Summer is here, which means playing at the beach, weekend camping trips and lots of time outdoors. I put together this collection of 6 Fresh Healthy Summer Sauces to liven up your cooking without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Are you a sauce person? A great sauce adds vibrant flavor, texture and color to grilled chicken, fish or vegetables. The right sauce transforms a simple salad into a satisfying meal. A little sauce can really liven up a pot of quinoa or rice. You can’t have zucchini ‘noodles’ or pasta without a great sauce.
Here are six homemade, fresh, healthy summer sauces for you to play with this summer, along with lots of ideas for how to use them to easily create a meal everyone will love.
1. Asian “Peanut” Sauce
This is a rich and spicy sauce made with almond butter instead of peanuts. I usually avoid peanuts. Studies show peanuts may contain a mold that produces aflatoxin, a toxin that congestions the liver making it hard for it to perform its tasks of detoxification and fat-burning.
This Asian “Peanut” Sauce makes a great dipping sauce for Raw Rainbow Spring Rolls, Nori Rolls or Crudité. You can toss the sauce with (hot or cold) soba or kelp noodles. Use it to baste grilled chicken or beef and as a salad or slaw dressing. It’s also good drizzled over steamed or grilled vegetables.Print
A rich and spicy sauce made with almond butter instead of peanuts.
- ½ cup almond butter
- 3 tablespoons wheat free soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 Serrano chili or Thai chili, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Let sit for 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
- Category: Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
- Cuisine: Asian
2. Grilled Tomato Sauce
Grill ripe tomatoes to make this delicious tomato sauce with rich and complex flavors! The grilled tomatoes are blended and simmered with garlic until thick and seasoned with fresh basil. It’s the perfect sauce for all those tomatoes coming out of your garden.
It can be used with Grilled Scallops or any grilled fish or chicken. Toss it with zucchini “noodles” or any pasta. Serve it as a dipping sauce for calamari or grilled squid. Put it on top of sauteed kale or chard. It’s one of my favorite go-to sauces all summer long.Print
A tasty, aromatic tomato sauce made with grilled tomatoes, blended and simmered until thick, seasoned with fresh basil.
- 5–6 plum tomatoes, about 1½ pounds, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for grilling the tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (a few shakes)
- Celtic sea salt and fresh pepper
- ¼ cup finely shredded basil leaves
- Preheat the grill on medium high.
- Clean and oil the grill, once it’s hot.
- Brush the tomatoes with a little bit of the olive oil. (If your grill is well seasoned you can skip this step).
- Place the tomatoes onto the grill, cut side down.
- Grill about 2 minutes.
- Turn over and grill until tender and lightly charred about 3 minutes.
- Transfer tomatoes to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté on low heat 2 minutes until garlic is softened.
- Pour in the pureed tomatoes and sprinkle with salt.
- Simmer until sauce is thickened 10-15 minutes.
- Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in basil.
- Category: Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Seasonal
- Cuisine: Italian
3. Cilantro Parsley Chimichurri Sauce
Chimichurri sauce is considered the ketchup of Argentina. It features fresh parsley, cilantro, garlic and tangy vinegar. It gets an extra kick from oregano and crushed red pepper. The taste is a bit more mellow with red wine vinegar but healthier with apple cider vinegar. Traditionally the herbs are cut by hand but I put it into a food processor to make it quick and easy to prepare.
It’s a health enhancing sauce. Parsley and cilantro are natural detoxifiers. Oregano is one of the most powerful anti-pathogens found in nature.
This is a 2 minute sauce that makes simple grilled vegetables and meats special. Spread it on grilled vegetables just before they are done. Toss it with potatoes before roasting. Spoon it on top of grilled chicken or fish. Make it as a dip for raw veggies. Use it on egg dishes. Mix it into grains.Print
A versatile green sauce for grilled chicken, fish, meat and potatoes, also a great dipping sauce.
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Celtic salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes and cumin in a food processor until chopped up.
- With processor running, slowly add oil in a thin, steady stream until mixture is well combined.
- Store in sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Category: Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Raw
- Cuisine: Argentinian
4. Mango Salsa
It’s the perfect topper for grilled chicken or fish or serve it up with tortilla chips. It can be added to the top of a salad for a fresh fruity flavor.
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno or Serrano peppers, seeds removed
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Celtic salt
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- Combine all the ingredients in bowl.
- Taste to adjust salt.
- Let sit 15 minutes and serve.
- It will keep 1 or 2 days in the refrigerator.
- Category: Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Seasonal, Raw
- Cuisine: Mexican
5. Tahini Sauce
Tahini Sauce is another of my favorite sauces. It makes salad more satisfying because it has lots of good fat and protein. I love it because it’s made in a bowl (no blender to wash) with only a few ingredients. I’ve been making this sauce since the days of my restaurant. I usually make it with fresh garlic but if I’m in a hurry I use garlic powder. It’s really good either way.
Tahini Sauce is versatile and can be flavored in many ways. Add cumin for additional spice. Mix in 1/4 cup of chopped dill, parsley or cilantro for an herbal flavor. Use your imagination to make it different.
You can use tahini sauce as a garnish on Turkey Burgers, roast chicken or lamb. Dress kale and chopped almonds with it for a simple salad. Use it as a dip for chips or cucumbers. Or serve it with grilled eggplant, zucchini, pepper or roasted carrots.Print
- ½ cup tahini
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- 1 clove garlic, minced or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Celtic Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- Mix everything together in a bowl with a fork until thick and creamy.
- Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Use only 6 tablespoons of water to make it thicker, if you want it to be a a dip instead of a dressing.
- Category: Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
My summer sauce collection wouldn’t be complete without pesto. It’s one of summer’s delights. I grow basil so I can make pesto every week. I like to make it vegan without any cheese. It’s healthier, delicious and nobody misses the cheese.
It can be used as a sauce for pasta or zucchini noodles. If you want more variety make Rainbow Noodles. Serve it as a sauce for grilled salmon, chicken or vegetables. Use it as a topping for pizza, I like Cauliflower Pizza.Print
- 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (to taste)
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Celtic Sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Place the basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor.
- Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.
- Turn the motor on and pour the olive oil in a thin stream.
- Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast. Pulse a few more times to combine.
- Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar. It will keep about 4 days.
- Category: Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Seasonal
These fresh healthy summer sauces are so wonderful and satisfying. Soon you’ll think of chicken, fish and vegetables as accompaniments to sauce, instead of the other way around. Enjoy these sauces all summer long. Your food will taste great and you’ll have lots of time for play!
“In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.”
―Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride