbling slightly). Pour over prepared pasta and serve. Feel free to add some cheese!
This creamy, silky sauce is absolutely scrumptious over any pasta, and goes wonderfully with chicken. You can use any type of mushroom you like–button mushrooms are the least expensive, but feel free to use portobello, cremini, or any other type of mushroom. You can always mix and match! If you’re not a fan of leeks (or just don’t have any at home), you can use an onion instead.
If you want a super-fast version of this sauce (even though it won’t be the same), try using a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup with only ~1/4-1/2 a can of milk, and let it simmer over low heat to allow the sauce to thicken. Then you can serve over pasta or anything else of your choice.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 sage leaves, chopped
- 6oz mushrooms, washed and sliced
- 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
- 1/2 leek, roughly chopped
- Medium saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped leeks, garlic, and sage, and cook until leeks soften (about 3-5 minutes).
- Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Pour in cream and heat slowly. DO NOT “scald” the cream–keep stirring until bubbles begin to form, then bring the heat down (or remove from the heat) and continue to stir as the sauce thickens.
- Serve with pasta of your choice.