Kitchn Love Letters

The One-Ingredient Upgrade That Makes Dinners Taste Better — Plain and Simple

updated Feb 5, 2021
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Credit: Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy

Over the past year, my husband and I quickly realized that we are both pretty terrible home cooks. Meal prepping takes too much time and we just don’t have the bandwidth to come up with impressive flavor combinations. While we love restaurant takeout every now and then, I’m a registered dietitian, so preparing nutritious meals at home is my top priority.

Instead of suffering through less-than-stellar homemade creations, I started exploring the many pre-made sauces available at the grocery store to give our dishes some extra oomph. Thankfully there are many options out there that are made with quality ingredients and no preservatives — which fill my registered dietitian heart with joy.

Credit: Chosen Foods

After kissing a few sauce “frogs,” I finally found my prince: Chosen Foods Spanish Romesco Simmer Sauce. This jarred sauce has become my secret weapon for super-delicious, fancy-tasting dinners that are equal parts healthy and easy. Made with avocado oil, roasted red pepper, fire-roasted tomatoes, onion, almonds, red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, and sea salt, this sauce helps me get amazing meals on my dinner table in less than 20 minutes. Can I make a similar sauce on my own? Probably. Will I? Not a chance — especially when I can just open up a jar.

Buy: Chosen Foods Romesco Simmer Sauce, $11.99

To enjoy, I simply pop the jar open, heat up the sauce, and pour it over a protein for an easy enhancement that gives any dish a serious burst of flavor. On occasion, I will simmer veggies along with the sauce for a more substantially sized dish. I’ll even use it as a dip for crackers while I’m whipping up my meal. 

Credit: Lauren Manaker

My family’s favorite way to eat it is atop broiled salmon, served with Path of Life Microwavable Mediterranean Quinoa and sautéed spinach and garlic. Without much effort, this balanced dish is still oh-so delicious. 

Plant-based, gluten-free, non-GMO, preservative-free, soy-free, and canola oil-free, this sauce checks all the boxes when it comes to being considered a better-for-you home option. For the “I hate to cook but I want a good meal that I can prepare at home” kind of cook, Chosen Foods Spanish Romesco Simmer Sauce is the way to go. If you can open a jar, you can make a meal that’s delicious.

What’s your go-to simmer sauce?