Pantry Heroes: 5 Versatile Sauces
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While sauces are often intended to compliment the flavors of a dish, for many diners, sauce is the main attraction.
 
Datassential’s Condiments, Sauces, and Dressings Keynote Report found that 39 percent of consumers learn about new sauces, condiments, and dressings at restaurants. 
 
Sauce doesn’t just give diners a way to experience new flavors. It can also simplify preparation without sacrificing taste. When incorporated into recipes, speed-scratch sauce can instantly liven up a dish. Plus, it can be repurposed for multiple items across the menu. That makes sauce an undeniable pantry hero. 
 
For this article in our Pantry Heroes series, we’re highlighting five versatile sauces that chefs have been using to innovate their offerings. Find out how to drizzle them throughout the menu.   

 

1. Pesto Sauce
 
Pesto isn’t just for Italian cuisine. It has become a popular ingredient in elevated versions of comfort foods. For example, the sauce makes a fitting base for spinach and artichoke pizza and can bring more flavor to a classic grilled cheese. To get even more mileage from pesto, chefs can blend it with other sauces and items to create a vinaigrette, mayonnaise, or hummus. 
 
Its herbal, nutty taste also makes it a go-to topping for leaner fare, such as grilled chicken, salads, and vegetable dishes. To give classic Italian dishes a healthy twist, some chefs are venturing into plant-based pasta and meat substitutes. Pesto is the perfect topping for spaghetti squash noodles, beetballs, or eggplant lasagna.   
 
2. Chimichurri Sauce 
 
Like pesto, chimichurri is a green sauce consisting of herbs and olive oil. But this Argentine sauce’s high vinegar content gives it a puckery tang. In 2019, Nation's Restaurant News found that chimichurri had appeared in 83 percent more menus in recent years. This increase is due to the green sauce’s versatility. 
 
Traditionally, chimichurri is used as a condiment or marinade for Argentine asado (grilled meat). However, like pesto, chimichurri has been incorporated into a range of elevated comfort foods and healthy meals, such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, and grain bowls. It can also be mixed with avocado or mango to create a refreshing marinade for vegetables, seafood, and poultry. 
 
3. Wing Sauce
 
Few foods have experienced as much wacky experimentation as chicken wings. Chefs whip up fanciful wing sauces by mixing and matching sriracha, hot sauce, honey, and whatever else they have in their pantries. In the world of chicken wings, nothing is too hot, too sweet, too spicy, or too weird. 
 
But this versatility goes both ways. Both traditional and inventive wing sauces can be used not only for chicken but for a wide range of menu items. Buffalo sauce is perfect for comfort foods and appetizers like cauliflower bites, mac and cheese, or totchos (that’s nachos made with tater tots). Use hot sauce in margaritas or bloody mary mixes. Mango or pineapple wing sauces can give fish tacos some tropical heat. Wing sauces can also spice up hummus and dips.  
 
4. Tikka Masala Sauce
 
Chicken tikka masala’s orange, creamy sauce isn’t only for poultry. As Indian-inspired cuisine appears across more restaurants, it is likely to become a common ingredient in a wide range of menus. The sauce works with just about any protein, including tofu, seafood, and BBQ pork ribs. It can also be incorporated into comfort foods like sandwiches, burritos, mac and cheese, and soup. 
 
Another option is to create an Indian-inspired pizza. Top a naan pizza base with tikka masala sauce, paneer, tandoori chicken, and other Indian toppings. Once it’s out of the onion, drizzle some yogurt for the final touch. 
 
5. Teriyaki Sauce

 

Teriyaki is a Japanese style of grilling and broiling fish and meats that dates back centuries. Today, teriyaki sauce’s sweet and savory taste makes it a popular topping for food across cultures. Unsurprisingly, teriyaki sauce can be used to barbecue meats, but it is just as delicious for sides. Make a teriyaki salad dressing, baste grilled corn on the cob with a teriyaki glaze, or marinate vegetables in teriyaki sauce for a flavorful BBQ. 
 
Teriyaki sauce can also bring Asian flavors into Latin American fare. Use a teriyaki marinade for meats and vegetables in chalupas, nachos, empanadas and other Latin dishes. Throw in some Asian slaw, Japanese mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and other common Eastern ingredients to create distinct menu items. 
 
Your Sourcing Solution 
 
As operators are forced to become more resourceful, they’ll need to rely on the sauces in their pantries and refrigerators rather than create them from scratch. But that doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice quality or creativity. These five sauces have the versatility to make any menu item more delicious. That’s what makes them pantry heroes.  
 
More pantry heroes are on the way. Until then, you can find these sauces and more on the Dot Expressway. Our sauces are ready to use across the menu, saving restaurants prep time.
 
Stock up the pantry with flavorful sauces from Dot Expressway.