Steamed vegetables are a healthy and delicious choice for any meal, but they can be quite bland on their own.
Adding a sauce is the perfect way to give your steamed veggies some extra flavor.
But with so many sauces out there, it can be hard to pick one that will truly enhance the taste of your dish.
That’s why I’ve put together this list of 11 best sauces for steamed vegetables – so you can find one that perfectly complements your meal!
Why Pair Steamed Veggies With A Sauce?
- First, sauces are an easy way to add flavor to steamed veggies. Sauces like pesto or teriyaki can bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables while adding complexity and depth.
- Second, sauces can provide a contrast in texture that helps make the dish more interesting. For example, creamy sauces like hollandaise or béchamel will provide a smooth contrast to crunchy steamed vegetables like broccoli or asparagus.
- Finally, sauces can also be used for presentation purposes; drizzling colorful sauces over bright green veggies creates an attractive plate that is sure to impress guests.
11 Best Sauces for Steamed Vegetables
Steamed vegetables make a delicious side dish, but the right sauce can take them to the next level.
Here are eleven sauces that will perfectly complement steamed vegetables and bring out their natural flavors:
1. Garlic Butter Sauce
Garlic butter sauce is a simple and flavorful condiment made with butter, garlic, and herbs.
It’s creamy, garlicky, and slightly tangy from the addition of lemon juice or white wine.
The sauce can be used to enhance the flavor of steamed vegetables, grilled meats, seafood dishes, pasta dishes, and more.
- To Make It: To make garlic butter sauce at home you will need unsalted butter (or vegan butter), minced garlic cloves (or garlic powder), fresh parsley or other herbs such as thyme or oregano (optional), salt to taste, freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional), and either freshly squeezed lemon juice or dry white wine for added acidity.
- To Customize: You can customize your garlic butter sauce by adding different herbs such as rosemary or basil instead of parsley. You can also add grated Parmesan cheese for an extra cheesy flavor.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand you can substitute dried herbs such as oregano or thyme. You can also use olive oil instead of butter if desired.
2. Sweet Sesame Sauce
Sweet sesame sauce is a condiment made from sesame paste, sugar, and soy sauce.
It has a sweet and savory flavor that pairs well with steamed vegetables.
- To Make It: To make sweet sesame sauce, combine 1/4 cup of tahini (sesame paste), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until they are fully combined. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- To Customize: The sweetness can be adjusted by adding more or less sugar to taste. For an extra kick of flavor, add some minced garlic or ginger to the mix before whisking it together. You can also add chili flakes for some heat if desired.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have tahini on hand, you can substitute peanut butter for a similar flavor profile. Alternatively, you could use almond butter instead for a nuttier flavor profile. If you don’t have any type of nut butter available, try using sunflower seed butter instead for an earthy flavor profile that still complements steamed vegetables nicely!
3. Honey Sesame Dressing
Honey sesame dressing is a sweet and savory condiment made with honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.
It’s a popular accompaniment to steamed vegetables or salads.
- To Make It: To make honey sesame dressing, combine 1/4 cup of honey with 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. Mince one clove of garlic and add it to the mixture along with 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root. Whisk all the ingredients together until they are well combined. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings as desired before serving.
- To Customize: The flavor profile can be adjusted by adding more or less honey for sweetness; more or less soy sauce for saltiness; more or less rice vinegar for acidity; more or less garlic for pungency; and more or less ginger for spiciness.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have any sesame oil on hand, you can substitute an equal amount of olive oil instead. You can also use agave nectar instead of honey if desired.
4. Ginger Soy Dressing
Ginger Soy Dressing is a flavorful and easy-to-make condiment that combines the flavors of ginger, chile and garlic sauce, soy sauce, canola oil, and rice wine vinegar.
It’s perfect for adding a punch of flavor to steamed vegetables or salads.
- To Make It: To make this dressing, simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until fully combined. You can also use an immersion blender or food processor if you prefer. Once combined, transfer the dressing to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- To Customize: This recipe is very versatile and can be customized with different herbs or spices such as cilantro or red pepper flakes. You can also add more heat by increasing the amount of chile and garlic sauce used in the recipe.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have access to fresh ginger, you can substitute ground ginger instead. Additionally, if you don’t have any low-sodium soy sauce on hand, regular soy sauce will work just fine as well.
5. Creamy Garlic Yogurt Sauce
Creamy Garlic Yogurt Sauce is a creamy, garlicky sauce made with yogurt, garlic, and herbs.
It’s a great accompaniment to steamed vegetables or grilled meats.
- To Make It: To make the sauce, combine plain Greek yogurt with minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until all ingredients are combined and the sauce has reached your desired consistency. For extra flavor you can add fresh herbs such as parsley or dill.
- To Customize: You can customize this sauce by adding different spices or herbs to it such as cumin or oregano for an extra kick of flavor. You can also adjust the amount of garlic used depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have Greek yogurt on hand you can substitute it with sour cream or mayonnaise for a richer version of the sauce. You could also use non-dairy alternatives such as coconut milk yogurt if desired.
6. Miso Sauce
Miso sauce is a savory, umami-rich condiment made from fermented soybeans.
It’s commonly used in Japanese cuisine and can be found in many Asian grocery stores.
The most common type of miso used for making miso sauce is white miso, which has a milder flavor than other types of miso.
- To Make It: To make the basic version of this sauce, you’ll need gluten free tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, ginger and white miso paste. Simply whisk all the ingredients together until combined and then adjust to taste with more sweetener or salt if desired.
- To Customize: You can customize your miso sauce by adding different herbs and spices such as garlic powder, onion powder or chili flakes for an extra kick. You can also add some sesame oil for a nutty flavor or even some lime juice for a zesty twist!
- Substitutions: If you don’t have any white miso on hand, you can substitute it with red or yellow miso paste instead. Just keep in mind that these varieties are much stronger in flavor so you may want to reduce the amount used accordingly. Alternatively, you could use tahini instead of the white miso paste but it won’t provide quite the same depth of flavor as traditional miso does.
7. Mustard Cream Sauce
Mustard cream sauce is a creamy, tangy condiment made with Grey Poupon mustard, heavy cream, brandy, olive oil and whole grain mustard.
It’s a great accompaniment to steamed vegetables or grilled meats.
- To Make It: To make the sauce, combine 1/4 cup of Grey Poupon mustard with 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a small bowl. Whisk together until combined. Then add 2 tablespoons of brandy and whisk again until blended. Finally, stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard until everything is well incorporated.
- To Customize: The flavor profile can be adjusted to suit your taste by adding more or less of any ingredient as desired. For example, if you want it to be spicier you can add more whole grain mustard; for a sweeter flavor you can add more brandy; for an extra creamy texture you can add more heavy cream; and for an extra zing you can add more Grey Poupon mustard.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand or prefer not to use them, there are some substitutions that will work just as well in this recipe such as Dijon mustard instead of Grey Poupon; light cream instead of heavy cream; white wine instead of brandy; vegetable oil instead of olive oil; and yellow prepared mustard instead of whole grain mustard.
8. Ponzu Sauce
Ponzu sauce is a Japanese condiment made from soy sauce, dried bonito flakes, lemon juice, dried kelp (kombu), and sugar.
It has a tart and savory flavor that pairs well with steamed vegetables.
- To Make It: To make ponzu sauce at home, combine 1/2 cup of soy sauce with 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then add 1 teaspoon of dried bonito flakes and 1 teaspoon of dried kelp powder to the mixture and stir until combined. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving so that the flavors can meld together.
- To Customize: You can customize your ponzu sauce by adding other ingredients such as mirin (sweet rice wine), sake (rice wine), or yuzu juice (a citrus fruit). You can also adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your taste preferences.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, you can substitute them with similar items such as tamari instead of soy sauce or white vinegar instead of lemon juice.
9. Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce
Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce is a creamy, tangy sauce made with cilantro, lime juice, and mayonnaise.
It’s perfect for adding flavor to steamed vegetables or as a dip for chips and other snacks.
- To Make It: To make the sauce, combine 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- To Customize: The sauce can be customized by adding different herbs such as parsley or dill; spices such as chili powder or smoked paprika; or even some diced jalapeno peppers for an extra kick!
- Substitutions: If you don’t have access to fresh cilantro leaves, you can substitute dried cilantro flakes instead. You can also use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise for a lighter version of the sauce.
10. Curry Sauce
Curry sauce is a creamy, flavorful condiment made from a combination of spices and herbs.
It can be used as a dip for steamed vegetables or as an accompaniment to other dishes.
- To Make: To make curry sauce, start by heating oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant. Then add the spices (such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala) and stir-fry for 1 minute. Next add the coconut milk or cream and bring to a simmer. Finally season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
- To Customize: Curry sauce can be customized according to individual tastes by adding more or less of certain ingredients such as garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander etc., depending on how spicy you want it to be. You can also adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding more or less coconut milk/cream accordingly.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have all the necessary ingredients on hand for making curry sauce from scratch then there are some alternatives that you could use instead such as store-bought curry paste or pre-made sauces like tikka masala or korma sauces which are readily available in most supermarkets these days.
11. Peanut Sauce
Peanut sauce is a condiment made from ground peanuts, which are blended with other ingredients to create a thick and creamy sauce.
It is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Thai and Indonesian dishes.
- To Make It: To make peanut sauce, you will need peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), gluten-free soy sauce, brown sugar, chili garlic sauce (or sriracha), rice vinegar, and water. Start by combining the peanut butter with the soy sauce in a bowl until smooth. Then add the brown sugar and stir until it has dissolved completely. Next add the chili garlic sauce and rice vinegar and mix everything together until combined. Finally add enough water to thin out the mixture to your desired consistency.
- To Customize: You can customize your peanut sauce by adding different flavors such as lime juice or sesame oil for an extra kick of flavor. You can also adjust the sweetness level by adding more or less brown sugar depending on your preference.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have any of these ingredients on hand, you can substitute them with other pantry staples like honey instead of brown sugar or apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar.
In conclusion, there are many delicious sauces that can be used to dress up steamed vegetables.
The best sauces for steamed vegetables are garlic butter sauce, sesame sauce, honey sesame dressing, ginger soy dressing, yogurt sauce, miso sesame sauce, mustard sauce, ponzu sauce, chile-lime butter, curry sauce, and peanut sauce.
Each of these sauces adds its own unique flavor to the vegetables that can take your dish to the next level.
Whether you’re looking for a light and refreshing sauce or a bold and flavorful one, these sauces offer a variety of options for you to choose from.
So, go ahead and make your veggies extra special with one of these sauces!
11 Best Sauces for Steamed Vegetables
- Garlic Butter Sauce
- Sweet Sesame Sauce
- Honey Sesame Dressing
- Ginger Soy Dressing
- Creamy Garlic Yogurt Sauce
- Miso Sauce
- Mustard Cream Sauce
- Ponzu Sauce
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce
- Curry Sauce
- Peanut Sauce
- Select your favorite recipe.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep a sauce recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.