Creamy, spicy, tart or rich, sauces are elemental to good cooking. What would a salad be without vinaigrette? Or mac and cheese without bechamel? Here, CanolaInfo highlights the "Six Sauces for Success," a collection of easy recipes made with canola oil that are indispensable to delicious and healthful home cooking.
"Knowing how to prepare basic, simple sauces is an important culinary skill," said registered dietitian Sarah-Jane Bedwell, author of "Schedule Me Skinny." "While you probably can find store-bought versions, homemade sauces will taste better, cost less and be better for you, especially when made with high-quality ingredients like fresh herbs and canola oil."
Vinaigrette – Cooking 101 starts here with the simple combination of oil and vinegar. Other ingredients (lemon juice, herbs, mustard, etc.) make vinaigrette variations endless. Canola oil is excellent for vinaigrettes because of its neutral taste and light texture as shown in this Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette. Moreover, canola oil-based dressings remain free-flowing in the refrigerator due to the oil's low saturated fat content.
Pesto – A dollop of this basil puree delivers a shot of fresh flavor to far more than pasta. Think soup, grilled fish or a platter of roasted vegetables for starters. CanolaInfo's Classic Pesto takes advantage of canola oil's mildness to let the basil and garlic flavors shine.
Marinade – This is every griller's best friend, boosting taste and texture before cooking even starts. Canola oil is a good choice for marinades, as in this Honolulu Barbecue Marinade, because its high heat tolerance (smoke point of 468 degrees F) can take the heat on the grill.
Tomato Sauce – Simple, fresh and healthy, tomato sauce goes with just about everything. Canola oil, which contains half the saturated fat of olive oil, keeps it heart-healthy in this All-Purpose Tomato Sauce. Once you make your own, you'll never go back to a jar.
Bechamel – Also called "white sauce," bechamel is one of the five classic French "mother sauces" that's migrated to other cuisines. Using canola oil instead of butter to make the roux (fat and flour cooked together) significantly reduces the sauce's saturated fat content. Try it in Creamy Mac and Cheese.
Gravy – Like bechamel, this sauce is thickened by a roux, but one that's been cooked until brown and nutty in aroma. It tastes rich, but can still be heart-smart and light if made with canola oil and chicken broth such as this Porcini Mushroom Gravy.
"CanolaInfo's 'Super Six' list includes classic sauces that I make all the time," Bedwell said. "What sets them apart from other sauce recipes is that they're made with heart-healthy canola oil, which contains the least saturated fat and most plant-based omega-3 fat of all common vegetable oils."