Something essential to homecooked meals is a good sauce! Whole grains, cooked vegetables, salads, and proteins are full of nutrition but need extra flavoring to make you want to eat them again, right? I’m always on the lookout for sauces, marinades, and dressings that aren’t loaded with added sugar and salt because I counsel so many people with diabetes, heart conditions, and kidney disease. I won’t be able to convince them to eat more whole foods if they don’t taste great. Even though I have some easy DIY salad dressing recipes and talk about sodium-free herb blends, I appreciate ready-to-go versions. For myself I regularly use a Wegman’s Thai peanut sauce and a low-fat honey mustard dressing. I also recently learned about a cool line of sauces from Kevin’s Natural Foods. They have somewhere between 115-280 mg sodium per serving, even their BBQ and teriyaki versions—which usually have closer to 400-500 mg per serving!
Because I love Indian dishes, I tried out the Tikka Masala sauce and made it plant-based by adding tofu and chickpeas instead of the usual chicken. Starting out with a prepared sauce makes the entire dish so much easier and quicker. Almost feel like I’m cheating, since I don’t have to worry about getting the right blend of complex spices like curry or garam masala. There’s only 200 mg of sodium and 1 gm added sugar in a 1/4 cup serving (= 4 tablespoons). Many prepared sauces easily contain 300-400 mg sodium in just 2 tablespoons. The flavor is pretty authentic and is moderately spicy. I was actually surprised that it tasted saltier than expected (though as leftovers the next day it was perfect). For texture I added thinly sliced cucumbers and sesame seeds to the rice—you wouldn’t think this was needed but these two extra ingredients really made a difference. To save more time, you can use precooked rice in the microwaveable packages.
Definitely satisfies when I can’t get to my favorite Indian restaurant!
VEGETARIAN TIKKA MASALA (serves 2)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1 package Kevin’s Natural Foods Tikka Masala Sauce
Half a 14 oz. package firm tofu, drain and dice tofu
15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained
2 cups cooked basamati rice (or any rice you like)
1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and saute until onions soften.
- Turn heat to medium. Add entire package of Kevin’s Tikka Masala sauce and stir into onions.
- Add the tofu and then the chickpeas. Stir to combine.
- Continue to heat mixture for about 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Place cooked basmati rice in a large bowl; add sesame seeds and stir through.
- To serve, place 1 cup of basmati rice and half the sauce into a bowl. Layer cucumber slices on top.
It’s likely you won’t have leftovers, but if you do, this will last in the refrigerator for several more days. Just reheat!