What to CookSauce

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

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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.

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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:

Entomatadas (Cheese-Filled, Tomato Sauce-Smothered Tortillas)
Entomatadas (Cheese-Filled, Tomato Sauce-Smothered Tortillas)
Eggs in Spicy Minted Tomato Sauce

Eggs in Spicy Minted Tomato Sauce by ieatthepeach

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Garlic by Merrill Stubbs

How to Make Any Kind of Baked Pasta (& Live a Happy Life)

How to Make Any Kind of Baked Pasta (& Live a Happy Life) by Sarah Jampel

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Greek Style Shrimp in Tomato Sauce with Feta

Greek Style Shrimp in Tomato Sauce with Feta by thirschfeld

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:

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Shrimp with Coconut Milk Grits & XO Sauce
Shrimp with Coconut Milk Grits & XO Sauce
Dale Talde's Grilled Scallops with XO-Pineapple Fried Rice

Dale Talde's Grilled Scallops with XO-Pineapple Fried Rice by Top Chef

Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs

Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs by Genius Recipes

XO Sauce with Broccoli Rabe
XO Sauce with Broccoli Rabe

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:

Mushroom Lentil Tacos with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Mushroom Lentil Tacos with Tahini Yogurt Sauce by Kendra Vaculin

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Spiced Roast Chicken with Za'atar Yogurt

Spiced Roast Chicken with Za'atar Yogurt by BurntCream

Sheet Pan Lamb Meatballs with Cauliflower and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Sheet Pan Lamb Meatballs with Cauliflower and Tahini-Yogu... by EmilyC

Chopped Kitchen Sink Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Bottarga

Chopped Kitchen Sink Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Bottarga by Sara Jenkins

Zhug

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:

Malawach (Yemenite Jewish Pancakes)
Malawach (Yemenite Jewish Pancakes)
No-Gadget Falafel

No-Gadget Falafel by Izy Hossack

Baked Chicken Shawarma

Baked Chicken Shawarma by Miranda Keyes

A Medley of Roasted Potatoes with Homemade Za'atar & Aleppo Pepper
A Medley of Roasted Potatoes with Homemade Za'atar & Aleppo Pepper

Chutney

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:

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers by Sonali aka the Foodie Physi...

Vegetable-Stuffed Snack Cakes

Vegetable-Stuffed Snack Cakes by Food52

Pastrami

Pastrami by Michael Anthony

Mumbai Vegetable Sandwich with Cilantro Chutney

Mumbai Vegetable Sandwich with Cilantro Chutney by Annada Rathi

Flaky Baked Samosas
Flaky Baked Samosas

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

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Meal Plan, Make Ahead