The Single Best Sauce for Any Fall Vegetable

October  4, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland

If you asked me to pick a favorite fall vegetable, I couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t. I’m just as smitten with roasted squash stuffed with grains as I am with shaved Brussels sprouts masquerading as salad, just as giddy about sturdy greens turned into pie for dinner as I am about braised cauliflower pretending to be chicken.

But if you asked me to pick a favorite fall vegetable sauce, easy.

Meet Mapley, Mustardy Tahini Sauce. Its name lists three—of four—ingredients. Add soy sauce and water, stir, and that’s it. You can add more tahini if you want a thicker version for a crudités platter. Or more water if you’d like it thinner for a dressing.

Photo by Julia Gartland

This recipe was developed in the interest of not making a recipe. Because we all have those nights (also known as Monday and, ahem, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) when you don’t want to be roasting something while sautéeing something while chopping something while, uh, wait, what was that timer for? That’s when this comes in handy.

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Here’s the cheat sheet: fall vegetable + tahini sauce + something hearty = lunch or dinner.

  • Paprika-roasted squash wedges + sauce drizzle + buttered bread
  • Salty boiled carrots and/or parsnips + sauce drizzle + wild rice
  • Garlicky, sautéed kale + sauce drizzle + runny egg
  • Shaved beets + sauce toss + walnuts and crumbled feta
  • Shaved Brussels sprouts + sauce toss + torn croutons

Even more than its ease, I love the way that its ingredients contrast each other: nutty, rich tahini against sharp, spicy mustard; salty, funky soy against caramely, sweet maple. Add all this up and you have a well-rounded, highly seasoned condiment that makes any vegetable seem purposeful and confident.

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Top Comment:
“I'm thankful for a new tahini based sauce.”
— Kitty

The sauce keeps dreamily in the fridge—that’s where I’ll be keeping batch after batch from now until springtime.

What vegetable would you serve with this sauce—and how would you prepare it? Share your ideas in the comments!

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Ttrockwood October 7, 2018
This is SO good!! I had to swap in agave because i’m out of maple syrup, and my dijon measure was a bit generous ;)
Excellent with my roasted delicata squash/edamame/arugula/cherry tomatoes bowl meal. Will absolutely be making a big batch to keep on hand
Emma L. October 7, 2018
Thank you!! That vegetable bowl sounds verrrrrry good.
Kitty October 6, 2018
Made this tonight, served it over roasted vegetableson rice. It was delicious. I will definitely be making it again. I'm thankful for a new tahini based sauce.
Emma L. October 7, 2018
So glad you enjoyed it, Kitty!
Kara W. October 6, 2018
Have you roasted veggies in the sauce? Wondering if tahini works at 400 degrees...
Emma L. October 6, 2018
Hi Kara! I haven't tried that, but such a fun idea. One of our contributors EmilyC wrote a recipe for roasted cauliflower with tahini—and that cooks at 475°F: https://food52.com/recipes/71312-crispy-cheesy-tahini-roasted-cauliflower
Mary C. October 5, 2018
I just made it, it was quite good!
Emma L. October 5, 2018
Thanks, Mary!
arcane54 October 5, 2018
I imagine it would be good with some roasted Brussels sprouts.
Emma L. October 5, 2018
For sure!