Condiments, herbs and spices can all be used to make delicious meals or snacks in just minutes. They’re also easy to find, afford, and most keep for a really long time in the fridge or pantry. They’re not just great to use alone – you can also use them to make a variety of homemade dairy-free sauces to use as a dressing, a dipping sauce, a flavoring for soup, or even a topping on breakfast items if you like. They can be made savory or sweet, all depending on how you want to combine different flavors and ingredients.
Because there’s nothing worse than a bland bowl of oatmeal, a stir-fry with no life, and a batch of soup that has no zing or zest. Thankfully, the five sauces below can fix all that, no milk, butter or cheese needed. A few of them even have some pretty spectacular health benefits too!
1. Lemon Cashew Tahini Sauce
This is a go-to for many plant-based eaters for two reasons: it’s creamy and rich (a.k.a. satisfying), and it’s packed with calcium, iron, and magnesium. Cashews and tahini (sesame seed butter) combine to create a rich, mild and decadent dressing or sauce that you can use on salads, roasted or raw veggies, as a dip or spread for crackers, or as a mayo alternative on veggie burgers. You can also use it in savory tofu breakfast scrambles, appetizers, and use it in place of any dairy-based salad dressing recipe.
To make the sauce: Combine 1/2 cup raw organic cashews or 1/4 raw organic cashew butter with 2 tablespoons raw organic tahini, the juice from one lemon, 2 tbsp. water or plain non-dairy milk, a pinch of pink sea salt, parsley, and a pinch of black pepper. If you want things spicy, add a half a clove of garlic for a nice flavor and immune-boosting punch!
2. Hot Sauce
For those that like it spicy, hot sauce is a staple you should never be without. You can use it as a dressing, a soup or stew flavoring agent, and some people actually add it to porridge for a savory breakfast. If you’re up for an egg-free omelet, you can also use hot sauce in the mix or as a topping afterwards. A good rule of thumb to remember is that you can use hot sauce anywhere you’d use ketchup and even use it in the base for making healthy ketchup if you like.
When choosing hot sauce, try to go from organic brands when possible, or see this video to make your own. We don’t want any pesticides with our peppers now, do we?
3. Almond Butter Sweet Sauce
Almond butter is packed with protein, iron, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It’s also a great base for raw energy bites, bars and smoothies … but that’s not all. You can use almond butter to make a delicious dipping sauce for roasted sweet potato cubes or fries, or for sweet fruits like apples and bananas. It can also be used as a spread on pancakes, muffins, waffles, and to dollop on top of smoothies and oatmeal.
To make almond butter sweet sauce: Combine 1/2 cup raw organic almond butter with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tbsp. homemade or store bought almond milk, and your choice sweetener such as 1 soaked date, 1 soaked fig or 1 tsp. maple syrup or liquid stevia. Blend or process until it’s smooth and creamy and store in the fridge in a glass jar (if you can keep yourself from eating it all!).
4. Nooch Sauce
Nutritional yeast sauce (or dressing) is often referred to as nooch, for short. Hey, we didn’t come up with the name and don’t make the rules – that’s just how it goes. Nooch sauce is incredible for adding a cheesy, rich flavor that also packs a mean punch of B vitamins and amino acids to boost your mood. Did you know nutritional yeast (which is a non-active yeast that won’t hurt you), is also a complete source of protein? While you might not want to eat it at every meal (or you might!), it’s a great ingredient to use to flavor your foods in a healthier way than processed sauces or worse, cheese.
To make the sauce: Combine 1/3 cup nutritional yeast with 1/4 cup unsweetened almond, soy, hemp, or cashew milk, which are all relatively mild or will blend well with the nutritional yeast. Add some black pepper if you like and serve over cooked grains, in kale salad or as a dressing for other salads, as a dip, spread, or topping over roasted veggies. You can also use it in savory breakfast entrees. For a thicker blend, mix it with raw, whole cashews.
5. Raw Chocolate Sauce
For those with a sweet tooth, raw vegan chocolate sauce just makes life complete. Rich, natural-tasting, and far better off than those chemical-based syrups that gunk up your digestive tract, raw chocolate sauce is actually packed with nutrients for you. You can use either raw coconut oil or raw coconut butter (the butter has more fiber) and raw cacao powder with a choice sweetener if you desire. Raw cacao and raw coconut are both superfoods for squashing your cravings and improving your mood.
To make the sauce: Slowly melt 1/2 cup raw coconut butter or raw coconut oil in a ramekin on your coffee maker’s hot plate. (This is much easier than melting it on the stove where it might burn or in the microwave where the nutrients are zapped away). It usually takes just 4-5 minutes to melt, and at that point you can stir in 2 heaping tablespoons of raw cacao powder, and either 1 tsp. of liquid stevia, maple syrup, or coconut nectar (some of the better options). Use this on homemade vegan ice cream, raw desserts, in or on top of smoothies, as a healthier “magic hard shell topping”, as a dip for fresh strawberries, or as a decadent topping for waffles, raw tacos, or oatmeal for those special brunches or Sunday morning leisurely breakfasts. Be mindful that as it cools, it will harden, which is great for some recipes, but not so much for those that you want to stay liquid for long period of time (like chocolate milk).
For more sauce inspiration, check out all of our sauce recipes, 25 Vegan Sauces That Make Any Meal More Enticing and 5 Oil-Free Dairy Free Salad Dressings. Alright now, let’s hear it: do you have a favorite dairy-free sauce you like to use in all your homemade dishes?
Lead Image Source: Pumpkin Cashew Cream Cheese with Chocolate Sauce