13 Fresh Summer Sauces We Love

Featured Article
June 14, 2013

Bright, no-cook sauces are great with greens, beef, fish, beans, vegetables, grains and pasta.

Fresh Summer Sauces
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

In the summer when fruits, vegetables and fragrant herbs are in abundance, homemade sauces and dressing are simply heavenly drizzled over just about anything.

When vegetables are puréed in a blender or food processor with the usual (and not-so-usual) ingredients, they add bright flavor, creamy body, plus more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your bowl of leafy greens. But don’t stop there, we love homemade sauces served with grilled beef, chicken pork or shrimp, tossed with beans or pasta, and drizzled over vegetables and grains.

Here our the best summertime dressings and sauces we have to offer. Some on the list are jam-packed with peak-season fruits or veggies while others will enhance your dinner’s flavor with the help oils or herbs:

Garlicky Tomato Basil Dressing

Garlicky Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

Try this savory sauce with grilled steak or use as a dressing for salad.

Fish Sauce Caesar Dressing 4_WEB

Fish Sauce Caesar Dressing

Salty fish sauce stands in for traditional anchovies in this creamy dressing.


Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing

This thick dressing doubles as a topping for burgers or as a dipping sauce for shrimp.

Smoked Red Pepper Walnut Dressing

Smoked Red Pepper-Walnut Dressing

This smoky sauce easily stands in for cocktail sauce for boiled shrimp.


Del Frisco-Style Salad with Avocado Dressing

A creamy pale-green dressing and strips of thick smoked bacon top a bed of crisp fresh greens in this salad based on Del Frisco's original.


Blackberry Sauce

You’ll need 1 cup of this sauce to make the Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake. Save the rest for serving over pancakes or ice cream.

Creamy Zucchini Dressing

Creamy Zucchini Dressing with Tahini and Lemon

This tart sauce perfectly dresses grill fish or lamb or a tossed green salad.

Plum BBQ Sauce

Plum BBQ Sauce

Toss this sauce with shredded pork or rotisserie chicken.

No-Cook Tomato Sauce

No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Choose this no-cook pasta sauce when tomatoes are just perfect.

Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing

Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing

Avocado slices and butter lettuce come to life with this creamy dressing.

red pepper sauce

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Use this quick sauce to add color and flavor.


Simple Sorrel Pesto

Lemony and bright, sorrel makes a great substitute for basil in this creamy pesto.


Cilantro Pesto

Unlike the classic basil pesto, this cilantro-based version adds Southwestern flair to pastas and dips.


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