Sauces for Vegetables That Will Make Eating Your Greens the Meal's Highlight

Asparagus with Cheese Sauce and Herb Breadcrumbs
Photo: Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

One familiar refrain from everyone's childhood is probably to eat our vegetables. From the once-dreaded Brussels sprouts to soggy turnips and terrible peas, the veggie has been the bane of many children's existence. It was the quickest ticket to an evening spent slogging at the dinner table, because one is not dismissed until all the peas on the plate have been swallowed—preferably enthusiastically, but usually begrudgingly. For those of us who did not possess the coveted love of vegetables, survival tactics were essential. Hold your nose, chew, swallow, and swig down some water. Pass them discretely to the dog. Beg to be excused (that worked, sometimes). These sauces for vegetables, though—this is exactly what we needed to make swallowing the greens a little more bearable and, dare we say, delectable. Here are our favorite sauces for roasted and steamed vegetables, plus everything in between. From creamy to spicy, cheesy, and sweet, these sauces will turn any skeptic into a vegetable evangelist.

01 of 17

Beer-Cheese Fondue

Creamy Feta Phyllo Bites
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Beer-Cheese Fondue

Fondue makes eating even the crunchiest uncooked vegetable a delightful experience. A healthy amount of Gruyère and Cheddar mingle with dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and lager beer for a decadent, creamy sauce to accompany your steamed broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, and potatoes.

02 of 17

Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
Greg Dupree; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe: Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

Creamy but still somehow light and refreshing, this flavorful Yogurt-Tahini Sauce is packed with flavor—cumin, black pepper, garlic, and tahini—that makes it so good when accompanying a raw veggie platter.

03 of 17

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Recipe: Basil Pesto

Thought pesto was for pasta? You're not wrong—but it also beautifully accompanies grilled vegetables. Pick your favorites and brush on our Basil Pesto for an easy side or salad.

04 of 17

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Katelyn Hardwick

Recipe: Green Goddess Dressing

This dressing is a West Coast staple. It's creamy thanks to mayonnaise and sour cream, fresh with the addition of parsley, tarragon, chives, and lemon, and savory thanks to the anchovy paste.

05 of 17

Blackberry-Honey Mustard Sauce

Blackberry-Honey Mustard Sauce
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Blackberry-Honey Mustard Sauce

Sweet and tangy, this Blackberry-Honey Mustard Sauce makes a vibrant statement on your table. Fresh blackberries cook down on the stove with some sugar before combining with honey, mustard (dry and Dijon), salt, lemon juice, and olive oil.

06 of 17

Asparagus with Cheese Sauce and Herb Breadcrumbs

Asparagus with Cheese Sauce and Herb Breadcrumbs
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Asparagus with Cheese Sauce and Herb Breadcrumbs

Bright green asparagus become absolutely irresistible when topped with this Cheese Sauce. It's only two ingredients but a sure winner. Who can say no to heavy cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano? Not us.

07 of 17

Cheese Sauce for Broccoli or Cauliflower

Cheese Sauce over Cauliflower
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling; Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Cheese Sauce for Broccoli or Cauliflower

Melty Cheddar plus a dab of butter and Dijon mustard make this sauce an amiable companion for some cooked veggies—drizzled or like fondue, it's up to you.

08 of 17

Asparagus Gratin

Asparagus Gratin
Photography and Styling: Karen Rankin

Recipe: Asparagus Gratin

Here is potatoes au gratin's (somewhat) lighter counterpart, which uses perky green asparagus as the vehicle for the shallot-, garlic-, and mustard- laden sauce.

09 of 17

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Mushroom Gravy

You might reach for the mashed potatoes with this gravy, but it will do just fine on about anything you want to pour it on, including your vegetables. Roasted, sautéed, boiled—however you prepare the veggies, you can't go wrong if you serve them with Mushroom Gravy.

10 of 17

Mustard-Cream Sauce

Mustard-Cream Sauce
Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Recipe: Mustard-Cream Sauce

Creamy yet zingy, our Mustard-Cream Sauce features a generous heap of Creole mustard, a serious splash of white wine, and some garlic and shallots that pack it full of flavor.

11 of 17

Grilled Hot-Pepper Sauce

Grilled Hot-Pepper Sauce
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Grilled Hot-Pepper Sauce

Hot sauce fans, here's your opportunity to make your own. Grilling the peppers will give the sauce a smokey element, and the use of bell peppers provides a little sweet contrast to the hot jalapeños and serranos.

12 of 17

Parmesan Cream Sauce

Balsamic Green Beans
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Parmesan Cream Sauce

If we had to describe this sauce in only two words, they would be: cannot resist.

13 of 17

Cool Ranch Sauce

Cool Ranch Sauce

Recipe: Cool Ranch Sauce

Give your condiment shelf an upgrade with this easy homemade Cool Ranch Sauce. Those carrot and celery sticks will fly off plates, guaranteed.

14 of 17

Summer Sauce

Summer Sauce
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Summer Sauce

Versatile, fun, elegant? That's a sauce we can get behind. Basil, parsley, and mint star with a little garlic and lemon juice for the sauce that sings the songs of summer.

15 of 17


Grilled Shrimp Po'Boys with Quick Rémoulade Sauce Recipe
Max Kelly

Recipe: Rémoulade

A little Rémoulade never hurt any vegetable, cooked, raw, or otherwise.

16 of 17

Herbed Cream Sauce

Herbed Cream
Stephen DeVries; Prop Styling: Thom Driver; Food Styling: Mary Claire Britton

Recipe: Herbed Cream Sauce

Sour cream, chives, parsley, tarragon, lemon juice. This sauce is quick and bright, an easy companion to veggie sticks, salads, roasted vegetables, and more.

17 of 17

Comeback Sauce

Comeback Sauce
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Comeback Sauce

Comeback for seconds, that is. Described as spicier than ranch, creamier than barbecue, and more versatile than buffalo, this is the sauce to make if you want to leave an impression—guests will be coming back for more!

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