Lately I’ve been on a journey to find easy sauces that work well for both meat lovers and vegetarians. Because though my family isn’t always on the same page about meals, one thing I’ve learned from having a picky eater is that becoming a short-order cook is not the solution.
So instead of making separate meals, I’m loving these flexible sauces that compliment both meat entrees and their vegetarian counterparts. These sauces manage to be crowdpleasers no matter what you put them on, from chicken to lentils, and any vege or meat in between, without you having to create completely separate meals. Brilliant!
Top image: Chipotle cream sauce | Downshiftology
This creamy chicken pesto pasta at Salt and Lavender uses Natasha’s unbelievable-looking pesto recipe. Pesto is one of my favorite sauces because it pairs so beautifully with chicken, seafood, and veggies. If you need more protein on your vegetarian version, try chickpeas, mozzarella, or some extra toasted pine nuts.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with a classic stovetop butter chicken or butter paneer, like this recipe from The Modern Proper. If your grocery store doesn’t carry paneer, try to find an international food market. Or check Costco! My local branch sells big bricks of paneer that give me an excuse to make this sauce over and over. For the vegetarian version, sub veggie stock for chicken stock when you make the sauce, and try a squash instead of chicken. So good!
Jessica in the Kitchen is one of my all-time favorite vegan blogs, and I love her take on coconut chickpea curry so much. If you’re cooking for meat eaters, add the chicken or beef in at the same point Jessica adds the chickpeas. Just note you may need to adjust your cook time to thoroughly cook the meat.
Store bought enchilada sauce can’t hold a candle to this homemade enchilada sauce from Gimme Some Oven. Again, substitute veggie stock for the chicken stock here, and then plan for your meat enchilada to cheese enchilada (or roasted cauliflower enchilada!) ratio based on your family.
I make a simple teriyaki sauce sauce, like this one at The Recipe Critic, almost once a week because it’s so easy and versatile. I love it on sesame salmon, as shown here, or for vegetarians, on tofu. Just make sure you press as much of the water out of the tofu as you can before marinating in this. Yum.
I am dying for this creamy chipotle sauce, shown here on a gorgeous chipotle shrimp recipe, at Downshiftology. Lisa even offers a vegan modification if you want to totally eliminate dairy. I think this sauce would totally rock a rice and bean bowl or a pile of nachos if you’re going vegetarian.