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When I started eating healther simplicity was the secret ingredient. Once I felt armed with just a few recipes that were not only fast and easy but also delicious, it became a lot easier to be consistent with eating healthy.
In Episode 010 of The Plan Podcast I talked about food and my approach to healthy eating, which I call the 80/20 rule. I focus on eating whole, healthy foods 80% of the time, and 20% of the time I eat whatever I want. Lunch is a meal where it is easy for me to pack in a lot of vegetables and nutrients, and creating a “lunchtime bowl” has become one of my favorite rituals. I often get asked to share the recipes for these, and I’m always complexed because they aren’t much of a recipe. But, this is also kind of a “teach a man to fish” moment, so here’s the secret: if you know how to make The Magic Sauce you’ll discover endless posibilities for healthy meals.
I call this Magic Sauce because it’s so versatile and just one added ingredient change can create an entirely different dish. It’s so packed with satisfying flavor that you can drizzle it over a bowl of spinach or pile of vegetables and you nearly forget that what you’re eating is healthy. Wanna get in on The Magic Sauce action? Here’s the potion:
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos (a healthier alternative to soy sauce, but either one works)
1 tsp sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)
That’s the base of the recipe and creates about 1 serving. Those 3 ingredients are staples in our kitchen and we always have them on hand. The basic sauce is delicious by itself! If you don’t like spicy food try making it with just 2 ingredients and leaving out the sriracha — it’ll still make a wonderful, healthy base and you can experiment with the alternate ingredients below to find a combination you like. You don’t have to add anything else to your base recipe of Magic Sauce, but the magic is that you can add other stuff, and the options are endless. Here are some of our favorite things to mix in:
Citrus (lemon, lime, or orange)
Olive Oil (to thin it out, more like a salad dressing)
Apple Cider or Wine Vinegar (again, to create more of a dressing)
Using pure maple syrup instead of honey
Skipping the hot sauce (so just honey and liquid aminos.)
Try dijon or spicy mustard instead of sriracha (great on wings!)
Cayenne or Chili Powder
Coarse Sea Salt
Fresh Black pepper
If you aren’t familiar with Bragg Liquid Aminos here’s a crash course: you can find it at most health food stores, some groceries stores, and of course on Amazon. It’s basically the same thing as soy sauce — both are extracted from soybeans — but Bragg is known for using only non-GMO soybeans and purified water to make their signautre aminos. Bragg Liquid Aminos are also preservative free, kosher, and gluten free. Whereas many soy sauce brands contain added salt/sodium, alcohol, sometimes sweeteners, and often have wheat (making them not gluten-free). Either one will work in this recipe, but swapping out your soy sauce for a bottle of Bragg Liquid Aminos is a really simple swap and can be used as a 1:1 replaement for soy sauce in all your favorite recipes.
Another tip is to buy jars of minced ginger and garlic and keep them on hand. This makes it really fast to whip up the sauce without worrying about mincing ginger or garlic (or having either fresh option on hand). You can find these jars of minced herbs at most grocery stores or Asian markets.
How you make the sauce is up to you. Sometimes it’s nice to have it mixed into the dish like a sauce, and sometimes I like it drizzed over the top or on the side as a dipping sauce.
If I’m making stirfry I will usually cook the meat in olive oil, then remove it from the pan and set it aside in a bowl. I’ll add a bit more olive oil to the pan and sautee the veggies, and when the veggies are almost done cooking I’ll move them out of the center of the pan to create a small well, turn the heat down to about medium-low, and start by adding the liquid aminos, then the honey, then the sriracha and any additional herbs or flavorings. You can also just combine the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk with a fork. It can help to start with 1 tsp hot water and the honey, and stir them together until they are combined, then add your liquid aminos, hot sauce, or herbs.
Want to try The Magic Sauce in action to get some practice? Head over to this blog post and try out my recipe for a Glazed Shrimp Salad (which uses just the base sauce) or try this recipe for Gingered Beef Bowls (which uses a spicy ginger variation).