Dips, Dressings, Sauces

North Carolina BBQ Sauce

I don’t know why it took me so long to remember the excellent ribs we had at The Pit in Raleigh, North Carolina, back in 2013. The ribs, lacking the sticky sweetness I expected, were slow cooked in an amazing sauce of vinegar and hot sauce. They were tender and delicious:

The Pit Raleigh

I’ve been struggling with tomato-based rib sauces for a while now, because I eat low carb, and tomato-based sauces tend to be very sweet. Too sweet.

Last night, I made North Carolina style ribs, and they were phenomenal. Fall-off-the-bone tender, in fact the bones themselves were tender so we could extract yummy marrow out of them; wonderfully flavorful with just the right amount of heat, and they were not vinegary at all. They were delicious! So from now on, this is my go-to bbq sauce. Here’s how to make it: Click for the recipe

tomato sauce

I’ve got nothing against using a store-bought tomato sauce, as long as it doesn’t contain added sugar, flavoring, preservatives, or the all-mysterious “spices.” If the list of ingredients is clean, I go ahead and use it – it’s a huge time saver, and I really enjoy Rao’s spicy tomato sauce.

Having said that, sometimes I like to make my own quick homemade tomato sauce. It’s ready in 10 minutes, it’s very flavorful, and you can use it in so many ways – the obvious are as pasta sauce or pizza sauce, but you can also use it as a base for shakshuka or for baked eggs; cook meatballs in it; or use it as a topping for bruschetta.

I use the Pomi brand of chopped tomatoes for this recipe. I like this brand because it’s BPA-free, has no added sugar or salt, and also because the Italian tomatoes are sweeter than American canned diced tomatoes. Click for the recipe

Cabbage Pancakes

These delicious cabbage pancakes are my own low-carb interpretation of a classic Japanese dish, okonomiyaki. I was intrigued when I came across a recipe for cabbage pancakes online, but I wanted a low-carb version. So instead of the flour traditionally used in Japanese cabbage pancakes, I used just a little coconut flour. Coconut flour is very absorbent, so you can use just a little, without impacting the flavor.

We all loved the result – tender, tasty cabbage pancakes, and the spicy dipping sauce is phenomenal. I insist that you make it and use it! Without it, the pancakes are very good, but with it, they are amazing.

These cabbage pancakes make an excellent appetizer or side dish, but they are hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian main dish, if you serve 4 per person instead of 2. Click for the recipe

Tartar Sauce

An easy, healthy tartar sauce recipe that uses thick, creamy Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.

Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce, traditionally served with seafood. I prefer to make homemade tartar sauce because it’s easy, and because Store-bought tartar sauce is filled with junk – see the list of ingredients below*. Even organic tartar sauce from Whole Foods has a few ingredients that I’d rather avoid, such as soybean oil, sugar, gums and thickeners, and the all-mysterious “spices.”

I make my tartar sauce with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. It’s just as good, and much, much healthier. Since I use Greek yogurt, which is naturally tart, I find that there’s no need to add lemon juice or vinegar to this homemade tartar sauce. Click for the recipe

Paleo Barbecue Sauce

This super easy Paleo barbecue sauce is made with just a few simple ingredients and tastes just as good as sugar-laden store bought barbecue sauce. I used it last night with my pulled chicken recipe and it was amazing: very flavorful, with just the right balance of tangy and sweet. Click for the recipe

Tzatziki Recipe

I’ve been making this tzatziki recipe for several years now. I realize that tzatziki is considered a sauce that often accompanies grilled meats; but I love it as a chilled, summertime yogurt and cucumber soup. To achieve a soup-like consistency, simply add a little water – just as much as it takes to turn tzatziki from a thick sauce into a delightful, super-refreshing chilled soup. Click for the recipe

spicy barbecue sauce

This spicy barbecue sauce is delicious. The bonus: it’s free of the yucky additives typically added to store-bought barbecue sauces; it’s free of refined sugar; and it’s relatively low in sugars and carbohydrates. I find that there’s no need to add salt to this barbecue sauce, but do taste it when it’s done and salt to your own taste if you think it needs it. Click for the recipe