13 Fresh Summer Sauces We Love

Cooking How-To, Healthy, In Season, Quick & Easy, Recipes, Spring, Summer
on June 14, 2013

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 are 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 Vinaigrette

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

Garlicky Tomato Basil Dressing

Mark Boughton Photography

 

Fish Sauce Caesar Dressing

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

Fish Sauce Caesar Dressing

Mark Boughton Photography / styling: Teresa Blackburn

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing

This thick dressing doubles as a topping for burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or as a unique sauce for pasta salad.

Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing

Mark Boughton Photography/Teresa Blackburn Styling

 

Smoked Red Pepper-Walnut Dressing

This smoky sauce easily stands in for cocktail sauce, served with boiled shrimp.

Smoked Red Pepper Walnut Dressing

Mark Boughton Photography

 

Del Frisco-Style Salad with Avocado Dressing

This creamy, pale green dressing perfectly compliments crisp salad greens.

Del Frisco-Style Salad with Avocado Dressing

Teresa Blackburn

 

Blackberry Sauce

Drizzle this sweet berry reduction over pancakes or your favorite ice cream.

Blackberry Sauce

Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn

 

Creamy Zucchini Dressing with Tahini and Lemon

Try this vibrant sauce with grilled fare like fish, chicken and veggies—or over a simple tossed salad.

Creamy Zucchini Dressing

Mark Boughton Photography

 

Plum BBQ Sauce

Try this savory-sweet sauce in lieu of the store-bought stuff.

Plum BBQ Sauce

Teresa Blackburn

 

No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Toss vine-ripe tomatoes with garlic, basil and olive oil, let them sit, and they get juicier and juicier. Toss with pasta, or serve over crusty toasted baguette.

No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Mark Boughton / Styling by Teresa Blackburn

 

Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing

Avocado slices and butter lettuce come to life with this bright, Asian-inspired dressing.

Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing

Mark Boughton Photography

 

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Perfect for serving with cheese boards, burgers, grilled chicken, and meaty sandwiches.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Mark Boughton Photography

 

Simple Sorrel Pesto

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

Simple Sorrel Pesto

Jill Melton

 

Cilantro Pesto

This cilantro-based take on pesto adds Southwestern flair to pastas and dips.

Cilantro Pesto

Mark Boughton Photography