The Instant Pot may be the savior of your weekday meals, but summer weekends mean the grill gets to steal the show. Burger patties, corn, eggplant, peaches, pineapple—what doesn’t taste delicious with a little fire beneath it? But as every grill master knows, when it comes to barbecuing meat, fish, poultry, or tofu, the secret to taking the meal to the next level is a finger licking good sauce.
Just like how red wine pairs better with steak while white wine is best paired with salmon, different types of sauces work best for different proteins—which is where this handy recipe guide comes in. Consider it your barbecue sauce cheat sheet. Bonus: all are healthy and a cinch to make.
These are the best sauces to pair with your go-to grilled protein
For steak: chimichurri sauce
It’s a common misconception that because steak is so hearty that it should be topped with a hearty sauce, but TBH, all you really need is a good chimichurri. This one is made with olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and cilantro. Clean, simple, and definitely yum.
For tofu: cilantro avocado cream sauce
Because tofu essentially works as a sponge, soaking up whatever liquid you pair it with, the sauce is a super important component. This dairy-free avocado-based sauce is mild, yet flavorful. Bonus: it gives great healthy fats to your meal.
For salmon: ginger garlic sauce
Salmon has a more delicate taste than chicken or steak, so it requires a more mild sauce. One that works perfectly is this ginger garlic blend, also made with rice vinegar and chili pepper flakes. Add cilantro on top to amp up the flavor even more.
For chicken: maple chipotle sauce
Store-bought chipotle sauces can be loaded with sneaky sugar and sodium, but this recipe accomplishes that perfect balance of sweet and tangy without the additives. The secret: a combo of maple syrup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, and garlic. It hits all the flavor notes.
BTW, you should definitely be throwing veggie on the grill too. And while you’re at it, add your greens, too.