Diverse Vegan Sauces
August 5, 2021 8:55 PM   Subscribe

How many diverse-from-each-other flavor profiles for vegan sauces/dips can you come up with?

Our kitchen consistently has the following:
- No bell peppers. They taste like gasoline.
- No refined sugar.
- No really, no sugar. Nothing sweet with the fiber removed.
- No cashews.
- No coconuts.
- No peanuts.
- No mushrooms.
- No nutritional yeast.
- They're fine, but I'm just not that in to tomatoes, peppers, or onions.

So far I only have thought up:
- pico de gallo
- baba ganouj
- pesto (varying the greens)
- guacamole
- chimmichurri
- tahini-based dressings (with which spices? This could be a many and varied option!)
- like baba ganouj or hummus but with almond meal instead of eggplant
- bruschetta

These will be going on beans. Legumes at lunch and dinner until the end of time, or at least until I hit menopause. Do not limit yourself to things you think belong with beans. I am only telling you so that you don't start listing bean dips such as hummus.

Any viscocity (thick or thin) is ok, as long as it could still be called a sauce/dip/spread.

I am hoping to be able to glean from your many and varied recipes and ideas a handful of sauces/dips/spreads that I will love and eat frequently.
posted by aniola to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Vinegarettes have endless variations with different herbs and vinegars.

Vegan Mayo + miso + x is endless parade of choices. Smoked chili powder works really well. I used garlic chili crunch last night to good effect.
posted by mmascolino at 9:11 PM on August 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Vinegarettes have endless variations with different herbs and vinegars.

Sometimes I just use a few splashes of toasted sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:38 PM on August 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Peach salsa
Garlic aoli
Spinach dip
Edamame and other non-bean hummuses
Artichoke dip
posted by jitterbug perfume at 10:07 PM on August 5, 2021

Morrocan carrot dip has been a party favorite.
posted by missmobtown at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Right now I am reading Claudia Rodens "New Book of Middle Eastern Cooking", the sauces and dippings are almost endless and mouthwatering. I strongly recommend. In general, it is a good source for vegan food.
Also, recently I made a soba salad using this recipe as the point of departure. If you can't eat honey, it would be ok to leave it out. We put shredded cabbage and carrots in the salad as well as the noodles. But this dressing would be very nice on a firmer, fresh bean type like soy beans (edamame) from the freezer or string beans, or fresh fava beans. (Or noodles made from beans). My friend literally drank the last dressing out of the bowl as we cleaned the table, it was that good.
posted by mumimor at 12:57 AM on August 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

Do you have a vegan yogurt you like? Good base for all sorts of things, tzatziki, garlicky sauce, lemony sauce, etc - but from your veto list a lot of the obvious yogurt options are clearly out.
posted by february at 4:19 AM on August 6, 2021

That soy-sauce-and-vinegar mix (maybe with a little garlic or green onions or something) that Chinese restaurants often give you to dip dumplings in.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:04 AM on August 6, 2021

I know caramelized onions aren't usually called a "sauce," but a little pile of onions that you've caramelized until they're really dark is an amazing way to top beans. Oops, sorry, I see now that you don't love onions.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:07 AM on August 6, 2021

Toum is a creamy garlic-and-lemon sauce with no dairy and no nuts—the garlic itself holds it together. It is quite garlicky, so in other words great if you're into that and not if you're not.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:17 AM on August 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I made a batch of homemade bulgogi sauce last night and it's fantastic.

bulgogi sauce

2 tbs soy sauce or tamari [I realize now that this usually has sugar in it, but I'm going to leave this here, because soy sauce is so common an ingredient I'd guess you have a work around]
2 tbs maggi sauce (side note, I can't actually eat this because it's fermented wheat protein. I use whatever fruity GF soy sauce analog I have on hand or just add more tamari)
1 pear, cored and sliced (original recipe specifies an Asian pear but I just use whatever I can get my hands on)
4 tbs sesame oil
1.5 tbs chili paste
1 bunch green onions (if the onions avoidance extends to scallions, try leeks or shallots)
1.5 tsp grated fresh ginger (I just get the stuff in a jar, because I am not the patient)

Throw everything in a blender.

The original recipe calls for a tablespoon of sugar, but you could skip that - the pear is pretty sweet on its own - or do honey or maple syrup or a little fruit juice or whatever you use for sweetener in your kitchen, if anything.
posted by joycehealy at 6:49 AM on August 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Olive tapenade, harissa, chutney (I'm sure something exists or could be adjusted for your specifications), chili crisp, mustard sauce (with or without soy sauce), ginger-miso, infused vinegars (including mineral rich vinegar and oil as a specific vinaigrette option).

Food52 has quite a few results for sauces and you can filter for recipes tagged vegan.
posted by wicked_sassy at 6:50 AM on August 6, 2021

The green tahini sauce in this recipe is a favorite of mine (tahini sauce with parsley and cilantro and a little spice). It’s great over beans and rice or roasted sweet potatoes and any sort of grain.
posted by little mouth at 6:52 AM on August 6, 2021

Also, I bought The Saucy Vegetarian on the recommendation of another MeFite. It’s packed with recipes that are simple to make and have nutrition calculated per serving.
posted by little mouth at 6:58 AM on August 6, 2021

Whipped tahini cream is a great base for all kinds of flavours.

Start with tahini and stir in a tiny bit of water. The tahini will thicken. Stir in a tiny bit more. It will thicken some more. Keep stirring in tiny driblets of water until it stops thickening and starts to thin out again, then keep on going until it thins out to the consistency of whipping cream. Then whip it just like you'd whip cream, and it will firm up much the same way cream does at much the same rate.

Hulled and unhulled tahini both work for this. Unhulled gives you stronger bitter notes than hulled.

Substituting flavoursome liquids for some of the water at the thinning-back-out stage can yield all kinds of scrumptiousness. In particular, just a splash of soy sauce makes a savoury cream that's insanely more-ish. Try it both with and without a squeeze of lemon juice.

A little paprika is good in this too.

Actually a little anything is good in this, as it will take up both fat-soluble and water-soluble flavourings and the mouth feel is really good.
posted by flabdablet at 7:19 AM on August 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Any recipe you find that uses cashew cream as a base can be made with almond or macadamia instead of cashews.
posted by QuakerMel at 7:42 AM on August 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also came in to recommend toum. In the recipe I used it was essentially mayo with no egg, but a lot of garlic.

If the raw garlic taste is too much you can cook the garlic for a short time, just until the flavor mellows, or use elephant garlic.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:11 AM on August 6, 2021

While not a dip (or strictly speaking a sauce), tadka is functionally the same as what you're asking for. It's an indian technique where you infuse oil with various aromatics and pour it over a dish as a flavorful garnish.
posted by O9scar at 9:19 AM on August 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

If hot peppers are OK, I strongly suggest this delicious Zhoug sauce. It’s a hot sauce but heavy on the herbs, you can adjust the heat as necessary.

My other suggestion would be the carrot-ginger dressing you may have had at Japanese restaurants before. The recipe has an onion, but I don’t put it in when I make it.
posted by vanitas at 10:06 AM on August 6, 2021

Yogurt + hot sauce has lots of applications, and you've got plenty of different varieties to choose from.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2021

Ginger-scallion sauce! You just chop of a ton of each, mix them together with a little neutral oil and salt, and it's great on so many things. There's a variation where you heat the oil before adding it, and that's nice, too, but I can't usually be bothered.

Harissa paste, specifically the more sauce-like varieties (like the one from Mina you can find in most US grocery stores). The more concentrated paste-like version is also great, you'd just need to thin it out with something.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Make some chili oil! You can use it straight or mix with ginger, or tahini, or miso, or soy sauce + vinegar, or garlic, or some combination of the above. Homemade is a whole different beast from store-bought; it's much more about the roasty-savory flavors than the heat.

I use Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe which is super simple.
posted by goingonit at 1:16 PM on August 6, 2021

Super Natural Every Day has a harissa, garlic and lemon sauce that is great.

And I recently got into Zhougs and Chimmichiris
posted by amandabee at 1:55 PM on April 14


The traditional Greek skordalia recipe can be also made with stale bread soaked in water and squeezed, but the potato recipe is in my opinion the best. It resembles more like garlic flavoured mashed potatoes and can be more versatile, as it can be also served as a side dish with boiled beets, accompanying various meat or fish dishes.

It's a garlic aoli, but a bit different.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:00 PM on April 14

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