Life would be so bland without sauces. Whenever a dish calls for more moisture, flavor or color, there’s almost always the right sauce for the job: hot and cold, savory and sweet, thin and thick. And for rapper Gucci Mane, sauce is a metaphor for life: “If you don’t got sauce, then you lost.”
But the most alluring sauces arrest our eyes with vibrant colors. (And viral flamingo pink isn’t the only shade deserving of our attention.) A fiery red sauce can bring heat to silky tofu or crunchy chicken wings. A green cashew dip pairs with crunchy celery and carrots. Does brown count as a colorful sauce? (On the other hand, it’s chocolate, so who cares!)
You can sample your way around the sauce rainbow with recipes from our Recipe Finder.
Scallops With Shallot Citrus Sauce, above. Brighten your dinner plans with a savory citrus sauce drizzled on chunks of grapefruit, orange and seared scallops. You can go wild on the citrus substitutions. Everything from blood orange to cara cara work well in this versatile dish that will have you asking, “Orange you glad you found me?”
Chocolate Shell for Ice Cream. If there’s any season for ice cream, it’s summer. Pour this two-ingredient chocolate sauce on the ice cream and watch it harden into a shell before your eyes. And after a taste, you may find yourself craving chocolate toppings on anything from orange crisps and poached pears to other mildly sweet fruits.
Cashew Green Goddess Dip. With this creamy green dip, you’ll find yourself reaching for crunchy celery and baby carrots, or your favorite fried foods. A few modifications later, and it can also become a reliable salad dressing.
Thousand Island Dressing. This creamy orange dressing can turn plain leafy vegetables into a delectable salad. For burger and sandwich fans, it makes for an ideal savory spread on a toasted roll.
Chili Chuka (Chile-Garlic Sauce). With this sweet-and-spicy sauce, you may never need to shop for sriracha or spicy ketchup again. A dollop of it on chicken wings, fried vegetables or ngo hiang (five-spice pork and shrimp roll) will have you licking your fingers and begging for more.