Add A Ton Of Flavor To Any Dish (Zero Calorie Sauce)

Zero Calorie Flavor

July 13, 2012   22 Comments

Do you like your food to taste really good? For example, after serving a potential partner a meal, do you want a marriage proposal?

Well, I have the sauce for YOU. I am talking about hot sauce, baby. This stuff will make any dish have the zing of a restaurant meal without adding any calories.

We all know that restaurants are famous for slathering on the butter (see: Grilled Salmon Fiasco), salt, and whatever else they can find to make you come back.

I happen to believe that if you are smart about it, you can season food without hardly any calories and have it taste restaurant good.

Here are some suggestions for adding zero calorie zip:

  • Chopped fresh herbs. I have a basil plant on my window sill because I am too lazy to go out into the yard to pick it. I find myself adding it to salsas, salads, sauces, etc.
  • Fresh lime or lemon juice. I LOVE squeezing a lemon all over the place. Yes, it can be an expensive habit but the flavor is so much better than the bottled stuff.
  • Hot sauce. Most hot sauces are less than 5 calories per TABLESPOON and you aren’t gonna use that much.

My favorites are above - Tabasco, Chipotle Tabasco, Habanero Tabasco, and D’Elidas (someone sent me this one in the mail - thanks!).

The grocery store is filled with all kinds of hot sauces from around the globe. Sriracha “Rooster Sauce” has been all over the cooking websites and I can find it in my local Stop & Shop.

I put hot sauce in a lot of my food. I eat it in my beans and rice, eggs, currys, chili, potato salad, pasta sauce, oatmeal, tuna fish..... If I didn’t have kids that freak out at the sight of pepper, I would use it even more.

For those of you who fear spice, there are a bunch of sauces on the milder side that will still add punch to your dish.

Do you love hot sauce? Please share what you use and how you use it.

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First 20 Comments: [ see all 22 ]

Don't forget buffalo wing sauce. Just choose the low-cal kind, and then make this healthy spicy stir fry:

on July 13, 2012

Putting some Cholula hot sauce on my eggs as I type! :p

on July 13, 2012

I love hot sauce too! I make my own that way there are no additives or artificial sugars, etc.

on July 13, 2012

Great post! I recently discovered the Chipoltle Tabasco (yum!) and was given some Siriracha sauce - good on brown rice with veggies!

I got this great sauce at my local farmer's market last week - more of a vinegary jerk-type sauce - can't wait to try it on grilled chicken. Here's the link if anyone is interested:

But, hot sauce on oatmeal, Snack Girl? Are you trying to make sure we're really reading?

on July 13, 2012

If you are watching your sodium intake, you need to be careful. Often times, they are loaded with salt, per tablespoon. Same with store bought salsa. My favorite one, On The Border, is about 140mg per TBSP. :-( My favorite hot sauce, Frank's, is 200mg per tsp. It is very easy to lather it on.

on July 13, 2012

A lot of people I know can't handle it,but I like ghost pepper hot sauce. I usually find these in specialty hot sauce shops or at international markets and shops. It is way hotter than even habenero but t is so good if you have a high threshold to spicy hot food.

on July 13, 2012

before I moved into a house with a much smaller kitchen, my previous one was decorated with other 100 hot sauces.... and I had that same amount that I would eat as well! love love love it...
Oatmeal, though... hmmm.. are you just being silly, or do you REALLY do that? I try my best to like oatmeal, but can only tolerate it once over a long period of time. perhaps you are on to something?

on July 13, 2012

A friend and I used to go to a local "California burrito" place about once a week and they had a bottle of "chile de arbol" sauce on each table. They'd fill them up each morning. We'd arrive shortly after opening and between our two lunches, we'd down about 2/3 of a bottle. (One time, a manager came over and said, "You know you can buy that from us, right?" :)

Well, I used to (almost!) drink hot sauces of various types (salsa, too) and a few months ago, I saw a recommendation of a hot sauce from Trader Joes. It was very yummy, but when I read the label, I saw that it had xanthan gum in it.

I didn't know what xanthan gum was (other than barely being pronounceable), so I checked it out.

It looks like views on it are divided: one camp treats it (and a product with a similar function, guar gum) as no-big-deal and the other camp views it as a MSG-like compound which "can lead to the destruction of NMDA, quisqualate and kainate receptors in the brain."

I don't know what any of those receptors are, but I do know that my reaction to stuff that has MSG-like substances (and the list is long, from what I'm told) in it is like that of an addict: I crave the food/sauce and find it very difficult to stop shoveling it in my mouth.

I've since found a few hot sauces which only contain real ingredients like peppers, water, vinegar, salt and since those don't seem to spark my addictive reaction, I think that's the right path for me. (The "regular" Tabasco sauce is one such "real" product.)

Whether you steer clear of the xanthan/guar gum-containing sauces or not, I agree with Lisa -- these really can add a great amount of yumminess with almost no caloric cost.

on July 13, 2012

Sadly, I have developed allergic reactions to any kind of red pepper and also lime and lemon!!! Ugh! My husband goes through the Frank's Red Hot sauce like crazy, though.

on July 13, 2012

After my first trip to Mexico, I came back craving the fresh taste of their wonderful sauces and salsas. Fresh cilantro mixed into jarred salsa works, and I was pleased to discover that I can purchase "Cholula Sauce" at just about any grocery store -- even Christmas Tree Shoppe -- and there, at a great reduction in cost. I like that it's not too hot -- just the right amount of heat for my palate.

on July 13, 2012

We use Texas Pete, but I also like the Chipotle Tabasco (haven't seen it in stores, only in the Chipotle restaurants) and Frank's Red Hot.

Sometimes we mix it with a little stir fry sauce, ketchup, barbecue, whatever depending on what we're eating, but we use it straight a lot too.

I also put it in my chili, which elicits "Argh it's so hot but soooooo good" responses from my husband.

on July 13, 2012

I wish I liked hot sauce more. I always break into a sweat even with the mild ones. I definitely use your suggestions on lots of herbs and fresh lemon and lime juice. I also seems to use a lot of vinegar especially red wine vinegar. Obsessed with it.

on July 13, 2012

@Maria & @Amy - I am so glad you are actually reading! Everybody says - no one reads on the web :)
Oatmeal can be a savory dish too. Add scallions, soy sauce, roasted cashews, and a dash of hot sauce - does that sound good to you?

on July 13, 2012

Use it ( hot sauce) all the time. The best part is my husband loves it. ( on everything!)

on July 13, 2012

LOVE hot sauce. But yes, sodium can be a killer - and some are not calorie-free (but usually still have few cals - just be aware if you're watching cals.). And re oatmeal - I thought "ah, I knew I liked Snack Girl!" when I read that - I make savory oatmeal now and then - with a fried egg on top and hot sauce rocks on that!

on July 13, 2012

I love siracha! I use it on top of omlettes and find I don't even need the cheese inside anymore. I also use it in tuna, salmon patties, stir frys, cold peanut sesame noodles, and pasta sauce!

on July 13, 2012

Ok, I just have to add my family's favorite hot sauce since I don't see it mentioned here. We love all the varieties of The Pepper Plant brand hot sauces. Even my teenage girls who hate any kind of fresh peppers like this sauce :) I agree with you Lisa, hot sauce is awesome - just a dash takes a plain bowl of steamed cabbage from blah to yum!

on July 13, 2012

Love Hot Sauce on everything. Just had some eggs & black beans with a hint of tabasco! Yum!

on July 14, 2012

hot sauce mixed into peanut butter makes a great pj sandwich

on July 15, 2012

Have to agree on the Sriracha “Rooster Sauce”!

on July 16, 2012

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