Easy Plant-Based Sauces to Transform Any Meal

plant-based sauces

Easy Plant-Based Sauces to Transform Any Meal

Sauces are one of the best–and easiest–ways to transform a meal; a plain bowl of brown rice and steamed veggies can be turned into a delicious dinner with the addition of an easy plant-based sauce, such as Thai Coconut Curry.

In this post, I’ll share some of my favorite easy plant-based sauces, all of which take less than 5 minutes to prep. (“Sauce” in this context means something that you can pour over a bowl of pasta, veggies, rice, tofu, etc. to top off a meal. Many of these sauces would also be great dips for raw veggies, bread, or chips.)

A few notes before we begin:

  • I typically don’t measure ingredients, but rather use suggested measurements as a general guide. I encourage you to play around with the ingredient amounts to suit your own taste preferences!
  • I don’t list the number of servings because that so depends on what the sauce is being used for. Most of the below recipes will yield enough sauce for a few meals, but let your own preferences (and hunger) be your guide.
  • All of these sauces–except the avocado one–can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. The avocado sauce is best eaten within 24 hours.

Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4c salted peanut butter
  • 2T coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1-2T lime juice
  • Garlic and ginger powder, to taste

Add ingredients to a bowl, and whisk until creamy and smooth. Add water, as needed, to reach desired consistency.

Thai Coconut Curry Sauce

  • 2T red curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk (lite or full fat)

Sauté red curry paste in a sauce pan for 1-2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, and heat until warmed through.

Lemon Tahini Sauce

  • 1/4c tahini
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 2T water
  • 2T nutritional yeast

Add all ingredients to a bowl, and whisk with a spoon until creamy and smooth.

Indian Tomato Sauce

  • 2.5c water
  • 1/2c raw cashews
  • 1 5oz can of tomato paste
  • 2T garam masala

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender. If you’re blender is not-so-high-powered, soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes before blending.

Indian Coconut Sauce

  • 2t garam masala
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat or lite)
  • 1T almond butter (optional)

Mix together in a saucepan, and heat until warmed through.

Lemon Cashew Sauce

  • 1/4c raw cashews
  • 1 lemon — zested and juiced
  • 1c water

Blend all ingredients together in a high-powered blender. If you’re blender is not-so-high-powered, soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes before blending.

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat or lite)

Pour both into a saucepan, stir, and heat until warmed through.

Avocado Sauce

  • 2 avocados
  • 2T lime juice (juice from half a lime)
  • 2-4T water
  • Salt, to taste

Mash avocado with a fork, stir in lime juice, 2T water, and add salt to taste. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/4c coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 2t sesame oil
  • 1T rice vinegar
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1/2-1t chili garlic sauce

Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken, if desired.

Vegan Cheezy Sauce

Adapted from Elavegan recipe.

  • 1/4c raw cashews
  • 1c water
  • 2T tapioca flour
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1/2t onion powder
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/4c nutritional yeast

Blend cashews and water in a high-powered blender. (If you’re blender is not-so-high-powered, soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes before blending.) Add cashew “milk” and other ingredients to a sauce pan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring regularly, for about 1 minute, or until mixture is stretchy.

Pesto

  • 1/2 pine nuts (or cashews)
  • 1/4c nutritional yeast
  • 2c fresh basil, packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/8tsp ground black pepper

Place all ingredients–besides olive oil–in a food processor, and process until smooth (you may need to add the basil in portions if it doesn’t all fit). Stir in the olive oil.

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What are your go-to, easy plant-based sauces? Please share in the comments!

P.S. Want to learn more about plant-based eating? Check out my guide to starting a plant-based diet, and sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar for exclusive tips and tricks.

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