An easy way to punch up the inflammation-fighting powers of your meals? Cover them in anti-inflammatory sauces. They're an easy way to add benefits to any and everything you eat—including a concentrated serving of herbs and vegetables—all while enriching the flavor profile of whatever it is you're noshing on.
Fortunately for those with easily bored palates, there are hundreds to thousands of anti-inflammatory ingredients on this earth. Some of the most flavorful happen to be not only the most beneficial but also the easiest to source from your own pantry shelves, too. Below, find five anti-inflammatory sauces that rely upon accessible (and tasty!) ingredients to work their healing magic.
5 anti-inflammatory sauces you can throw together to toss on everything you eat
This dressing from former White House chef Sam Kass is simple but powerful. It contains just five ingredients you're likely to have on hand: turmeric, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. While turmeric and garlic are sort of the obvious anti-inflammatory superstars of this sauce, the other three ingredients are no slouch in that department, either. Olive oil is rich in phenolic compounds that regulate inflammation, as is lemon juice. It also doesn't hurt that this multitasking dressing is incredibly flavorful and easy to toss together at a moment's notice.
Get the recipe: Anti-inflammatory salad dressing
Here are two ways to use this liquid gold salad dressing:
Zhug is also known as Yemenite green hot sauce. (It hails from Yemen, obvi). Essentially, every single one of its ingredients is anti-inflammatory. It's got the usual suspects—e.g. garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley—along with a few ingredients not otherwise seen on this list, including capsaicin-rich Serrano chiles, anti-inflammatory cardamom pods, and more. It's great over grilled proteins, on a sandwich as a spread, or in dip form for veggies.
Get the recipe: Zhug
Classic pesto is made with fresh basil, pine nuts, and olive oil, which makes it healthy and healing AF. Basil has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects, while pine nuts are one of many antioxidant-rich, and therefore anti-inflammatory, tree nuts.
You don't have to stick to this mainstream pesto script, though. Instead, you can experiment with various leafy greens (e.g. spinach) in place of, or in addition to, basil, and try out any number of nuts in the sauce's pine nut role, too. Neither experiment will cause you to lose the healthful benefits of this sauce, and you can also add anti-inflammatory herbs (e.g. rosemary) into the mix to enhance the therapeutic benefits even more.
And pesto is versatile in its use, too. You can toss it onto pasta, of course, but it also pairs well with salads, eggs, pizzas, raw veggies, and more.
Get the recipe: Spinach pesto
Romesco sauce is the should-be-in-your-fridge-at-all-times Spanish condiment you may not have known your life was missing (but which will forever change it). It's made with antioxidant-rich bell peppers, garlic, olive oil, parsley, and more. It's perfect for drenching veggies, and can be used as a protein dressing, sandwich spread, or pasta sauce, too. The flavor is nutty, sweet, spicy, and sour—just like life.
Get the recipe: Romesco
This super simple sauce is a favorite of Richard Rea, executive chef at vegetarian restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter. It's comprised of just fermented garlic and honey, but those two basic ingredients pack a powerful anti-inflammatory punch. The former is basically garlic on steroids, in that fermentation has been shown to enhance the antioxidant powers of the plant. The latter, meanwhile, is also an antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory superstar. Rea likes to add this sauce to veggies for a sweetening effect.
Get the recipe: Fermented garlic honey
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