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Top 11 All-Time Favourite Sauces

nut sauce-3

What would the world be like without sauce?

Recently, my not-so-little brother and I were discussing this very question. We agreed that a world without sauce would be a dismal place indeed.

Terms like ‘devoid of sauce’, ‘sauceless’, and ‘un-saucy’ were bandied about. Not exactly a pretty picture.

So today I wanted to have a little ‘celebration of sauce’ and share with you my top 12 favourite sauce recipes. Including the recipe for a ‘nut sauce’. Don’t worry, it’s much tastier than it sounds.

Top 12 Favourite Sauces

1. hummus
Is it a dip? Is it a sauce? Is it a spread? There are few things more versatile, delicious or healthy than this Middle Eastern classic. And even better, it’s a synch to make using canned chickpeas.

2. home made mayonnaise
After mastering the art of making mayonnaise in the food processor, without it splitting, mayo consumption has definitely increased in my house. These days I often substitute half the oil for melted butter to make a no-stir ‘cheat’s’ hollondaise. Dangerously addictive.

3. ‘nut’ sauce [recipe below]
Excuse the ‘dodgy’ name for this sauce. I’ve been writing ‘template recipes’ this month for the Master Your Meal Plan class at the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School and it’s got me thinking of all recipes in general terms.

It’s actually a really lovely sauce inspired by the Turkish sauce, ‘tarator’. Similar to hummus but a little more complex with the lovely nutty flavour. Traditionally served with fish but lovely anywhere you need a creamy, nutty sauce with a bit of a kick.

4. chilli oil
I pretty much always have a bottle of chilli oil in the fridge. Great for adding instant heat to dishes in need of a little help. It’s also a wonderful sauce in its own right to serve with chicken, pan fried halloumi or even a simple pasta. My Irishman love it with his morning eggs and avocado.

5. BBQ sauce
THE best sauce to have on hand for BBQ season. Great with anything from steak to ribs to chicken.

6. yoghurt sauce
This is the simplest of sauces. Get yourself a good quality natural yoghurt, season generously with salt and pepper. And hey presto.. instant sauce.

A healthier alternative to mayonnaise, it’s heavenly with falaffels, fish, chicken or roast lamb.

7. sicilian nut pesto
A wonderful dairy-free pesto.

8. almond cream
A slightly more unusual sauce, this was inspired by one of my favourite Melbourne restaurants – Cumulus Inc. I first served it with roast pork and carrots and have since used it as a more interesting option than mayonnaise. Great with roast cauliflower and chickpeas.

9. walnut & white bean puree
This is a different take on hummus. Wonderful with grilled or roast veg as a sauce / mash accompaniment.

10. harissa
A super simple version of the classic Moroccan hot sauce. A little goes a long way. Best to serve on the side so everyone can add depending on their own heat tolerance.

11. beetroot pesto
I just LOVE this sauce, so don’t let the thought that it’s come in at number 11 put you off. Basically the idea is to replace the fresh basil leaves in pesto with cooked beetroot. Just heavenly. Would win the award for the ‘prettiest sauce’.

nut sauce

cashew ‘nut sauce’
makes about 1 cup

This sauce is super versatile and can be used pretty much anywhere you’d use hummus. It’s especially good with steamed green veg or with fish.

This sauce is a little tricky to make if you don’t have a food processor. Try using pre-ground nuts or nut meal and finely chopping the garlic before stirring everything together. Add the water a little at a time.

200g (7oz) cashews
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor with 1/2 cup water.

2. Whizz until you have a creamy sauce. Taste. Season.

budget – swap some or all of the nuts for torn chunks of rustic bread. Sourdough is great.

nut-free – replace nuts with cooked or canned legumes such as cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas. You might need a little more or less vinegar.

no sherry vinegar? – Use lemon juice or other wine vinegars. Rice vinegar is great.

different nuts – pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts (or use peanut butter with less water). So many options.


video version of the recipe

Jules x

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • GB 28 March, 2012, 3:06 am

    Wow love the idea of a beet pesto I’ll have to try it.
    One of my favs is beet hummus (similar to traditional but swap 1/2 the chickpeas with roasted beets and skip the tahinni) very nice with fluffy fresh pita or as a veggie spread in a sandwich.

    • jules 28 March, 2012, 8:45 am

      I love the idea of beet hummus.. thanks for the idea!

  • Heather @ Stuffed Pepper 28 March, 2012, 6:01 am

    I totally agree. The world would be sad without sauces! I love your walnut white bean hummus idea and especially your cashew nut sauce idea as a non-dairy alternative for a creamy sauce.

    • jules 28 March, 2012, 8:46 am

      Thanks Heather!
      I should have mentioned.. if anyone has some favourite sauces, I’d love to hear about them!

  • Amanda@EasyPeasyOrganic 28 March, 2012, 7:35 pm

    Great post! All it needs is a checklist for when I make this one, and this one, and that one … ;)

    • jules 31 March, 2012, 12:09 pm

      thanks Amanda!

  • Anna @ the shady pine 29 March, 2012, 9:02 am

    Your cashew nut sauce sounds incredible! A great idea and I absolutely cannot wait to try this!!

    • jules 31 March, 2012, 12:09 pm

      thanks Anna!
      It works really well with other nuts as well

  • Anna @ The Guiltless Life 3 April, 2012, 2:42 am

    I don’t think there’s one of these that I disagree with you on – and my latest issue of Vegetarian Times just featured a recipe using harissa and it was the first time I had heard of it – excited to try it out!

    • jules 10 April, 2012, 6:05 pm

      Harissa is so lovely Anna
      And great for vegetarian cooking

  • Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl 3 April, 2012, 9:00 am

    I love me some cashew cream but made plain & a bit of honey. then slosh the strawberries right into it. and enjoy them immensely. ;)

    Great list. Love them all!

    • jules 10 April, 2012, 6:05 pm

      sounds lovely christine!

  • Kate eat-drink-dream 10 April, 2012, 7:25 am

    What a nice reminder of all the tasty ways to add flavour to a meal! The cashew nut sauce reminds me of the ‘cashew cream’ my mum used to make when she went vegan to serve with dessert – it was so moreish and rich we all preferred it to normal cream!

    • jules 10 April, 2012, 5:37 pm

      Love the idea of your mum’s cashew cream… actually if you just used the cashews and water in this recipe and maybe went for a splash of vanilla it would be lovely as a dessert sauce..

  • love cooking 10 April, 2012, 9:27 pm

    The cashew ‘nut sauce’ is easy and looks beautiful. I am thinking adding some honey or sugar to make it a spread for my toast bread, just like peanut butter. :)

  • Marie (Food Nouveau) 19 April, 2012, 2:46 am

    This post is fantastic and so inspiring! Sauces are such a great way to change things up in the kitchen and I often lack inspiration to make new ones. I will definitely keep this post bookmarked! Also, my husband’s favorite nut is the cashew nut so I REALLY look forward to try this sauce. The variation suggestions you provide sound equally good. Thanks for sharing this helpful list!

  • mike 11 April, 2013, 5:06 pm

    Why is NUT SAUCE a disgusting name, lady in video needs to get her mind out of the gutter!

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