Caitlin Bensel

Simply prepared proteins are one of the fastest—and easiest—weeknight suppers. But sometimes you can find yourself in a bit of a culinary rut. Give your protein new life with a flavorful sauce. With less sodium and sugar than prepared sauces, your palate—and your waistline—will thank you.

Brierley Horton, MS, RD and Hannah Klinger
March 08, 2018

A spoonful of sweet-and-sour sauce and an earthy avocado blend make addictive companions for seafood and grilled meats. For sandwiches and leftovers, we've added a dash of comfort in the form of a homemade barbecue sauce and a twist on a classic salad dressing.

Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

Be sure to include the cilantro stems when blending the sauce (pictured at top); they have even more flavor than the leaves. Add this cool, creamy concoction to pan-grilled chicken or tacos.

View the recipe: Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Greg DuPree

Meyer lemons, the stars here, are in season late winter through early spring. They taste like a cross between a lemon and an orange—fresh citrus flavor without too much pucker. Drizzle the vinaigrette over grilled chicken or salmon.

View the recipe: Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Arugula-Mint Pesto

Greg DuPree

We like the flavor of toasted, skin-on, whole almonds, but any almonds will taste great—just be sure to toast them first for the extra depth of flavor. Serve this sauce over grilled flank steak or lamb chops, or toss with tuna, white beans, and cherry tomatoes.

View the recipe: Arugula-Mint Pesto

Zippy Almond Butter Sauce

Greg DuPree

Almond butter isn't just for toast; it's also a great base for savory sauces. Use this creamy condiment as a dip with chicken satay or baked tofu. Be sure to use plain unsweetened almond milk.

View the recipe: Zippy Almond Butter Sauce

Five-Spice Mango Sauce

Greg DuPree

Look for five-spice powder with other specialty spices in most supermarkets or at an Asian market. For the smoothest texture and best flavor, use a ripe fresh mango (thawed frozen will work in a pinch). Serve with stir-fried shrimp or broiled cod.

View the recipe: Five-Spice Mango Sauce

Nuoc Cham

Caitlin Bensel

This sweet-and-sour sauce is seriously addictive. We replace traditional white sugar with brown to add a caramel note. Spoon over grilled meats, sautéed shrimp, or ground pork.

View the recipe: Nuoc Cham

Caesar Sauce

Caitlin Bensel

We took the classic dressing elements and thickened them for a creamy sauce that's delicious on salmon or for reviving leftover rotisserie chicken. Finely grated garlic has a big kick, so start with half a clove.

View the recipe: Caesar Sauce

Quick Barbecue Sauce

Caitlin Bensel

The ingredient list for this sauce is short and practical—you likely have most of the ingredients on hand. Use as a glaze for pan-seared pork tenderloin or toss with shredded chicken for sandwiches.

View the recipe: Quick Barbecue Sauce

Everything Bagel Aioli

Caitlin Bensel

Your favorite bagel flavor just got upgraded to sauce superstar. Try this drizzled over eggs Benedict, spread on a grilled chicken burger, or spooned over grilled red onion wedges.

View the recipe: Everything Bagel Aioli

Strawberry-Shallot Salsa

Caitlin Bensel

Sweet strawberries mingle with lime and nutty coriander in this fresh take on salsa. Try this vibrant sauce spooned over pan-seared halibut or sprinkled with feta over grilled pork-and-zucchini kabobs.

View the recipe: Strawberry-Shallot Salsa

Kimchi-Bacon Jam

Caitlin Bensel

Salty and smoky with a kick from the kimchi, this chunky, chutney-like jam is delicious on grilled burgers and hot dogs, or as a surprise condiment on your next cheese and crudités platter.

View the recipe: Kimchi-Bacon Jam

Hot Mustard Sauce

Caitlin Bensel

If you love the spicy mustard that’s often paired with Chinese egg rolls, whip up this tangy, cayenne-spiked sauce. Serve it with grilled tofu or chicken tenders, or drizzle it over roasted broccoli.

View the recipe: Hot Mustard Sauce