5 Flavor-Packed Sauces to Jump-Start a Week of Meals

April 16, 2018

Does anyone else remember the time—probably around 2010—when calling something “the sauce” wasn’t lame? I was in high school, and I remember awkwardly using the term to describe a TV show I loved. It’s safe to say I was not very saucy.

Some things stand the test of time, and “the sauce” is not one of them. But want to know something genuinely timeless? ACTUAL sauce.

I don’t mean in a historical sense (although, hey, we can go there), but more in the you-make-a-batch-and-it-lasts-all-week sense. No matter whether you prefer creamy yogurt sauces, spicy zhug, or tried-and-true tomato, you can build a whole slew of meals around one sauce. It’s versatile like that, not subject to passing fads. And to prove it, here are five sauces that’ve still got it all week long.

Tomato Sauce

We’re big, big fans of Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter. Simply add fresh or canned tomatoes with butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow but steady simmer for about 45 minutes. And here’s where that’ll take you:

Xo sauce

Fatty, briny, garlicky XO sauce is so overtly rich that it steals the show from almost every pasta/vegetable/grain/fish it meets. Let it turn these dishes into gold:

Yogurt sauce

As recipe author/salad wizard EmilyC sums it up: “This yogurt dressing takes 5 minutes to make, can be assembled, shaken, and stored in a jar, and is easily made thicker or thinner by adding more yogurt or more oil. It can also be jazzed up in countless ways: fresh herbs, spices, roasted garlic, tahini, you name it!” Here’s how we’d like it:


Made from fresh parsley and cilantro pulsed with spices and hot peppers, zhug is like a fresh, fiery Middle Eastern pesto. Just adjust the heat to your taste buds and dollop it on eggs, spread onto sandwiches, or try it with one of these recipes:


Hot, tart, sweet, or a tasty mixture of all three, chutneys are flavor bombs that turn up the volume on any dish. Whether your chutney starts with herbs, vegetables, or nuts, it’s an easy way to build a week of meals:

Do you still say “the sauce” for something cool? What’s your coolest recipe?

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Nancy April 16, 2018
Peach chutney that's like Major Grey's (but more fruit taste comes through in this one).
The late Laurie Colwin's lemon chutney (may be made with limes or half each fruit)
Apricot preserves with crushed juniper berries (from Willoughby & Schlesinger). Perfect with a cheese board and long tall gin cocktails.
Nancy April 17, 2018
@Katie Macdonald - glad it's an idea for you. Forgot to say how much I liked both your choice of 5 sauces & recipes to use them in.