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16 Mediterranean Sauces & Dips For Any Occasion

Sick of your usual boring kitchup or mayo sauce? Want to spice up your meals with some exotic Mediterranean flavours?

For any true lovers of Mediterranean food, these Mediterranean dips and sauces are what you need to add to the table.

We’ll give an overview of these delicious sauces and what foods you should use them with.

Romesco Sauce

This versatile Spanish sauce can be served with fish, seafood, and pasta. 

It is incredibly flavorsome and exceptionally quick to prepare. The fishermen from Tarragona were the first ones who made this sauce to be served and eaten with fish, although nowadays, 

Spanish people also used it as a dip with “calçots” – the spring onions prepared on a grill. 

Romesco is found regularly within Spanish cuisine. There are no strict list of ingredients. It is based on a tomato purée (make sure if you are buying one that is ready-made to choose one without added flavors like basil, for example), roasted red peppers, hazelnuts, or almonds, garlic.

As this sauce is not intended to be particularly spicy, choose mild chiles just for a touch of flavor.

Before you put all the ingredients in a blender, you can add just a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and olive oil. 

Tzatziki

Mediterranean cuisine isn’t complete without the Greek sauce tzatziki. 

It is a delicious and savory sauce that almost no popular Greek dish can go without. Gyros, souvlaki, kebabs — you name it.  

The sauce uses yogurt as its essential ingredient. It is exceptionally refreshing and works wiell combined with various meats. It also blends perfectly as a veggie dip and with fish, especially when you want to cut a stronger flavor. 

The choice of yogurt is crucial for preparing the close to original taste – so if you cannot find Greek yogurt in your local store, remove the moisture from the plain yogurt to get a thicker composure. The peeled fresh cucumber should be grated. 

Larger grater blades are advised for getting longer pieces. A pinch of salt, black pepper and white wine vinegar should be tossed together with the cucumber and just a touch of garlic (put in a blender) and some fresh herbs. 

Pesto 

Originating from Genoa, the full name of this sauce is “pesto alla genovese,”.

A good blender or pestle and mortar is required for this sauce. Use fresh basil and quality Parmesan cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano for the best flavors.

Although there are many variations, other important ingredients are pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. It is a great addition to vegetable plates, salads as well as chicken dishes. 

If you want to preserve the incredible light green color of this sauce without turning it dark within minutes, you should consider putting the basil leaves in hot water for 30 seconds at most and then plunge them in cold water. 

Salsa Verde 

Salsa Verde is an Italian sauce best described as grassy, musty and peppery. Across Italy this salsa can differ from region to region. 

The base ingredients are parsley, capers, garlic, and often red pepper flakes and anchovies. 

The preparation is super easy and quick, enrich the taste of chicken dishes as well as roasted vegetables. 

Baba Ganoush 

Baba Ganoush without Tahini

Baba Ganoush is a popular Lebanese eggplant dip.

It has a smoky, soft and creamy texture that tastes amazing. It’s suitable as a vegetarian or vegan appetizer or dip that you can enjoy anytime.

These dips are often found as a pre-dinner mezze in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Dip some raw vegetables or serve with flatbread for a tasty, highly nutritious snack.

Get the recipe here.

Hummus 

This is one of the most known Mediterranean dips. 

It has a creamy, tasty, and refreshing dip popular in Lebanese cuisine. All that’s needed are a few veggies or warm pita to serve alongside and you’ve got a winning combo.

It’s also extremely healthy and full of protein, making it a perfect appetizer for anyone on a health drive. 

The dip is predominantly made of chickpeas. Some olive oil, garlic and lemon are usually added, but try adding different ingredients and herbs for some unique flavors.

Get the recipe here.

Aioli

Aioli is a dip that originates from Catalonia. It’s quite similar to mayo because they are both creamy emulsions.

The main difference is that aioli is created from olive oil and garlic. Mayo is instead created from egg yolks and canola oil. Although they have a similar appearance, they have distinct flavors.

Aioli works really well as a spread for sandwiches, dip for french fries and as a base for pasta and potato salads.

Matbucha 

Matbucha also means ‘cooked salad’ and is served as an appetizer, often as part of a meze. It’s a popular dish in Israel, but it originated in North Africa and is also popular across Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya.

It is sweet and spicy, rich in flavors that come from its ingredients: tomato, bell peppers, onions, and garlic.

There are a few variations you can try. Using bell peppers and sweet paprika gives a mild flavor, but you can add hot paprika and jalapeños for extra spiciness.

It is a popular spread on bread and pitas.

Rouille Sauce

Rouille sauce is thick, creamy, and perfect for topping off a slice of bread.

It’s a spicy saffron mayonnaise that goes well on everything, from grilled cheese and grilled fish to seafood and fish soup.

It’s most often served as a garnish with the popular French dish bouillabaisse.

This sauce consists of breadcrumbs with olive oil, saffron, garlic, and cayenne pepper. It adds a unique garlicy richness to dishes and delivers an incredible burst of Mediterranean flavor.

Zhug

Schug sauce is the king of spicy condiments.

It’s a hot, herby, and garlicky sauce that adds a spicy kick to different foods. It’s a popular Middle Eastern sauce that’s also known as skhug.

Although you can most often find it in green color, it can also be red or brown. One thing’s for sure – it’s always hot. Therefore, it’s meant to be used sparingly.

You can stir it into stews, soups, or sauces, spread a tiny amount of it on pita bread or sandwich, serve it with grilled steak, or drizzle it on pasta.

Moutabel

Moutabel or Mutabal sauce is a Middle Eastern creamy dip based on eggplant.

It consists of a few simple ingredients: eggplant, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini.

Still, there are many versions of the sauce containing additional ingredients such as tomatoes.

The smoky flavour of the roasted eggplant, the slight tang from the lemon, and the toasty tahini sauce make the perfect combination that will make you want more.

It’s a great spread on fresh or toasted bread, crackers, or crusty flatbread, as well as in combination with grilled meat and chicken.

This beautiful creamy sauce is a spicier version of the popular Middle Eastern dip Baba Ghanoush.

Béarnaise Sauce

This soft, creamy, light yellow sauce originates from the province of Bern, France.

It consists of egg yolks, vinegar, butter, shallots, and tarragon, so it’s a type of loose mayonnaise.

It’s a sauce for steak, the two items being a match made in heaven.

The creaminess of the sauce softens the charred character of grilled steak, and the shallots and tarragon accent the meat’s flavor.

The richness of the Béarnaise sauce improves any steak, burger, salmon, or asparagus.

Muhammara

This spicy pepper dip is a mix of sweet, savory, and smoky with a little spice. It originated from Syria, but it’s also very popular in the Turkish and Levantine cuisines.

It consists of around ten ingredients, the main one being fresh or dried peppers.

Other ingredients include breadcrumbs for texture, pomegranate molasses for sweetness, chili flakes for heat, olive oil for body, cumin for smokiness, walnuts for bite, and lemon for acidity.

Muhammara can be used as a sauce for grilled meats, kebabs, and fish, as a spread for toast, or a dip with bread or pita bread.

Taramasalata

This Greek, creamy, and soft dip is made from the salted and cured fish roe called tarama, mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, and mashed potatoes or bread.

Additional ingredients are spring onions, garlic, vinegar, and peppers.

Taramasalata is most commonly used as a spread on bread or served as part of a meze platter.

A high-quality sauce is beige in colour, unlike the commercially sold which is pink and doesn’t do the sauce justice.

The traditional Taramasalata dip is salty and rich, but also high in protein and omega-3s. It’s usually served with some olive oil, sprinkled with pepper and fresh thyme, and with the addition of olives.

Silan

This sweet, date-based dipping sauce comes in different flavours.

It’s basically a date honey that goes excellent on spicy chicken skewers, baked sweet potatoes, pancakes, and apples.

Silan is a staple of Israeli cuisine. It’s not only delicious, but healthy as well since dates are rich in antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

The best part is that this sweet honey is lower in calories than brown or white sugar.

The sweetness of the date honey syrup pairs well with cheese, vegetable, or meat courses.

Toum

Toum is a creamy, garlic sauce, condiment, and a dip that originated from Lebanon.

It contains considerable amounts of raw garlic which give a pungent kick to any dish.

It pairs well with kebabs or grilled meat, and it can be a bold alternative to egg-free mayonnaise to add to your French fries.

Adding Toum to your vegetables or pasta is a quick way to enrich the foods with garlic flavour.

The dip can also be used as a spread because of its thickness. The possibilities of how to serve it are endless.  Besides garlic, the dip contains lemon juice, vegetable oil or olive oil, and salt.

Traditionally, it’s made with a wooden mortar and pestle.

Get the recipe here.