Happy Vegan MoFo! We’re continuing our month of saucy goodness with a versatile nut butter sauce recipe that will make all your meals creamy, amazing and flavorful. If you like that sort of thing…
But let’s be clear– what are we talking about when we say nut butters? We’re talking about peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, coconut butter, tahini (sesame butter) or sunflower seed butter. If you are feeling fancy you could also use walnut, pecan, hemp or macadamia nut butter.
The best thing about working with nut butters is that they add a richness that vegan meals might be missing and can curb cravings for creamy (maybe dairy-based) sauces. My nut butter of choice is usually tahini. It’s thinner than peanut or almond butter and is a great base for all types of flavors– sweet, spicy or citrusy. And like most nut butters, it can be thinned seemingly forever with water or non-dairy milk to create a totally perfect texture for your meals.
Ok I lied… the nut butter sauce recipe below is not a recipe at all– it’s more like a Choose-Your-Own Adventure type book (do you remember those?). Pick a base, pick some flavors, pick some add-ins and you are done. But there is a SECRET to good sauces! An important part of all cooking (but especially sauces) is to really balance the flavors. Each sauce needs something sweet, sour, salty and bitter/pungent. Check out the examples below to see some good, balanced dressings.
Choose your Base:
Tahini (sesame butter)
Sunflower seed butter
Choose your Flavors:
Citrus (lemon, lime or orange juice; also try citrus zest for a concentrated punch of flavor)
Spicy (crushed red chili flakes, grated ginger, cayenne, chipotle powder)
Salty (tamari or soy sauce, miso, ume plum vinegar)
Sweet (mirin, agave, coconut sugar, maple syrup)
Thai (minced lemongrass, ginger and some chili flakes)
Pungent (apple cider vinegar)
Magical (nutritional yeast, toasted sesame oil)
Tangy (tamarind, pomegranate molasses, ume paste)
Choose your Mix-ins:
Non-dairy milk (coconut milk, unsweetened non-dairy milk)
Garlic (mince finely, try about half to one clove per person, unless you are warding off vampires)
Fresh herbs (chopped cilantro, dill, basil, turmeric)
Sesame seeds, chia seeds, or Hempseeds
Whole nuts and seeds (for chunky sauces)
Superfoods (moringa powder, chlorella, spirulina; makes sauces green but full of goodness!)
Sea veggies (gomasio, powdered kelp or dulse)
- Start with about ½ cup of the nut butter. Add two tablespoons of each theme ingredients and whisk until smooth. Stir in mix-ins and whisk together well, adding water or non-dairy milk as needed to create the perfect consistency.
Here are some examples:
- peanut butter + lime juice + soy sauce + agave = (use for noodles or summer rolls)
- coconut butter + lime zest + soy sauce + fresh herbs = (use for sandwiches or wraps, or as a dip)
- My favorite Tahini-Miso Dressing
- Spicy Almond Butter Sauce
What are your favorite sauce combinations?
Peanut butter jar image from Shutterstock