10 Essential Sauces That Add a Pop of Flavor to Any Plant-Based Meals

Whether you are a devote vegan, health-conscious flexitarian, or someone who eats it all, you have to keep your meals interesting.

Thankfully there’s a secret to making meals of all variety taste exciting and delicious. And the secret has been hiding in plain sight—well, actually in your refrigerator.

Folks, we’re talking about condiments, sauces, and spreads.

By adding heat, sweet, or umami, a dash of this or a sprinkle of that, you can elevate can ordinary ingredients from good to MmmMmm. You can load up your cupboard and fridge with store-bought sauces, which can all be quite delicious, but you can also experiment with your own culinary creations.

This Monday, try cooking up some different condiments, sauces, and spreads, and explore how you can apply them to different meals. A side of peanut sauce, squirt of garlic aioli, or tablespoon of carrot ginger dressing goes a long way in boosting the flavor and texture of any plant-based meal.


Barbecue Sauce

Miss the flavor of old-fashioned barbecue? You can recreate that smoky, spicy, tangy taste by adding a dollop of homemade barbecue sauce to veggie burgers, sautéed seitan, or grilled vegetables.

Spinach SaladCarrot Ginger Dressing

Salads don’t have to be boring plates of lettuce. With a splash of carrot ginger dressing, you can breathe new life into leafy greens, like this protein-packed spinach salad with baked tofu.

Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

Elevate any pasta dish or lasagna with a bright and creamy red pepper sauce. The sauce gets its deep flavor from garlic, shallot, roasted red pepper, white wine, and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

Garlic Dill Aioli

By simply adding fresh herbs and garlic to mayonnaise you’ve created an aioli. This all-purpose condiment goes on everything, but it’s especially delicious on plant-based seafood like “crab cakes” and “fried fish;” it’s also nice smeared on sandwiches or as a dip for roasted potatoes.

Photo Credit: Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is an essential condiment to have in your pantry or refrigerator. There are plenty of sweet, spicy, and smoky varieties available at your grocery store, but making your own hot sauce is a better way to control the tang and heat level. This hot sauce recipe from Don’t Waste the Crumbs takes only 15 minutes to make and only a handful of ingredients, making it the perfect introduction to hot sauce cookery. Add your custom hot sauce to cauliflower Buffalo wings or a spicy chili for an extra kick.

Peanut Sauce

Ideal for salads and dips, a bold peanut sauce brings excitement to the plate. Try this Thai-style peanut dressing with a quinoa grain bowl or seitan satay.


Fresh, herbaceous, and versatile, vegan pesto is a plant-based eater’s best companion. With a few simple ingredients you can whip up your own pesto and add it to everything from pasta salads and sandwiches to pizzas and soups.

Pomodoro Sauce

Looking to impress guests without fretting over a complicated dinner menu? Enter the pomodoro sauce. This sauce is as simple as it gets, using only four ingredients: olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and oregano. Serve with a side salad, a crusty bread, and a bottle of red wine, and you’re ready to eat.

Photo Credit: Vanilla And Bean


Briny and salty, tapenade is an olive lover’s dream. Tapenade is essentially a puree of olives, capers, and olive oil, but it adds a tremendous amount of flavor to anything it touches. You can buy it premade at the supermarket or make this recipe for olive tapenade from Vanilla and Bean. Use tapenade to stuff Portobello mushrooms, top a pizza, or tossed in a pasta with cherry tomatoes and arugula.

Photo Credit: FeelGoodFoodie


Toum is a creamy garlic sauce popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. This recipe for toum from Feel Good Foodie uses garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to create a citrusy, garlicy blend that’s destined for toasted bread, roasted potatoes, or steamed artichokes.

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.