A Few Good Sauces for the Solo Cook

Cooking for One

While having a few good sauces tucked away in your refrigerator is sound advice for all cooks, it has a particular usefulness to those who regularly cook solo. Why? It often takes the single cook a little longer to work through leftovers. A big pot of beans or rice, or a whole roast chicken, can get a little boring without some variety and there's nothing like having stash of a few homemade sauces to perk up even the most basic leftovers.

Many sauces will keep in the refrigerator for several days and some can even be frozen. Having a few of these flavor blasts on hand is a simple way to turn a ho-hum chicken breast into something fresh and tasty,

Here's a list of some of my favorite sauces. Many can be made in smaller batches or frozen. Some, like pesto, can be purchased premade but often taste best when you make them yourself

Pesto. Who hasn't turned to a scoop of pesto to enliven a plate of spaghetti or dress up an omelet? And don't forget you can make a pesto with other herbs besides basil, such as mint or a mixture of herbs such as oregano, parsley and rosemary.

Magic Sauce. (Pictured above.) This one comes from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks and it's one of my favorite sauces to keep on hand. Similar to a chimichurri, it is a bold and vibrant blend of herbs, garlic, olive oil and paprika. Like Heidi, I drizzle it on soups, cook eggs in it, toss it with pasta. It also make a great marinade and grilling sauce.

Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce. This is also a 101 Cookbooks recipe and like the Magic Sauce, it's a winner. Drizzle it on steamed vegetables, swirl it into soups or thin it out and use it as a soup base, use it to reheat a leftover chicken breast or cook up a few prawns.

Romesco Sauce. This Spanish sauce made with nuts, garlic and roasted red peppers is fantastic with fish, poultry or pork. It also makes a great sandwich spread.

Sauce Gribiche. Sauce Gribiche is a cold sauce and is traditionally made with herbs, capers, mustard, hard boiled eggs and olive oil. Some people make it into a creamy, mayo-like sauce and others treat it more like a vinaigrette. Molly at Orangette offers up both versions here. Either way, this is an excellent sauce for cold meats, spooned over potatoes and asparagus (warm or room temperature) or served with cold poached fish.

What's your favorite sauce to keep on hand?

Related: Essential Weeknight Recipe: Korean Seasoning Sauce

(Image: Heidi Swanson/101 Cookbooks)

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.

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