Blitz sauces to enhance your summer faves

Keep your summer food healthy and fresh with these homemade sauces. Each sauce can be stored—covered in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.

laurafrankelsauce image

I love grilling! I grill everything I can get my hands on and every night, rain or shine, I can be found outside communing with smoke, flames, and my backyard. I raid the farmers markets like a pirate seeking treasure and scoop vegetables, small and large, to make summer meals fresh and healthy. 

Summer is the time to start new food habits. Locally grown, fresh vegetables are hard to come by in the Midwest. We wait all winter for a glimpse of something green and then suddenly the markets are bursting with baby carrots, beets, asparagus, broccoli, and more. The season is exciting and vibrant.  

I grill so often and eat so many vegetables that occasionally I become vegged out! I wish someone would create a new vegetable. When I get over-veggified, I like to dress up my vegetable bounty with these simple and quick sauces. Each of the sauces can be made in five minutes or less and can be served on EVERYTHING! Fish, poultry, beef, vegetables, and lettuces can be enhanced and made new and exciting by any one of my favorite blitz sauces. 

Keep your summer food healthy and fresh with these homemade sauces. Each sauce can be stored-covered in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. VIVA LA VEGETABLES!  

All-Purpose EVERYTHING Sauce 

It's a marinade, a vinaigrette, a sauce. It's everything! 

3/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil 

2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard 

1 tablespoon water 

2 tablespoons white vinegar 

1 teaspoon sea salt 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano 

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil 

2 cloves garlic 

½ teaspoon black pepper  

Zest and juice of 1 fresh lemon  

  1. Lightly mix in a blender or food processor and drizzle on grilled vegetables, roasted chicken, fish, or meats. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Kale and Pistachio Pesto 

Delicious on pasta, dolloped in soup, brushed on chicken or fish, or drizzled over roasted vegetables, this new version of pesto is versatile. My favorite way to enjoy this pesto is as a dressing for potato salad. Toss with warm and freshly cooked new or fingerling potatoes.  

1 ½ cups torn kale (no stems)  

½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley stems 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

½ teaspoon sea salt 

¼ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper  

2 cloves garlic 

Zest and Juice of one lemon 

1/2 cup raw pistachios (or pepitas, walnuts, or almonds), lightly toasted until slightly darkened in color and very aromatic 

Romesco Sauce 

This is my favorite sauce. The smoky paprika totally makes the dish. The tangy and smoky sauce is delicious on frittatas, grilled fish or chicken, served as a dip for grilled veggies, and dolloped on a steak or burger. 

1 large roasted red bell pepper (jarred works here) 

2 ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded, rehydrated in hot water for 10 minutes 

3 garlic cloves, smashed 

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted 

1/4 cup tomato purée 

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley 

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 

1 teaspoon or more smoked paprika 

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

  1. Pulse ingredients in a blender or food processor. I love this sauce to be a little chunky. 


I use this sauce all year round. It is great drizzled on steaks, chicken, or fish, sizzling right off the grill. The sauce adds a zesty herbaceous flavor to veggies and is perfect as a light and refreshing salad dressing. 

2 cups flat leaf parsley leaves 

1 cup fresh mint or cilantro (or a mix) 

Zest and juice of 1 lemon 

4 garlic cloves, smashed 

½ cup or more extra virgin olive oil (depending upon how thick you want the sauce) 

Pinch of crushed red chilies 

½ teaspoon sea salt 

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 

  1. Whir this mixture in a blender or food processor. Cover leftover sauce and store in the fridge for up to 7 days. 

Laura Frankel is a kosher chef and director of Catering at The Standard Club. Previously, she was the Culinary Director for Jamie Geller's Test Kitchen and Kosher Network International. Frankel is the author of two Jewish cookbooks-Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes (Agate Publishing) -with a third book forthcoming. She is the founder of Shallots Restaurant in Chicago, Skokie, and New York, and served as Executive Chef for Wolfgang Puck. 

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