Kitchn Love Letters

I’ve Never Liked Ready-to-Eat Sauces Until I Found These Gourmet Ones That Blew Me Away

published Jul 4, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Pearl Jones/Kitchn

If you read The Kitchn often, then you know all of us here come from a variety of backgrounds. As for me, I come from the world of kitchens consisting of sweaty shifts on the hot line and early hours prepping pastries for breakfast goers. So, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I like to think I’m pretty good at serving up delicious plates of food. From snacks and full-blown coursed dinners to birthday cakes, my theory is that food just tastes better when you enjoy cooking. And I usually love every single minute I spend in my kitchen (dishes aside), but there’s one crucial meal element that usually makes me groan: Sauces.

Like soup, a good sauce requires the perfect balance and a nuanced understanding of how flavors bounce off one another or dance together. That part can be fun, but tricky. But what really gets me is just how much time it adds to an already full afternoon of cooking. I mean, a girl can only do so much! And while I have loads of unique, yummy ingredients I use as shortcuts for simple sauces, it wasn’t until I discovered Haven’s Kitchen that I finally found a pre-prepared sauce worthy of my dinner plate.

I started with the Best Seller Set because well, they’ve got to be called that for a reason, right? The set includes the Edamame Green Goddess, Gingery Miso, Golden Turmeric Tahini, and Herby Chimichurri. Honestly, I had low expectations. I haven’t had much luck with pre-packaged pantry staples before. But these truly totally blew me away.

The Green Goddess is mellow and subtle but leaves a complexity of herbs on the tongue. The flavor literally tastes like the color green, in the best way. I find myself tossing my WFH salad in the stuff with a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s perfection. I have also used it to marinate chicken breasts or to toss with roasted root veggies. You can’t go wrong however you use it.

The Gingery Miso is one of my other favorites. I am a salmon person, through and through, and I love using this delicious packet of goodness as a marinade before I pan sear a filet. The fish gets a sweet, caramelized, salty, umami, outer layer that keeps the inside moist. I mostly use this one as a pre-cooking marinade, but it could easily be squeezed over literally anything (I’m trying savory oatmeal next). Every time you use it, you’ll instantly feel like a pro chef.

When it comes to tahini, I’m probably in the top 1 percent of fans. So, it’s not surprising that a tahini-ginger-garlic is one of my go-to choices when I’m forced to make a sauce. Now, I don’t have to. I could squeeze the Golden Turmeric Tahini out of the bag (which is sustainably sourced and packaged, by the way) straight into my mouth. It’s creamy, with a sharpness from the sumac and an earthiness from the turmeric. Trust me, put this on any and every bowl of food you eat. You won’t be sorry.

Finally, the Chimichurri: Tangy, balanced, and of course herby, this sauce’s got a little spice from a touch of Serrano pepper. I mix it into rice, spoon it onto steaks, and toss grilled summer squash in it. I find that it’s complex enough to give that je ne sais quoi to my meal while still bringing a levity and brightness. This chimi goes with all cuisines — it’s essentially an instant elevation of flavor profile.

Besides the unparalleled flavor and incredible ease, what I love most about Haven’s Kitchen is the shelf life. On the rare occasion I don’t run through a packet within a short time frame (I’m talkin’ days), the sauces can sit in my fridge happily for months without losing any flavor, color, or texture. This quality is especially handy during the busy summer travel season — I won’t have to return home and clean out my fridge. In fact, I’ll be coming back to a quick and effortless dinner.

Buy: Best Seller Set, $39