best healthy sauces
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I think we can all agree that one of the greatest parts of cooking and eating is sauce. Sauces add flavor, texture, and have the power to bring any meal to an entirely new level.

Forget the sauce—or dare to underestimate its value—and you can end up with a dry, bland, flavorless dish that’s “just missing something.”

From curries to pizza to salads and grain bowls, here are seven healthy sauces to put on anything and everything.

Almond Sauce


Move over, peanut sauce. Almond sauce is the next big thing in Asian-fusion cooking. Almonds are extremely nutrient-dense and make an excellent sauce that is not quite as overpowering as peanut sauce.

Try this Spicy Almond Sauce recipe from The Kitchen Paper. Or pick up a bottle of Yais Thai Almond Sauce for noodles, protein, veggies, rice or grain bowls, and more.

Yai's Thai Almond Sauce, $4.89 from Thrive Market

Almond is the new peanut.
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Related Reading: 12 Vegan Sauces You Need to Try

Jalapeño Hot Sauce

serrano hot sauce recipe

Chowhound

Hot sauce is a great way to add a lot of flavor without a lot of added sugars or calories. But before you go reaching for any old traditional red hot sauce, you might want to consider opting for one made from everyone’s favorite green pepper: jalapeño. Jalapeños are just the right amount of spice and also have a nice, smoky flavor. You can put this hot sauce on traditional Mexican dishes but also anything from pizza to omelettes to a turkey sandwich. As we all know, when it comes to hot sauce, almost anything goes.

Watch our primer on How to Make Your Own Green Hot Sauce, or pick up Siete’s healthy Jalapeño Hot Sauce (you won’t regret it).

Siete Jalapeño Hot Sauce, $8.22 on Amazon

This sauce will help you spice up nearly anything.
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Spicy Mustard

fig mustard recipe

Chowhound’s Fig Mustard

Mustard isn’t just for hot dogs and cheeseburgers. In fact, it can take any number of foods to a totally new level. You can use it in a salad dressing for a nice pop of flavor and spice, add it to a marinade (like our Honey-Mustard Marinade recipe), slather it on roasted veggies, or use it as a dipping sauce for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Related Reading: 7 Rules for Making Amazing Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Try this Homemade Mustard Recipe—which incorporates turmeric, white wine, and horseradish—from David Lebovitz. Or pick up Trader Joe’s Deli Style Spicy Brown Mustard for a simple and inexpensive option with no added sugar.

Trader Joe's Spicy Brown Mustard, $9.98 on Amazon

Give your deli meats some zing.
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Buffalo Ranch


If you’re looking for the perfect dipping sauce, marinade, and addition to your Super Bowl party menu, look no further than buffalo ranch sauce. It’s just like ranch, but with an added kick that is exactly what your guests are craving. This one isn’t going to add much nutritional value, but we all deserve to throw out the rules every now and then, don’t we?

Whip up some Buffalo Ranch Dressing from Seeded at the Table, or drop some of this (dairy-free) Tessemae’s Pantry Dressing & Marinade Buffalo Ranch in your cart at Thrive Market. Pair with buffalo cauliflower bites.

Tessemae's Pantry Buffalo Ranch, $3.84 from Thrive Market

Spicy, creamy, and extremely addictive.
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Pesto

Cilantro-Almond Pesto

Chowhound’s Cilantro-Almond Pesto

When it comes to pesto, pasta is just the beginning. You can also add it to egg dishes, tuna or chicken salad, or use it as a dipping sauce for sandwiches or wraps. Heck, you can even use it as a layer in your lasagna (like in our Pesto and Pea Lasagna recipe).

Keep it simple with our Easy Basil Pesto recipe, go the nontraditional route with our Cilantro-Almond Pesto recipe, or try this Gotham Greens pesto. They have a classic and vegan version for those of us wanting to avoid dairy.

See also: chimichurri and aji verde sauce.

Tahini

Chowhound’s Tahini Dressing

Tahini is one of nature’s greatest sauces. It’s made with sesame seeds and adds an earthy, nutty flavor to practically anything. Drizzle it on salads (add lemon juice and garlic for a zingier Tahini Dressing), put it on pizza, or spread it on toast. You can even incorporate tahini into baked goods, like they do in this Tahini Brownie recipe from the Mediterannean Dish.

Try this Organic Sesame Tahini from Once Again. To take things to the next level, try this Chipotle Tahini recipe from Pinch of Yum.

Soom Tahini (2 Pack), $16.50 on Amazon

It's not just for hummus.
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Pineapple Salsa


When it comes to salsa flavors, pineapple probably isn’t your first thought. But pineapple is arguably the most versatile type of salsa; it makes the perfect topping for any protein—including fish, shrimp, chicken, tofu, or steak—and you can add it to just about any salad or grain bowls for a touch of sweetness and spice.

Related Reading: Upgrade Your Taco Tuesday with These Fresh Fruit Salsas

Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa is a great place to start your tropical salsa journey. If you prefer your salsa homemade, check out this Fresh Pineapple Salsa recipe from Cookie + Kate.

Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa, $8.49 on Amazon

Tomato doesn't have to be the only fruit in your salsa.
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Try one, a few, or all of these sauces in 2020. They are versatile, delicious, and are guaranteed to take your dishes from good to great.

Related Video: Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Header image by Chowhound

Gretchen Lidicker is a writer, researcher, and author of the book CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide To Hemp-Derived Health & Wellness. She has a masters degree in physiology and complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University and is the former health editor at mindbodygreen. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Forbes, SELF, The Times, Huffington Post, and Travel + Leisure.
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