We all know about the typical main dish sauces: gravies, cream sauces, marinara, vinaigrettes, bbq sauces, etc...

However, I find that many side dishes have their own great sauces that you don't typically find as an entree sauce. For example:

  1. Baked bean sauce/juices are great on meat.
  2. Glazed carrots' glaze is great with light/mild fishes.

I could absolutely see these sauces being used on their own - that is, without serving the beans/carrots. What other side dish sauces do you think deserve to be bumped up to entree sauce status?

  • 2
    Good usage of CW Chad.
    – hobodave
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 4:03
  • Interesting concept. I'll have to give that some thought from the vegetarian perspective. Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 5:16
  • Chad it looks like this interesting but very open-ended question is going nowhere. Can you rephrase it? I think the problem is that everyone makes different sides, with different sauces, and thus there isn't any direction for people to take it. It's like asking, "what sauce can I make that's not typically made?" or "what accidental sauce can I make from a dish's leftovers". The latter might work, but the former is a non-starter.
    – Ocaasi
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 4:30

4 Answers 4


I make a sort-of-vinaigrette that I usually use as a salad dressing, but it'd probably be good with other things. My usual recipe is to halve a few pints of cherry tomatoes, toss them with some sugar and salt, then drain them into a bowl for a while. After they've drained, I reduce the tomato juice with honey, shallot, dijon mustard, and cider vinegar, let it cool, then add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  • Great idea! I think you're right that vinaigrettes are under used in main dishes. Chimichurris are used a lot with chicken or steak, but they're not really a pure vinaigrette. Your vinaigrette sounds like it would be really good on steak and chicken as well, maybe even pork. Oh, and I'm sure it would be great on some light, white fish. Thanks!
    – Chad
    Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 4:04

For me there is one item I frequently purchase just for the "side sauce" it contains: Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. The adobo sauce is an ingredient I practically incorporate into everything I make that I would want to add heat to. (I wish they sold it outright, but cutting up the peppers and adding them is just as satisfying.)

Frequent uses: Barbecued/grilled anything,Chili,Tomato sauces with smoky meats, (anything smoky), Queso dips, Mac & Cheese with poblanos

  • Wish I could give this answer more that +1. I use Adobo Sauce all the time too.
    – yossarian
    Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 15:44
  • That does sound good - I'll have to try some of those ideas. I haven't used adobo sauce before, though I've heard about it plenty. Thanks for the recommendation.
    – Chad
    Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 17:22
  • 1
    Absolutely love Chipotle in Adobo, that sauce is amazing. I also wish you could buy it straight up...sounds like a million dollar idea if someone were to jump on it! Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 17:49

Why not all of them?

That may sound like I'm taking the p*ss, but I'm not. There will be millions of sauces out there, and almost all of them will work with some main dish. We could try to list all of them. We could also try to reverse the question and see whether there are any sauces that disqualitfy themselves - and why they do so.

  • Yeah. Your answer is why I have voted to close. There's no real question or answer here.
    – daniel
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 7:46
  • 4
    @Roux & @Tobias: There's a real question here, but only if we give specific answers like I demonstrated. The point is so that users can try these new sauces or that it will spark a thought for a recipe. If you generalize the question you, not me, are making it too general. I specifically listed examples so that others would list examples and marked it as a wiki so that we could all contribute and help each other. Hope that makes sense.
    – Chad
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 14:48
  • It makes sense, Chad. I hope however, that you'll agree to disagree on this one. Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 19:58
  • I'm looking to see this question resolved, so I've put up a bounty. Don't like loose ends that involve me. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 9:38
  • I think this answer represents the (only) possible right one. Since there are no restrictions on what qualifies as a main dish, there will be no restrictions on what will work with some dish as a sauce. It's still interesting to explore specific examples though.
    – iwein
    Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 18:01

I find that many fruit glazes can be put into the spotlight. Simple sugar glazes with tweaked additions. To me vinaigrettes can be some great sauces for meat, especially pork.

  • Mmm, so right. I love pork with apples because that apple gel/sauce is a great sweet and sour taste. I wonder how it would be with chicken or veal?
    – Chad
    Commented Aug 20, 2010 at 18:12

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