I don’t know if a lot of us can admit that we are or at least used to be procrastinators during some point in our lives. Come on, don’t be shy! On another note, there are times when procrastination is actually beneficial because it forces us to work under a time crunch. Senior year was the epitome of procrastination, not just for my classmates and I, but even my teachers and all of us as a collective. I can’t say that I’m out of the dangers of procrastination, but I’ve really been trying to step up my game with crossing everything off of my summer bucket list. And this is a seriously overdue recipe, but I can proudly say that I’ve NAILED my desire to create the best “blackened” BBQ recipe for the end of this summer EVER. However, before I get into that recipe, let’s talk condiments.
I use condiments all the time, pretty much on a daily basis because I douse everything in Sriracha or any kind of chili sauce for that matter. But of course, I also have to count salad dressings, stir-fry sauces and a lot of others that I’m not entirely aware of if I didn’t cook the meal. However, a lot of these condiments that are marketed towards us are extremely processed, loaded with sodium, artificial sweeteners, foreign chemicals, MSG, gluten, salts and sugars that we wouldn’t consume by themselves. It’s okay to have these sauces once in a while if you’re out and about, but they’re not ideal to have all the time. I’m not saying I’m perfect with this–in fact, I want to improve my condiment consumption! Instead of cutting out sauces, I plan on adding in a lot more healthier alternatives, homemade recipes as well as spices so that I won’t even crave the conventional stuff.
Speaking of which, I was thrilled to have found BareFoods Inc. on Instagram! If this is your first time hearing about this brand, BareFoods Inc. is basically an all-natural, wholesome company that is based in North Carolina and was started by the lovely couple Bob and Diana Carroll who both wanted to balance work/family life with clean eating, and did so successfully by creating their own dressings, spice mixes and marinades that are all made from completely high quality, nutritious and easy-to-pronounce ingredients! I truly love how passionate the two of them are about promoting a healthy lifestyle through foods that eliminate the junk without sacrificing flavor. BareFoods Inc. was so kind to have sent me a free sample of their sauces: 7 Herb Italian, Sweet Mustard and Spicy Soppin’ Sauce. They also have a ton of other varieties such as Asian Ginger, Raspberry Vinaigrette as well as their own taco seasoning mix, so I will link their website at the end of this post for you to check out their products that I highly recommend you try.
Below I have individually reviewed each sauce and enjoy them all. A few things that you should definitely know about these sauces are that they are all suitable for those on a gluten free diet, Paleos, diabetics, ketos and anybody trying to lose weight or clean up their diets. You will find the links to these sauces’ pages embedded in their titles so that you can evaluate the ingredients and know what the sauces look like.
- 7 HERB ITALIAN: The flavor of this sauce is relatively bitter, a little sour and slightly tangy from the mix of spices. I found that this dressing tastes the best in an arugula salad with roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, as well as mixed greens, iceberg lettuce, Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, pretty much a lot of vegetables and some select fruits. Overall, this is a very Earthy, refreshing dressing that is also wonderful for any season. While it can be used as a marinade for cooking meat, I prefer it as a dressing for raw, fresh salads rather than as a marinade just because I’m not the biggest fan of Italian or any Western-style marinade, with the exception of Cajun.
- SWEET MUSTARD: Now I’ve never been the biggest fan of mustard as a Team Ketchup kid. However, I recently got into the taste of Dijon mustard because I love the spicy sourness of it. I actually like the taste of it with kale, arugula, Romaine, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, even fruits! This dressing definitely goes with a lot more foods than the 7 Herb Italian because the sweetness of it complements almost anything. I mostly use it in no-cooking dishes such as salads, but a drizzle of it on grilled vegetables, tofu, beans or even seafood tastes amazing too.
- SPICY SOPPIN’: Hands down my FAVORITE sauce of the bunch! This is basically a bikini competitor’s dream barbecue sauce. For 120 calories a bottle, you get the flavors of sweet, spicy, savory and umami that really amps up the energy of any dish! I enjoyed it on omelets, on top of my tofu, chicken, veggies and as a marinade for tofu and vegetable salads (which I’ve created a recipe for down below). It’s not nearly as spicy as I anticipated, but I blame my extremely high spice tolerance for that. I’m sure that for most of you, this sauce will taste spicy enough, but either way, I absolutely love this sauce and will purchase it again very soon. I was so upset when I ran out of all of it!
The sauces I’ve tried are so delicious and completely guilt-free! Each dressing is much lower in calories, sodium and sugar than their average counterparts, and they are sweetened with organic Stevia–Stevia in itself is a huge winner in my book, and the fact that it’s organic in these sauces is a MAJOR MAJOR bonus! There were no sauces that I really did not like, which means that I don’t have to worry about throwing anything away and I look forward to using all of them. They’re pretty versatile in terms of flavor and use, they’re allergen friendly, they taste very similar to what they need to replicate and what their label says, so honestly, you cannot go wrong.
One con is that these sauces are only available in their home state, which is North Carolina. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase everything online. Another minor con is that the website mentions that their sauces are HCG friendly. The HCG diet is a fad weight loss diet that promotes eating 500 calories a day and injecting yourself with the same hormone that women produce during pregnancy. I know that this has nothing to do with the company or products themselves, but it only serves as further promotion of a diet that is unsustainable and frankly very unhealthy. On the other hand, I am totally sure that the majority of health-conscious consumers already know the dangers of the HCG diet, so it’s not that big of a deal.
I am seriously so happy that I found BareFoods Inc. because I’ve always been a sucker for condiments! But given that a lot of condiments on the market are extremely fattening, salty and unhealthy in their own ways, I’m limited to spices and homemade recipes that call for too many hard-to-find ingredients. But with BareFoods Inc. condiments available online, it makes healthy and flavorful cooking that much easier. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, clean up your diet or if you just want explore different brands of sauces, then this company is for you!
Now that we’ve raved about BareFoods Inc., its mantra and its sauces, let’s get onto the recipe!
I decided to share one recipe that uses the Spicy Soppin’ sauce and Sweet Mustard sauce because I found them the tastiest and most versatile, plus they complement a recipe that is so appropriate for the summer season. Besides, it’s the Rio Olympics of 2016 right now, and I can imagine how many parties are going to fire up a grill and load up on hearty, smoky foods! The original video does say that the sweet mustard dressing is optional, but after some thought and tests without it, I knew I thought wrong–the sweet mustard dressing just adds this incredible zing of flavor and mustardy zest that I absolutely adore!
You can exchange the vegetables for any kind you wish, but these three happen to be my favorite. Bell peppers, zucchinis, butternut squash, kabocha, broccoli, any vegetable that’s solid and dense work best for this recipe. Alternatively, you can also use this marinade recipe for lean proteins such as tofu, tempeh, or animal protein such as salmon, chicken, steak, whitefish or turkey if you are not vegan.
- 1 cup of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 cup of Brussel sprouts, sliced
- 3 mini Japanese eggplants, sliced (approximately 1 cup sliced eggplant)
- 5 TBSP BareFoods Inc. Spicy Soppin’ sauce
- 1 TBSP BareFoods Inc. Sweet Mustard dressing
- 1 TBSP Sriracha sauce
- 1 1/2-2 tsp Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce (opt.)
- 1 tsp Trader Joe’s mango ginger chutney (opt.)
- 2-3 TBSP water to mix
- Set the oven on broil or preheat the oven to 550F.
- Rinse and cut your vegetables accordingly.
- Mix in all of your condiments in a large, wide and deep-dish bowl very thoroughly, adding water if necessary.
- If marinading overnight, pour the sauce mixture into a large bag.
- Evenly coat all of your vegetables in the marinade in the bag or in the bowl if not leaving them overnight.
- Spread the vegetables on a lined baking tray and broil for 10-15 minutes.