Top 10 Ways To Give Condiments a Flavor-Boost

Zest up your food by adding one or two staple ingredients to store-bought sauces and spreads.

Why spend hours in the kitchen creating complicated sauces and dressings when zesty combinations are as easy as adding horseradish to bottled ketchup or chopped chipotle peppers to low-fat mayonnaise?

"The addition of one item really can make a difference," says Robin Vitetta-Miller, MS, author of Picnics: Easy Recipes for the Best Alfresco Foods (Clarkson Potter, 2005). Chipotle peppers add heat and smokiness, horseradish gives texture and heat, and honey can lend the right amount of sweetness to just about any condiment.

Here are some of Vitetta-Miller's favorite condiment short cuts that make great vegetables dips, sandwich spreads, burger toppings, entrée sauces and more.

  1. Add wasabi powder or wasabi paste to low-fat mayonnaise for a spicy vegetable dip or sandwich spread.

  2. Get creative with Dijon mustard by adding a touch of honey and dill. Bev Bennett, cookbook author and recipe developer, makes her own honey mustard to get just the right level of sweetness. She also throws in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat.

  3. Mix together fat-free plain yogurt, shredded cucumber and garlic powder for a simple Greek-inspired vegetable dip, turkey burger topping or sauce for grilled chicken.

  4. Add ketchup and mustard to bottled barbecue sauce and spread it over meatloaf before baking for excellent moisture and flavor. Bennett's other barbecue sauce additions include smoked paprika or minced roasted garlic cloves.

  5. Combine sesame oil, soy sauce and minced scallions for an easy Asian dipping sauce for vegetables and steamed dumplings.

  6. Create a creamy sauce for nachos, tacos, burritos and Tex-Mex wraps by adding fat-free sour cream to prepared salsa.

  7. Or go savory and mix salt-free garlic and herb seasoning (and fresh herbs, if desired) with low-fat cottage cheese and spread it into a pita filled with roasted vegetables.

  8. Top your favorite burger with a dollop of ketchup combined with plain, fat-free yogurt or nonfat sour cream.

  9. Add some of the sauce (but not the actual peppers) from canned chipotle peppers to either guacamole or ketchup for a little smoky heat. Bennett suggests adding chipotle sauce (tastes like tomato sauce with a hint of chipotle chili flavor) to plain yogurt as a dressing for chicken salad.

  10. Serve crab cakes with a sauce of low-fat mayonnaise spiked with horseradish.
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