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9 sauces that transform salads and vegetables into a healthy but filling meal

22 mayo, 2021

No need to repeat how important it is incorporate more vegetables into our diet, but let’s do it. The World Health Organization recommends consuming more than 400 grams of these foods per day, and according to a recent report prepared by the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, we consume an average of 269 grams. Little more than half of what we should.

The problem is not only that we eat too few vegetables, it is that we replace them with foods whose intake is clearly high, such as meat or sugar. A diet that is not only bad for our health, but also for the environment.

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In order to eat more vegetables, it is not enough to incorporate these as a garnish: vegetables they have to become main dishes of our meals, and for this they must be forceful. There is no point in trying to eat vegetables if we are unable to satisfy our hunger and end up having a snack two hours after eating.

To make our salads and vegetables more satisfying (and, incidentally, appetizing) there is nothing like master certain sauces, which add force and variety to dishes, beyond the classic vinaigrette or mayonnaise.


A large part of the sauces that we list here are, in addition, rich in protein and healthy fats, which helps us to reinforce the nutritional profile of vegetables, turning these into more complete meals.

Many of these sauces can be prepared in advance to keep them handy in the fridge. Five minutes is enough to cook some veggies or prepare a salad, add the suggested dressings, and have a medal of honor meal ready.

1. Basil pesto


Applications: We usually think of this sauce, essential in Italian cuisine, as an accompaniment to pasta, but it is a much more versatile preparation than it seems. A good pesto is used to dress salads, but also as a sauce to accompany all kinds of vegetables. The possibilities are endless.

Ingredients: 100 grams of fresh basil, 200 g of partisan cheese, 75 g of pine nuts, two cloves of garlic, 160 ml of extra virgin olive oil, salt.

Elaboration: We separate the basil leaves from the stem (we do not use it because it is bitter and spoils the result), we wash and dry them thoroughly. To do this, we spread them on a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper, place another sheet on top and press lightly with the palm of the hand, being careful not to break any sheet. Removing all the water is an important step, so take it easy. Basil is a very delicate plant that tends to oxidize easily. Any drop of water or any tear in the leaves will cause a change in the color of our pesto, turning it dark instead of bright and light green. While the basil leaves are drying, we peel the garlic cloves, cut them in two, lengthwise, and remove the germ. We toast the pine nuts in a frying pan, without oil. We put all the ingredients in the glass of a food processor, along with half the oil and a pinch of salt, and crush. When we have obtained a porridge and no pieces of pine nuts or basil are appreciated, we stop grinding to add the rest of the oil. We crush again, just to integrate the oil, and we have our basil pesto ready to use.

Complete recipe | Basil pesto.

2. Caesar sauce

Cesar dressing

Applications: Caesar sauce is still a mayonnaise with anchovies, great to accompany the salad to which it gives its name, but also ideal to accompany any combination of lettuce, as well as baked, barbecue or grill vegetables.

Ingredients: 20 grams of anchovies, an egg, 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of Perrins sauce, a tablespoon of lemon juice.

Elaboration: Chop the anchovies and place them in the blender glass, adding the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, Perrins sauce and an egg yolk. We grind to make an emulsion like when we make homemade mayonnaise. We booked.

Complete recipe | Chicken Caesar Salad

3. Romesco sauce


Applications: This laborious but exquisite sauce of Catalan origin is common to accompany the calçots, but it really goes great with any grilled or baked veggie. It also goes great with fish.

Ingredients: Three ripe tomatoes, a head of garlic, two ñoras, 15 grams of toasted almonds, 15 grams of toasted hazelnuts, a slice of toasted bread, 250 grams of extra virgin olive oil, 100 grams of vinegar, sweet paprika, a chilli and Salt.

Elaboration: Before making the sauce it is necessary to rehitrate the ñoras, we will have to soak them from the night before or at least 4-5 hours. Once well soaked, we remove the seeds and reserve the skin with the meat. The second step is to roast the tomatoes and garlic. This action can be done either on the fire, well covered with embers in aluminum foil, or in the oven. We must preheat the oven to about 200ºC and put the tomatoes and garlic on separate trays. The tomatoes will be ready in about 15-20 minutes. The garlic will take a little less time. Once roasted, we remove the skin from the tomatoes and remove the garlic one by one. We clean the ñoras of seeds and reserve the meat. We also peel the toasted almonds and hazelnuts. We toast a slice of bread. Finally, once the tomatoes and garlic are cold, we put all the ingredients in a blender glass: the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar, the tomatoes, the garlic, the ñoras, the nuts, the bread and beat at speed half. Finally we add a teaspoon of sweet red paprika, salt and a chili pepper to give it a spicy touch. We beat again and we are testing and rectifying the salt, chilli or vinegar.

Complete recipe | Romesco sauce

4. Green chili marinade

Green Adobo

Applications: A super versatile sauce, which in addition to serving to accompany meats or fish, can be used as a pesto in a pasta dish, to give life to grilled or baked vegetables or to add as a condiment to any sandwich. It is the ideal sauce to use as a dressing in a tomato salad. The power of the spiciness can be adjusted by adding more or less chili peppers.

Ingredients: Half a head of unpeeled cloves of garlic, four green serrano peppers, a large bunch of fresh coriander, a large bunch of fresh parsley, a glass of extra virgin olive oil, two teaspoons of salt.

Elaboration: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Without using oil, add the garlic cloves (unpeeled) and cook for 5 minutes. Then, without removing the garlic, add the chilies, and cook both for 10 minutes. Let the garlic and peppers cool until you can handle them, then proceed to peel the garlic and gin, peel and cut the chilies. In a food processor or food processor, combine the garlic, chili peppers, coriander, parsley, olive oil and salt. Chop the mixture until it reaches the consistency of a pesto and transfer the sauce to a jar, to be able to store it well protected in the refrigerator.

Complete recipe | Green chili marinade

5. Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt Sauce

Applications: To accompany all kinds of grilled or baked vegetables, although it goes especially well with wild asparagus and broccoli. It also goes well with chicken and lamb.

Ingredients: 250 g of Greek yogurt, 1 clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of black pepper, a tablespoon of salt.

Elaboration: Pour the two yogurts (250 grams) into a bowl. Grate the garlic, helping you with a teaspoon or a tongue so that it does not remain on the grater. With a whole tooth the sauce is powerful. If garlic is bad for you, you can add half a clove or even a quarter. Add the juice of half a lemon, salt and freshly ground black pepper to the mixture and mix well with a spoon (no need to use a mixer).

6. Hummus


Applications: Hummus has become enormously popular as an aperitif, to be eaten with pita bread, but it can also be used as a sauce, to accompany all kinds of baked, grilled or grilled vegetables.

Ingredients: A large pot of cooked chickpeas (400 g drained weight), a clove of garlic, three tablespoons of tahini or sesame paste, the juice of a lemon, half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of ground cumin, half a teaspoon of paprika and 75 ml of extra virgin olive oil.

Elaboration: We drain the chickpeas, place them in a colander and wash them well until the taste of the liquid in which they are preserved in the pot is eliminated. We place them in the glass of a blender or robot and add the garlic clove, peeled, the tahini, the salt, the ground cumin, the paprika and part of the lemon juice. We do not add the latter at once, we reserve a part to adjust the acidity later. We blend until obtaining a homogeneous puree. We taste and adjust the seasoning to taste. Next, we add the extra virgin olive oil, little by little and in a thread, so that, while we beat, we emulsify the hummus. We are looking for a smooth texture, as less grainy as possible. Once this point is reached, we stop beating and we have our hummus ready. Optionally, you can add parsley or coriander, to give it more freshness.

Complete recipe | Hummus chickpea

7. Black butter vinaigrette

Butter Vinaigrette

Applications: This vinaigrette made with butter is ideal as a salad dressing, but also as a sauce to accompany vegetables. It is very versatile, and varies significantly depending on the herbs or vinegars we use.

Ingredients: 50 g of butter, two tablespoons of vinegar, two tablespoons of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, a handful of fresh coriander or parsley.

Elaboration: First, we must make the brown butter. For this, it is convenient to use a small frying pan or saucepan with a light bottom, which allows us to observe how the butter changes color. It is enough to heat this over a low heat between 5 and 10 minutes, observing how it slowly caramelizes. The brown butter is ready when a fine foam forms and, when stirred with a spoon, we see how it has reached a golden brown hue. Once the butter reaches the right color, we must transfer it to a new container. In the process, a deposit of solid waste is formed, which can be …