There’s always that one special sauce that can magically make any dish go from bland to bursting with flavor with just a single drizzle. Stir it together once and it quickly becomes a dinner table staple right next to your salt and pepper shakers—no matter the dish, cuisine, or occasion, the sauce stands by.
Dietitians are a great recourse for these sacred sauce recipes—they’re bound to have one or two staples in their arsenal when making healthy meals at home. And if the prep work is breezy and the ingredient list is brief, even better. So when I asked one of my registered dietitian sources what her favorite sauce would be and got an answer that consisted of just two ingredients, I was stoked.
“Honestly, the sauce I’m obsessed with right now is just tahini mixed with Frank’s red hot,” says Kelly Jones, RD. “I put it on wraps, grain bowls, salads, eggs, and so much more.” As for the ingredient list and directions, they’re as basic as you can get. (And no need to feel tied to Frank’s if you prefer something with more spice, BTW). “Simply mix one to one-and-a-half tablespoons of sesame tahini with one to two teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce,” she says. Sriracha, Cholula, tabasco, habanero—it’s all good.
When it comes to health benefits, you’d be surprised how much you’ll reap from a drizzle of this minimalist dressing. Tahini is filled with healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, manganese, and more. According to Jones, tahini is also a rich source of antioxidants known as lignans, which help prevent free radical damage in your body, fight inflammation, and may reduce your risk of chronic illness, such as cancer. “Additionally, about half of the fat in tahini comes from monounsaturated fatty acids, which boast anti-inflammatory properties and have also been linked to a decreased risk of chronic disease.” Oh, and the capsaicin in hot sauce is also packed with antioxidants, critical for staving off diseases caused by free radicals and inflammation.
Ready to make your meals a little more fresh-tasting and packed with flavor? Here are a few ways to enjoy this creamy vegan anti-inflammatory sauce that can jazz up a variety of your favorite easy-to-make foods.
5 ways to use Jones’ anti-inflammatory sauce recipe
1. Use it as a spread in sandwiches.
“Drizzle the sauce over your favorite sandwich fillings before topping with your second slice of bread, or enjoy open-face to taste even more of the delicious flavor,” Jones recommends. Anything goes, but she says the hot tahini sauce works perfectly on a simple turkey, lettuce, and tomato sandwich—it’s a great way to add creaminess without cheese or dairy.
2. Make a tofu or egg wrap for breakfast or lunch.
“I love pairing the spicy tahini with tofu and leftover roasted veggies in a whole grain wrap for a quick lunch during the week,” Jones says. This can be easy for meal-prepping, too—simply make a few wraps at a time and stash them in the fridge for busy days. For breakfast, add a couple of eggs in place in the tofu. “And if you have rotisserie chicken on hand, that’s another protein that, like tofu, has a really mild and neutral flavor and can benefit from the savory flavors in the sauce,” she says. Think of it as a spicy, nutrient-packed chicken salad wrap.
3. Serve in salads or grain bowls as a dressing.
Toss the tahini sauce into salads or grain bowls to add rich and tangy flavor, just as you would a salad dressing. “I do this with salads in lieu of bottled dressings. It coats the greens and grains so well thanks to the creamy texture,” Jones adds. Plus, it adds in even more plant-based protein and fiber.
4. Fill a baked sweet potato.
“If you bake sweet potatoes in advance, top them with cooked greens and your favorite unseasoned protein before raining on the spicy tahini sauce,” says Jones. Tofu, chicken, scrambled eggs, or mix of beans and legumes are all delicious ideas. “One easy topping combo is cooked spinach and chickpeas with fresh herbs, like parsley. These ingredients pair perfectly with sauce and give it even more fresh Mediterranean flavor,” she adds.
5. Cook up a spicy falafel pita.
“I love to bake Trader Joe’s falafel mix and add this easy sauce to the falafel with greens in a pita,” Jones says. “It’s easier and less expensive than takeout, and the heat from the tahini sauce makes the two a match made in heaven.” Including a dollop of Greek yogurt on top is another delicious idea, and will help balance out the spice factor.
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