Master List of Healthy Sauces and Dips (for Veggies, Grains, and More!)


Increase the odds that you and the kids will enjoy more nutritious foods with this master list of healthy sauces to use on vegetables, grains, fish, chicken, salads, as dips, and more.

dips and sauces for kids in grid of 6

Healthy Sauces

One of my most frequent refrains is that if you want your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, you need to make sure that they taste REALLY yummy.

And one of the best ways to do that is to have a few delicious healthy sauces and dips in your back pocket to turn to.

This list will help you come up with healthy sauces for vegetables, proteins, and grains, and some dips to serve with your family’s favorite dippers.

Best Tips for Serving Healthy Sauces to Kids

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using sauces on food for kids:

  • If mixing the sauce into the food, start with a small amount to give kids the chance to get used to the flavor.
  • Try changing up how you offer foods, sometimes mixing the sauce in, sometimes offering it on the side as a dip—or letting the kids mix together their own serving. This can help the kids feel more in control of their food and potentially increase the likelihood that they’ll eat it.
  • Use reduced-sodium soy sauce in Asian sauces to avoid excess salt, both for health reasons and since it can overpower flavor-wise.
  • Remember that your child may not have had some of these flavors before, so give them a chance to try them out a few times before you decide they don’t like them. Repeated exposure often helps a lot!
broccoli and cheese sauce on green plate on blue towel

Healthy Sauces for Vegetables

Many veggies taste great on their own, but they can taste so much better if topped, or served with, a sauce. These are my favorite sauces for vegetables for kids and parents a like.

Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

Yes, this sauce actually has vegetables in the sauce, but it’s also so good as a sauce or dip. It’s cheesy, but not overly rich, and it can be stirred into simple steamed veggies, spooned over potatoes, or served with pasta or grains. Try it with a new veggie or one that your kids don’t always go for!

Easy Cauliflower Cheese Sauce (4 Ingredients!)

Perfect for dipping and dunking veggies, this recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.

Get the recipe.

how to make cheese sauce

Easy Teriyaki Sauce

With just a few ingredients that can perk up broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, snow peas, and really, any veggie that you’d think to stir-fry.

Quick Teriyaki Shrimp with Zucchini and Rice

We like this with rice or rice noodles, but you can adjust how you serve it to fit your family!

Get the recipe.

easy teryiaki shrimp

Easy Peanut Sauce

This sauce is one of my go-to toppings to dress up basic ingredients from broccoli to carrots, chicken to shrimp, and grains and noodles. It’s a simple stir-together sauce that even stores well in the fridge for days.

Easy Peanut Sauce

This makes enough for 12-16 ounces of noodles, or enough for 1-2 meals as a sauce over grains or protein for a family of 4.

Get the recipe.

easy peanut sauce in jar with rice and cauliflower

Creamy Hummus

This hummus is easy to mix up and pairs really well with veggies and crackers.

Creamy Hummus Without Tahini

You can use regular plain yogurt, though I like the consistency that Greek yogurt yields a bit better.

Get the recipe.

homemade hummus without tahini

Sweet Potato Hummus

Combine three simple ingredients to make a creamy Sweet Potato Hummus. You can make it sweet or savory in flavor, and serve it up with sliced veggies and crackers for a super simple snack, lunch component, or appetizer to share!

Easy Sweet Potato Hummus

When I just need one sweet potato for a recipe, I often cook it in the microwave. Dice it, place it in a large 4-cup glass measuring cup, cover with two inches of water and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft. Roasted Sweet Potato or Crockpot Sweet Potato works well too!

 

Get the recipe.

sweet-potato-dip-in-white-bowl

easy marinara sauce in jar

Healthy Sauces for Pasta

Tossing pasta, no matter what kind you choose, with a healthy sauce is an easy way to get dinner on the table quickly. And when a sauce has vegetables and healthy ingredients in it, you can often keep the rest of the meal super simple. These are my go-tos.

Veggie-Packed Marinara

A bowl of pasta always goes over well with my kids, so I do my best to pack nutrition into the sauce to ensure they are getting a lot of the good stuff they need—even if they decide that they don’t want whatever side veggie I’ve made.

Easy Marinara Sauce with Extra Veggies

Serve this sauce with 1 pound of your family’s favorite pasta for an easy and healthy dinner.

Get the recipe.

easy marinara sauce in jar on towel

Spinach Pesto

My family adores pasta (like so many families I know!) and this Spinach Pesto is one of our go-to sauces. I like it because the color stays bright green, the ingredients are straightforward, and it packs a serious punch of vitamins and iron from the spinach.

Easy Spinach Pesto

Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza!

Get the recipe.

spinach pesto in jar

Kale Pesto

I am not a big fan of the flavor of kale, but I LOVE Kale Pesto. In fact, this is my favorite way to use up all of the fresh kale we typically grow each summer and my kids love it too. It takes about 5 minutes, stores well, and is delicious on pasta and pizza.

Easy Kale Pesto (to Share with the Kids!)

Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza! It’s a kid-friendly way to serve up kale and you don’t have to worry about it turning brown if you store it.

Get the recipe.

kale-pesto-in-container

Broccoli Pesto

Serve up a dose of nutritious broccoli in a kid-friendly form with this easy (and cheesy!) Broccoli Pesto. It has a bright flavor from the inclusion of fresh lemon, requires no cooking (other than preparing the pasta) and is a perfect sauce for both pasta and pizza.

Easy Broccoli Pesto

This will likely make enough for two meals. You can freeze the leftovers for a future meal. (This recipe was updated to improve the taste and method in April 2019.)

Get the recipe.

broccoli pesto on spaghetti in blue bowl with pink fork

Easy Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

Make the most of the flavor of summer produce with a batch of slow cooker Tomato Sauce from fresh tomatoes. This method is super easy, relies on the slow cooker so you can avoid heating up your oven, and delivers on the classic Italian flavor your family craves all year long.

Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes (in the Slow Cooker)

This tomato sauce method is the easiest way to transform fresh tomatoes into delicious sauce. Scale the recipe up or down for a smaller or larger slow cooker. You don’t have to be precise! And the chopped tomatoes can be very roughly chopped.

Get the recipe.

slow-cooker-spaghetti-sauce-in-freezer-containers in storage containers

easy peanut sauce in jar with vegetables and brown rice

Easy Sauces for Fish, Chicken and Beef

A basic and simple piece of fish, chicken or beef can be more enjoyable when paired with a delicious sauce of one kind or another. Here are a few of the ones that I love to pair with these proteins.

Easy Teriyaki Sauce

This is a favorite sauce for stir fried chicken or shrimp and veggies. It’s easy to make, is mild, and is yummy!

Quick Teriyaki Shrimp with Zucchini and Rice

We like this with rice or rice noodles, but you can adjust how you serve it to fit your family!

Get the recipe.

easy teryiaki shrimp

Soy Citrus Sauce

Pair this simple sauce with noodles and salmon or shrimp, or chicken, veggies and rice.

Easy Citrus Shrimp and Noodles

You can use fresh or frozen shrimp in this recipe. If using frozen, defrost according to package directions.

Get the recipe.

citrus shrimp and noodles

Kale Pesto

Sub baby kale in for spinach in this blender recipe and spoon over grilled, baked, or sauteed chicken for a simple, yet totally satisfying dinner. It also pairs well with salmon, white fish, and shrimp.

Easy Kale Pesto (to Share with the Kids!)

Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza! It’s a kid-friendly way to serve up kale and you don’t have to worry about it turning brown if you store it.

Get the recipe.

kale-pesto-in-container

Marinara Sauce

Simmer chicken tenders or thighs in marinara until cooked through and serve shredded with pasta or on its own with simple sides for a healthy family dinner.

Easy Marinara Sauce with Extra Veggies

Serve this sauce with 1 pound of your family’s favorite pasta for an easy and healthy dinner.

Get the recipe.

easy marinara sauce in jar on towel

noodles with stir fry sauce in skillet with peanuts and pineapple in small bowls

Healthy Sauces for Rice, Noodles, and Grains

Asian, Mexican, Italian, American…no matter what sort of flavors and cuisine that you’re craving, you can make a healthy sauce work for you when paired with grains. Think brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, quinoa, farro, and more!

Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

Toss this sauce with rice or quinoa for an easier-to-eat dish (since the grains stick together for little eaters!) with a veggie tucked right into the mix.

Easy Cauliflower Cheese Sauce (4 Ingredients!)

Perfect for dipping and dunking veggies, this recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.

Get the recipe.

how to make cheese sauce

Easy Teriyaki Sauce

Try this with a stir fry over noodles, or just as a way to perk up leftover grains.

Quick Teriyaki Shrimp with Zucchini and Rice

We like this with rice or rice noodles, but you can adjust how you serve it to fit your family!

Get the recipe.

easy teryiaki shrimp

Easy Peanut Sauce

 With short grain brown rice or quinoa, this peanut sauce is an instant flavor booster. (And it adds protein too!)

Easy Peanut Sauce

This makes enough for 12-16 ounces of noodles, or enough for 1-2 meals as a sauce over grains or protein for a family of 4.

Get the recipe.

easy peanut sauce in jar with rice and cauliflower

Green Curry Sauce

Rich and just flavorful enough, this is a favorite with rice and veggies or a favorite fish or tofu.

Thai Green Curry with Vegetables and Tofu

I like this dish as a way to occasionally serve my family tofu, but you can use chicken or shrimp if you like. And if you want to use different veggies, go right ahead! Just aim to use about 6 cups—snap peas, snow peas, frozen corn, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, and more all work well here. Adults may want to top their servings with hot sauce!

Get the recipe.

green curry in a pink bowl with rice and tofu

TIP: We love these short-cut sauces from Maya Kaimal Foods for making our favorite Indian foods at home. A a little of the sauces go a long way in terms of introducing new flavors to kids.

healthy cottage cheese spread in bowl with fruit on a plate

Easy Dips for Bread, Crackers, and Fruit

Some kids love to dip and serving yummy dips can be a simple way to help them enjoy more produce or whole grains. I love to pair dippers like veggies (fresh and raw), whole grain crackers and bread, and fruit with these dips.

Cottage Cheese Dip

Simple ingredients and lots of protein make this super creamy dip a perfect pair for crackers, fruit and veggies like cucumbers and snap peas.

Creamy Cottage Cheese Dip with Cinnamon and Vanilla

With a smooth and creamy texture and a nice amount of protein and fats to fuel little bodies, this cottage cheese blend is perfect for spreading or dipping.

Get the recipe.

healthy cottage cheese spread

Carrot Hummus

Add veggies right into your next batch of hummus with this easy recipe.

Easy Carrot Hummus

Taste the hummus and adjust for salt as needed. You may need more depending on whether or not you started with canned beans, and sometimes after the hummus sits in the fridge, it needs another sprinkle of salt. 

Get the recipe.

carrot-hummus-on-plate

BEet Hummus

Make a nut-free hummus that’s mild and creamy—and has a veggie tucked right inside. Then, spread on bread or serve as a dip!

Beet Hummus

You can omit the tahini if needed for an allergy.

Get the recipe.

beet hummus on blue plate with crackers

Fruit Salsa

Serve up fresh fruit in a fun new form with this easy Fruit Salsa recipe. It’s great with fish tacos or chips, and is a perfect way to introduce littles to salsa. You can even vary the recipe to use their favorite fruit!

Easy Fruit Salsa

You can vary the berries in this recipe by subbing in blueberries for the strawberries if desired. And change the color of tomato if that matters to your kids.

Get the recipe.

fruit salsa in blue bowl with plantain chips on plate

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

Give the kids a protein-packed dip for their favorite dippers with this simple nut butter dip.

Honey Yogurt Dip

Stir a little honey into tangy plain yogurt and drizzle over roasted carrots, cauliflower, or broccoli. Or serve alongside steamed veggies.

Maple Tahini Sauce

Stir together equal parts of maple syrup and tahini for a simple sauce that’s delish with naturally sweet veggies like sweet potato and carrots.

TIP: You may also like my Master List of Healthy Family Meals, Favorite Roasted Veggies, and go-to Slow Cooker Meals.

Does your family have a favorite dip? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

This post was first published March 2019.



Source link

Related Posts

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

21,989FansLike
3,583FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe
spot_img

Recent Stories