Try Adding These Sauces The Next Time You Make Rice

The best thing about rice (other than how inexpensive it can be) is that it is essentially a neutral, filling base to which you can add any toppings and ingredients to easily make a meal. While you may be used to just drizzling on some soy sauce with a pat of butter or spooning leftover Chinese take-out or curry onto your bowl of rice, we would like to humbly suggest you try something new next time you're looking for an easy and flavorful meal that won't break the bank.

Adding a (non-soy) sauce to your rice that compliments the other ingredients in your meal is a great way to add flavor and moisture to your dish for cheap. Most of these sauces you can easily make at home from scratch or buy pre-made at the store, depending on the amount of time you have and what your budget looks like. We predict that no matter what sauce you choose, you won't be disappointed by the results.

Try a classic Cajun rice dish or customize pesto for a super flexible base

A classic in many Cajun households, rice and gravy is a simple meal consisting of rice topped with a meat-filled brown gravy. The aptly named Porch, Wine and Gravy's recipe states that you can choose pretty much any budget-friendly cut of beef to combine with these traditional Cajun flavors, and can even swap out the beef for chicken or pork if you like. Rice and gravy is an old recipe passed down through families for generations, so there is room for personal preference in this traditional Southern Louisiana dish!

For bright, herby rice, simply mix in pesto! This green dish can be eaten alone or topped with various ingredients for a more filling meal. While pesto may immediately have you thinking Italian, The Spruce states that this rice-pesto pairing can be combined with almost any style of food – from Indian to Thai to Chinese! Just match the type of rice you're using to the cuisine you would like to make. You can also swap out the herbs you use to make your pesto (if you are making it from scratch) to alter the flavors to work better with other cuisines. Try cilantro pesto for Mexican food or mix your rice with pesto made from spinach to pair with steak.

Choose a sauce to go bold or sooth your stomach

Curd rice (aka yogurt rice) is a classic South Indian dish that can be made with only a few ingredients. Depending on who is making your curd rice, the dish will have different spices and other ingredients mixed in, as everyone has their own personal preferences for this Indian comfort food. Cook with Manali recommends serving this dish chilled and states that it is a great food to eat when you want something that will ease your stomach.

Romesco sauce is an amazing way to add a vibrant pop of color and a huge boost of flavor to your rice. Made like pesto but with red peppers instead of herbs, romesco sauce is a bold ingredient that pairs well with a variety of foods but is also complex enough to stand on its own as a side dish. Check out this Food52 recipe for the most basic version of romesco rice, or this brown rice bowl from The Kitchn which pairs the thick sauce with sauteed swiss chard.