By Barrie Rogers, Debbie Dooly

Sauces can be what makes good dinners great. What people remember about a meal may be the sauce you served with that steak. The extras make a meal memorable. Plus, they can help bulk up a meal and provide more nutrients. Because chilies are used in so many sauces for heat, here’s a recipe for chia seed chili sauce that you can use at any meal.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/DianePeacock]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/DianePeacock

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 24 servings

6 red chilies

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large tomatoes

1/4 cup whole chia seeds

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups chicken stock

  1. Tear the chilies roughly into quarters and remove the seeds, but reserve them for use later.

  2. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the torn chilies. Simmer for 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the reserved chili seeds, allspice, pepper, and cinnamon over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the seeds are lightly toasted.

  4. Cut X’s into the bottoms of the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water and allow to sit for a few minutes, until the skins soften.

    Remove the skins and the seeds from the tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes roughly.

  5. In a blender, put the chilies and the water they were cooked in. Add to the blender the chili seed and spice mixture, the chopped tomatoes, and the chia.

    Blend for 1 or 2 minutes until well combined. Pour this puree back into the saucepan.

  6. Add the garlic, salt, and chicken stock to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

    Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir the sauce often to prevent it from sticking.

  7. Serve the sauce immediately. Store any unused sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Per serving: Calories 18 (From Fat 7); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 143mg; Carbohydrate 2g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 1g.

Following is a ranking of the heat of common chili peppers. The scale is from 0 to 10, with 10 being the hottest:

Chili Pepper Heat
Amarillo 4–5
Anaheim 2–3
Bird@’s eye 7–9
Cayenne 6–7
Chipotle 6–10
Habanero 8–9
Jalapeño 5–7
Poblano 3
Scotch bonnet 10
Serrano 7
Thai 6–7