5 Healthy Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades From Around the World

If the sunny weather has you craving fresh flavors and new ways to spice up dinner without adding unhealthy fats and processed ingredients, we’ve got you covered. Try these five new recipes for healthy sauces, spices, and marinades from around the world.

Indian Spice Blend

Indian food is among the most flavorful and healthy of all culinary traditions. This spicy, savory blend is great with chicken, shrimp, veggies, chickpeas, and lentils.


  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp.) olive oil in a skillet on low-medium heat


  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp.) garam masala (a spice blend found in any market)
  • 1 tsp. crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red chili peppers
  • ¼ tsp. crushed cloves

Simmer a few minutes to release the flavors. Add meat, shrimp, vegetables, or legumes and extra olive oil or water as needed to prevent sticking. Don’t hesitate to experiment with varying quantities of each spice until you get the blend you like best.

Moroccan Chermoula

We discovered this recipe on American Public Media’s The Splendid Table website and simplified it just a bit. Traditionally used as a marinade for fish, chermoula can also be used for chicken, beef, vegetables, rice and other cooked grains, and as a dipping sauce for veggies and bread.

Pulse the following ingredients in the food processor until mixed but not pureed:

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped parsley leaves
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. lightly ground coriander seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne, or more to taste


  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

This marinade can be used warm or cold.

Recipes from the USA

The U.S. has as many flavor profiles as it does cultures. We asked U.S. Army Veteran Chef Chris Miller-Root for his unique take on traditional barbecued chicken. His recipe is packed with fruit and a hint of red pepper for a tangy, sweet, and spicy flavor that’s a guaranteed hit.

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Pineapple Barbeque Sauce

This recipe is enough for one cut-up chicken.

Rinse and pat chicken parts dry, then remove the fat. Place chicken in large, oven-safe glass pan and coat with:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

In a bowl, mix:

  • 1 tsp. ground rock salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. chili powder

Rub this mixture on the chicken.

To prepare the sauce, simmer the following on low heat for 5 minutes:

  • 2 cans (1½ cups) tomato paste
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Juice of ½ a lemon

Add and simmer for another 5 minutes:

  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Add and simmer another 5 minutes:

  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ pineapple, sliced into cubes

Add up to ½ cup water to get desired consistency, and simmer a final two minutes. Pour ¾ of the barbeque sauce into a heat-safe bowl and chill for 20-30 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce for basting chicken on the grill.

Pour the chilled sauce over the chicken, and, if there’s time, chill for another 30 minutes.

Barbeque the uncovered chicken pieces on pre-heated grill for 15 minutes, with the large pieces on the bottom rack, and small pieces on the top rack. Then baste with the reserved barbeque sauce, cover with foil, and cook until all pieces reach 165°F degrees on a meat thermometer.

Basil Nib Pesto

Dan Sweisford is the chef at the award winning Silver Star Café in Park City, Utah. He provided two super, simple, gluten- and dairy-free recipes. Dan serves this savory, chocolaty pesto with heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella-like Burrata cheese.

Mix in a bowl:

  • 8 oz. chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots

In a small pan, sauté over medium heat:

  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sauté until garlic just starts to turn light brown. Next, pour the garlic mixture into a separate bowl and add:

  • ¾ cup cocoa nibs

Cool until just warm, add and mix:

  • the basil-shallot mixture
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Dan’s Root Beer Cure

Dan uses the flavors of root beer as a meat rub for his Rocky Mountain lamb chops; the rub gives them a great depth of flavor.

Heat in a sauté pan:

  • 1 cup Sarsaparilla bark powder
  • ¾ cup Sassafras root powder
  • 1/2 cup licorice root powder
  • 3 ground star anise

Toast this mixture until you can smell the licorice. Note: Sarsaparilla, sassafras, and licorice root powder can all be purchased via Amazon.com.

Chill, then combine with:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups salt

Store the rub dry at room temperature and use it on any of your barbeque favorites.

Lisa Ward, co-owner of Silver Star Café, reviewed this article.


Ward, Lisa. Co-owner, Silver Star Café. Email interview May 19, 2015.

Miller-Root, Chris. Email interview. May 18, 2015.

Schulman, Martha Rose. Chermoula. The Splendid Table. Accessed May 14, 2015.