Lemon Basil Pesto and More No-Cook Summer Sauces

July 18, 2014

I've said it time and time again, my goal this summer is cook as little as possible.  Please don't misinterpret this to mean that I don't want to prepare delicious food - no.  I simply want to avoid turning on the oven or being perched over the stove top stirring something or other.  I'm constantly reaching for my food processor to create a myriad of no-cook sauces and condiments to flavor my food.  This means I'm cooking with pantry staples like canned beans and olives, garlic, herbs and olive oil.  I use these "raw" sauces as marinades, sandwich spreads,and dipping sauces, just to name a few.  These bright summer no-cook sauces will add a bang to your food without giving your heat stroke in the process.

Hummus
Photo Credit: Paul Goyette

This Eastern Mediterranean dip can be prepared in just minutes and takes minimal effort.  The key to super smooth hummus is to process the tahini (sesame seed paste) with the lemon juice prior to adding the rest of the ingredients.

Sun Dried Tomato Tapenade
Recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen

Traditional tapenade is made with finely chopped olives, garlic and parsley.  This recipe replaces the olives with sun dried tomatoes for a twist on the classic French spread.  You can a teaspoon or two on top of crispy polenta squares or slather it on crostini for a quick appetizer.

Spicy Lemon Basil Pesto
Recipe from KCET

Pesto is a versatile no-cook sauce that delicious with just about anything it touches.  You can combine it with mayonnaise to create a flavorful spread or toss the pesto with pasta and grilled chicken for an easy weeknight meal.

Chimichurri
Recipe from Laughing Spatula

Chimichurri is a classic Argentinean herb and olive oil sauce usually paired with grilled meat.  It's delicious with steak, chicken, fish and even grilled tofu.  Chimichurri is also great as a salad dressing.

Romesco
Recipe from What's Gaby Cooking

Romesco is a raw red pepper and almond sauce that originates from Spain.  This healthy dip is a healthy alternative to ranch or blue cheese dressing for a crudite platter or grilled vegetables.

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