Sometimes a sauce is not just a sauce. The best, most versatile ones lend themselves to a variety of other uses, whether as a dip for chips or vegetables, a sandwich spread or a temptation to be eaten by the spoonful.

Having one, or several, of these supporting players tucked away in the refrigerator can turn a blah meal into something brilliant. Here are a few from our archives that we love, some of which are stand-alone recipes and some others that go along with specific dishes, in which case you’ll definitely want to make extra.

Romesco Sauce. The sauce from Food editor Joe Yonan’s giant “panino di pizza” was so good, it deserves to be made on its own. As in the original recipe, it’s great on a sandwich, but you can also use it as a dip for vegetables, a topper for mashed potatoes or a spread for fancy toast.


Spicy Avocado CremaYou can thank Yonan for introducing you to this delicious condiment, too. I can tell you how superb it is with the sheet pan fajitas in the original recipe. I’ve also enjoyed dipping chips into it. Crudités would be another natural pairing. Think of it as a thinner, spicier relative of guacamole. Coconut milk keeps it vegan.


Salsa RojaThis sauce from chef, cookbook author and TV personality Pati Jinich is just as good with tortilla chips as it is on eggs or spooned over enchiladas.


Red Hot Pepper Sauce. Spicy food lovers will want to keep a jar of Lazarus Lynch’s fiery sauce meant to accompany his mother’s curry chicken. Refrigerate the sauce for up to six months, whether you choose to make the chicken or want something to perk up scrambled eggs or sandwiches.


Avocado-Ginger RaitaThere are lots of ways to use this Indian condiment, including in wraps, on flatbread, with vegetables for dipping or as a dressing for chopped salads, coleslaws and potato salads.


Cilantro Goddess DressingTraditional green goddess uses mayo and anchovies, but this vegan version takes advantage of silken tofu for body, and cilantro, lime juice and rice vinegar for flavor. Save it for salads, yes, but feel free to dip crudités in it or spread it on a veg-heavy sandwich.

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