Flavour enhancers for boring meals

We prepare a lot of simple, repetitive dishes for budgetary reasons, to feed a multitude of kids with different likes/dislikes, & because both my partner & I experience digestive upset in some form or another (GERD, IBS IBSD, etc). It’s a steady diet of healthy whole foods, awesome in so many ways but yawn what a snooze-fest, lol.
Lately I’ve been looking for ways to spice up the foundation dishes of whole grains, veg, & protein & I found some really great saucy ideas.

This dude is one of my favourite utubers:
I made some quick pickles & what he calls “freshi sauce”, it’s all so, SO good. It doesn’t look like much but I could drink that parsley sauce, wow. I did add a few more things since mine was too watery, a bit of mustard, maple syrup, & mayo. & I subbed dill for the mint.

Tomorrow we’ll try out his tomato chipotle sauce from that video, it looks very good & super easy.

This guy’s cilantro sauce looks ah-mazing, that’s also on the list.

Here’s a roasted beet dip that I will for sure love, beets are delish!

& 10 more sauces to try another time, whew.

@MistressJennie’s white bean dip & pickled red onions are on the list for tomorrow too. (& now I see she likes the same guy as me!)

Do you have a flavour blaster recipe you want to share? I’ll try anything that isn’t too spicy, or can be made less spicy & still be good. My NYE resolution is going to be no more restaurant food unless it’s a really special occasion. Help a sister out!


If garlic is ok:

Add olive oil to a small saucepan. A couple tablespoons, or at least enough to cover the bottom.

Crush 1-2 cloves of garlic in a garlic crusher and place in the pan.

Start heating, keeping a close watch on the garlic pieces. You want fragrant and golden, not burnt bits. The garlic will keep cooking in the oil after removing it from the heat so to be safe when it starts to smell like cooked garlic you can remove it from the heat.

Remove from heat and pour the oil and garlic into a heat safe bowl to cool it down.

After it has cooled, mix the garlic oil and garlic bits with greek yoghurt. Season to taste (salt and black pepper is nice).

The base recipe I use says 1 dl yoghurt, 0,5 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove garlic, salt, black pepper. That’s for two servings. I tend to use a bit more olive oil to at least cover the bottom of my pan.

Great with roasted veggies! Sprinkle over some pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley for an extra pop of flavour to the veggies.


I love zhugg sauce and chimmichuri. I could eat both with a spoon.

I now have a sensitivity to garlic. So I go easy on the garlic and don’t eat them as often. Or use garlic infused oil instead of garlic.

And this salsa is made using canned tomatoes and is really good.

It makes a ton

I often will cook some sort of protein, some sort of grain, and some veggies. Store in the fridge and then for meals just make a bowl of what ever greens I have. Plus grains, veggie and protein. If I don’t have any protein cooked I’ll add an egg.

Then top with whatever sauce I have on hand.


Ah, came here to say chimichurri! So good, I would eat it on everything.


All these sauces look tasty, thanks! I like pomegranate a lot but as soon as one comes into the house my daughter eats the whole thing. Perhaps I could ask her to leave a small section for dinner, lol.
I have to minimize onion & garlic too but thankfully they are mostly only irritating when my system is already triggered. As long as I don’t pour fire on top of fire, I’m usually ok. I should pick up some hing spice to have on hand, it’s the same flavour without any indigestion discomfort. In fact, it’s used as a digestive! It’s latex related so not good for those with that allergy.

I’m meal planning for home & work lunches. I’m going to freeze some things to take to the office so there’s always something to eat & I won’t be tempted to go out!


I have hing spice but from what I’ve read you really need to heat activated it in oil for best results and not just dump in a recipe

Oh yes, it’s smells like bad eggs until it’s fried. Very off-putting indeed! But absolutely lovely when used properly.

Not much to add as historically I haven’t really done many sauces but I’m following along with this tread and taking notes! Eating more whole foods is high on my list of things to start doing more of and having sauces handy seems really helpful.

In general we cook with a lot of herbs and spices and are always going through cumin, thyme, rosemary, paprika, turmeric, coriander, oregano, basil, cayenne, fresh ground nutmeg, etc.


I tried to look up what zhugg sauce was and got so confused by the definition until I realized it was showing me a different word :joy:


These sound amazing!! I will have to try some.

I also love a good chimichurri, but never made one at home.

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We use a lot of herbs & spices too but after a while everything starts to taste samey. The extra sauces add a lil’ sumpin’ sumpin’, ya know?

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I remembered another yummy one.

Carrot Bearnaise

4 carrots (100 g total, so not gigantic carrots)
5-6 twigs of fresh tarragon (or use dry, but you’ll need less of it)
50 ml white wine vinegar
75 g room temperature butter

Peel and chop the carrots in thick slices. Boil in lightly salted water until soft.

Separate the leaves from the tarragon twigs. Place the twigs in a small saucepan with the vinegar. Simmer until the vinegar is reduced to half the original volume. Discard the twigs.

Blend the boiled carrots until smooth. Ilike to reserve a bit of the water in case I want to adjust the sauce later. Add the reduced vinegar, the tarragon leaves, and the butter (cut in smaller pieces). Blend until combined. Add more carrot water for a thinner sauce. Season to taste.

You could chop the tarragon leaves and stir them in last if you want control of how big chunks you get.


Whoa, wow. I will try this! Thanks for the recipe.
What do you serve it with?

About to start!

I also find plain water quite dull so will make a flavour booster for that.

Juiced a bunch of ginger, then simmered the pulp, strained it & deeply steeped some chamomile flowers in that liquid. I then added that tea concentrate to the juice & stirred in a bottle of seabuckthorn infused honey. 2 cubes in a liter of water adds a touch of lovely flavour & heat. Yum!


Anything I’d us a regular bearnaise sauce for. Works well with grilled meat for example. Or any meat, veggies, potato combo.


I will try it on all those things then, thanks!

So far I’ve made:
parsley freshi sauce, very tasty!
Quick pickles, delish!
Tomato chipotle sauce, omfg wow good
Cilantro sauce, again omfg wow good
Roasted beet dip, I LOVE IT!
Whitebean dip with parsley, super tasty!
Quick pickled red onion, those need to sit a day or so.

I’d say dinner tonight was a triumph.

This multi-purpose curry paste turned out beautifully.

And this broth recipe using chicken is simmering away.

Next will be a roasted tomato, onion & garlic pasta sauce.
After that I’ll go searching for nigella seeds or black cumin to make Bengali Five Spice Blend or Panch Phoron which you can keep in a spice mill & add to anything.


I think most of the flavors we add to food are spicy, other than fish sauce which adds an umami flavor. I think when my husband cooks that he adds it to pretty much everything. I was going to suggest House of Tsang’s peanut sauce to add to chicken salad, but I’m not sure what your spice tolerance is.

Infused olive oils can be quite tasty.

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The boys like spicy, I am a delicate little flower, lol.

Check out my turmeric manicure!

Kinda gross, actually.


I had a turmeric shot from trader Joe’s once. Haven’t used that spice since. Cumin is my fav spice, although I do love the smell of clove.


i’m with you on the cumin. love it. i put it almost everything.

@magpie - with the onions and garlic, is it raw, cooked or both that you have issues with? if its just raw, then i would maybe recommend caramelized onions or fried garlic. so easy and tasty on top of pretty much everything…but if its a no go either way…then probably not so much.

mostly though i go in for dips over sauces.