I had so much fun writing 7 of Your Favorite Sauces Made Vegan, and it got such a good response, that I thought I just had to do it again with seven more sauces. In the first article, I shared recipes for tomato sauce, Alfredo sauce, chile sauce, peanut sauce, Queso cheese sauce, pesto sauce and three kinds of gravy.
As I explained last time, sauces elevate a meal, turning them from a bunch of ingredients on a plate to a composed dish. Knowing how to make your favorite sauces vegan gives you more options when it’s time to make dinner. To give you even more options, here are seven more amazing sauces in vegan form. I hope you enjoy the sequel.
1. Pan Sauce
Pan sauces are the easiest to make. Anytime you saute something, you have the opportunity to make a pan sauce. It just involves deglazing the pan and building a sauce. Whatever you cooked usually leaves little brown bits in the pan; this is called the fond. These brown bits have flavor so use them. After you remove the sauteed food, add an aromatic such as chopped garlic or shallots and cook them until they soften. Deglaze the pan with a liquid such as broth, vinegar or wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add flavor such as Dijon mustard, capers or herbs and finish the sauce with a pat of vegan butter. Spoon the sauce onto your food and serve.
My favorite go-to pan sauce is a Balsamic Dijon Sauce: remove whatever you cooked from the pan and leave the heat on medium. Add one minced clove of garlic and cook for just one minute until softened. Add about 1 cup of broth (depending on how much sauce you want) and 2 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar. Use a flat wooden spoon to scrape any cooked brown bits off the bottom of pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Add 2 tsps. Dijon mustard and 1 tsp. chopped thyme. Cook for another minute. Turn off the heat. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Melt in one tablespoon of vegan butter to finish the sauce and make it glossy. This is perfect spooned over tofu cutlets or seitan steak.
2. Salsa Verde
Salsa Verde is a green Mexican sauce that is made with tomatillos, chile peppers, onion, cilantro and lime. It is used cold or hot as a sauce to spoon over Mexican dishes like tacos and quesadillas or as a condiment for these Tex-Mex Burgers and these Spicy Nachos. Salsa Verde also makes an awesome dip for tortilla chips. Tomatillos may look like little green tomatoes but they are actually gooseberries. You can peel and boil them to quickly make this Homemade Salsa Verde.
Here is how I like to make Roasted Salsa Verde: on a baking sheet, toss 6 large or 12 small tomatillos, 2 poblano chiles, 1 sliced peeled onion and 4 peeled garlic cloves with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast them in a 425 degree oven until they are charred, about 20-25 minutes. Let them cool and then peel and seed the chiles. Put everything into a food processor and add 1 tsp. agave nectar, ½ tsp. ground coriander, ½ tsp. dried Mexican oregano, ½ tsp. ground cumin and 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro. Puree but keep it somewhat chunky. Add the zest and juice of one lime and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy with your favorite Mexican dishes. Check out these 38 Vegan Recipes to Party Like It’s Cinco de Mayo for more ideas.
3. Garlic Sauce
I love, love, love Chinese food and while I’m a fan of most of the sauces, my all-time favorite is garlic sauce. Even when I would order plain, steamed vegetables (in an attempt to stick to my diet), I would still ask for garlic sauce on the side. When I learned to make my own Chinese food, garlic sauce was one of the first I had to replicate.
Combine 3 Tbs. brown rice vinegar, 3 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce, 1 Tbs. agave nectar (or sweetener of your choice), 3 tsp. mirin (rice wine), 1-2 tsp. chile sauce, and ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil in a bowl. Whisk well. In another bowl or mug, combine 2 tsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch and 1 ½ Tbs. water and mix well. In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. peanut oil and add 4 cloves of minced garlic. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the sauce mixture to the saucepan with the garlic and let it come to a boil. Add the arrowroot mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens. Serve over your favorite steamed vegetables or add this sauce to the pan when you make a stir-fry.
4. Sweet and Sour Sauce
Sometimes when I would order Chinese take-out, I would get sweet and sour chicken. Then I would eat the chicken and not even touch the sauce. I loved the way they breaded the chicken; I think it was a beer batter but I didn’t like the sauce – it was WAY too sweet for me. When I met my husband, sweet and sour dishes were his favorites so I had to come up with a version we both liked.
Here is what I created: In a saucepan over medium heat, add ½ of a medium onion that has been chopped and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger, stirring for 30 seconds. Add ½ cup pineapple juice, 1/3 cup ketchup, ¼ cup brown rice vinegar, 2 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce, 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce and ¼ cup brown sugar to the pan. Mix everything well. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 2 tsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water to make a slurry. Add this slurry to the sauce and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute and turn off the heat. Use this sauce over tofu, seitan or make my favorite, sweet and sour cauliflower.
For other sweet and sour sauce recipes, check out this Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Tempeh and this Chinatown Sweet and Sour Bok Choy.
5. Ancho Chile Sauce (Enchilada Sauce)
You can buy enchilada sauce in a bottle, but I guarantee you it will not taste anywhere close to making your own. I make this ancho chile sauce and not only is it amazing served over enchiladas, but it’s a spicy, delicious sauce to spoon down over tofu, seitan or any food you want to transform into a sensational Spanish dish.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add 1 large or 2 small dried ancho chiles, 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 2 plum tomatoes, 1 small peeled onion, and 2 peeled garlic cloves to the pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until you see the tomatoes burst open. Drain and let cool.
Throw the boiled mixture into a blender or food processor and blend/process until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Return the sauce to the pot and simmer over a low heat. Add 1 tsp. agave nectar, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. ground cumin and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Stir and let simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve over anything and everything.
6. Tartar Sauce/Remoulade
Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce that is usually served as a condiment with seafood dishes. Remoulade is similar to tartar sauce but usually has some extra ingredients such as curry, chopped pickles or anchovies. Remoulades were originally served with meat, but also became the typical accompaniment to fish dishes. I came to love seafood shortly before I became vegan, so I have spent a considerable amount of time learning to veganize my favorite seafood dishes. See this article, How to Make Vegan Seafood Dishes without the Fish for tips and recipes. Of course, my vegan seafood dishes need vegan condiments alongside them.
My recipe for tartar sauce, which I serve with my Tempeh “Fish” Fillets is super-simple. In a bowl, mix 1 cup vegan mayonnaise with 2 Tbs. unsweetened pickle relish. Add 1 tsp. lemon zest and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add sun-dried tomatoes and capers to make this Sun-Dried Tomato Tartar Sauce that go with these yummy Black-Eyed Pea and Spinach Cakes.
When I use those same tempeh fillets to make “fish” tacos, I serve them with a Red Cabbage-Lime Slaw and a Dill Remoulade. To make my remoulade, combine 3 Tbs. vegan mayo, 3 Tbs. vegan sour cream, 1 minced garlic clove, 3 finely chopped scallions, 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 2 Tbs. unsweetened pickle relish, the zest and juice of one lemon, 1 Tbs. fresh, chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. It’s perfect on the side of vegan “crab” cakes. Or try these Cajun Quinoa Cakes with Lemon-Dill-Sriracha Remoulade.
7. Vegan “Fish” Sauce
Fish sauce is a staple in many Asian dishes, especially Thai and Vietnamese food. It’s what gives them their unique flavors. It is also used in a lot of condiments so read your labels. Fish sauce is made from fermented fish and sea salt. Fish sauce adds umami (savory flavor) to foods. If you read this article, The Missing Link: How to Add Umami Flavors to Vegan Dishes, then you know all about it. Fermented vegan foods as well as miso, seaweed and mushrooms can add umami to recipes. It follows, then, that we can easily make a vegan version of fish sauce that you can use the next time you make Street Pad Thai.
When I need to add that flavor to dishes, I just combine ½ cup of tamari or soy sauce, 1 minced garlic clove, 3 Tbs. of kelp flakes or shredded seaweed, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 1 Tbs. agave nectar and ½ cup water. If I want it spicy, I add some crushed red pepper, though Sriracha would work well too. Mix it well and use in equal quantity to the fish sauce listed in any recipe. You can also try this Vegan “Fish” Sauce recipe in your next Thai dish.
There you have seven more favorite sauces made vegan. If I haven’t written about your favorite sauce yet, let me know in the comments section.
Lead Image Source: How to Make Homemade Salsa Verde