If you're anything like me, sauce is everything. It can make or break a dish. It needs to have depth, the right texture and consistency and of course - HEAT! OK, now I know not everyone has a penchant for spice, but the beauty of all recipes is that you can increase or decrease any ingredients that you'd like! Seriously. Love garlic? Double it! Wimpy taste buds? Half the chili flakes!
At Niagara Vegfest I was lucky enough to run into an old friend (hi Deb!) who mentioned to me that finding a good base sauce was where she struggled. So I figured I'd make an entire blog post dedicated to my top sauce go to's. In no particular order...
1. Dreamy Cream Sauce.
This isn't an actual sauce. But if you want something that is ULTRA creamy you need to look no further than soaked cashews. (I usually soak them in a sealed bowl of boiling water for 10 minutes while I prep. If you have lots of time, good for you. Soak them overnight.) Make sure you buy the raw, unsalted.
The key is that you need a blender/bullet with a nut blade so that it doesn't have any small chunks left. For every one cup of cashews, blend with one cup of water or broth. If you want it thinner, just add more liquid. On its own it's a great base for cream of "anything" soups. Once you have your basic cream, then you can add in the flavour for other dishes!
Add in some garlic, parsley and vegan Parmesan.
Add in some lemon juice, nooch, mustard and onion powder
The possibilities are endless. Blend it with roasted red peppers. Or cut the liquid in half and add jalapenos to make a kick-ass dip. Play around! If the dip doesn't work, add some corn, cilantro, beans and broth and make a Mexican-style soup. Have fun!
2. BBQ Sauce.
BBQ sauce is so easy to make you'll never buy it again. That's not true. You'll just learn to quadruple the recipes and bottle it while rationing each drop. Then again, not everyone is a sauce-whore like I am. Seriously, I'll do anything for sauce.....
A BBQ sauce base is tomato (sauce or ketchup. If you go with sauce, you'll likely want to add sugar), onion powder, garlic, lemon juice/vinegar, mustard (powder or wet is fine). I always like to add brown sugar and whiskey into mine because, let's be honest - sugar and whiskey make everything better. If it's too thin, just add tomato paste. Too thick, no such thing.
What can you do with this amazing BBQ sauce base now that you've made a gallon of it? Well, let me tell you. It is a great beginning for:
Mix the BBQ sauce base with some fire roasted tomatoes and molasses. Add in your joe mix (lentils, TVP, veggie ground round) and slop away friends!
You can buy soy curls, or make your own wheat meat to sauce. Great on mashed potatoes or sliders.
BBQ Seitan Ribs:
If you haven't seen my previous post about seitan ribs - go find it and read it now. Then head to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients. Make this for dinner. Crunchy, saucy, heaven. You're welcome.
Curry should be renamed to something more regal. Because it's fricking amazing. You can buy curry paste, and curry powder. I usually like to mix them up. There is nothing you can't do with curry.
Dice and fry up some onions and veggies, sprinkle (drown) with curry powder and paste and then add in soft or silken tofu. Scramble, top with fresh scallions, top on toast and inhale.
Coconut curry red lentil soup. One of my faves. Fry some diced up onions, add garlic and some nutmeg and both curries and when 2/3 cooked add in 2:1 coconut milk and vegetable broth. Add in one or one and a half cups of rinsed red lentils and a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. Let simmer for 20 minutes and then eat it all in one sitting.
Stew that sticks to your ribs is exactly what we need in Canada during our 8 months of winter. You know what stews amazing? Butternut squash and spinach. Throw in some chick peas and you've got yourself a pot of heaven.
4. Ethiopian "Berbere"
I recently made my own spice blend and I'm really, REALLY glad that I quadrupled the recipe. Seriously. I made a half litre of the dry mix. It it super spicy, but has such depth. It is great for marinades, bbq, stews and more. Check out my previous post for Ethiopian Stew and you'll find the recipe.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who is overdependent on vegenaise. I know I should be sorry, but I'm not. You know why? Because THIS:
Add lime juice, cilantro and sriracha into a base of vegenaise. Now put it on sandwiches, dip your chips into it, or eat it with a spoon.
Mix 2:1 vegenaise and a bold mustard. Add in some lemon juice and crunchy fried onions. (Costco sells a massive bag, full of carcinogens but vegan!) Again, chips are optional for dipping. You may just prefer to eat with a spoon.
I'm sure there's more and as I think of them I'll try to remember to update this blog. Until then, go make sauce! SAUCE ALL THE THINGS!