How to Create Endless Variations of DELISH Vegan Sauces

This Nutrition Bite looks at ways you can make following a plant-based diet easier BUT with more variety!

Regardless of what diet you’re following, if you’re cooking your own meals, everyone can relate to the inevitable creative block that comes with cooking up daily meals.

Hectic schedules, way to many responsibilities and just plain LIFE can deplete anyone of their gusto for cooking and leave you with some sad choices: eating out, ordering in, popping something nutritionally questionable into the microwave… or settling for a less than enjoyable meal (for the nth time!).

We totally sympathize with ‘cooking fatigue’ and are excited to share a way to keep your relationship with your kitchen fun and spicy!

So what’s the secret to delicious meals and endless variety WITHOUT it feeling like a culinary obstacle course? It’s the Sauce Factor!

Sauce has the power to transform any meal AND it ticks all the boxes for what we need everyday cooking to be:

  • Flavorful
  • Quick and easy
  • Nutrient dense
  • Flexible
  • Affordable
  • Made with accessible ingredients

Think about it, sauces can transform any meal by influencing the entire flavor profile of a dish. Want to enjoy Italian flavors? Mix together quintessential Italian ingredients such as garlic, parsley, basil, tomatoes and olive oil. Feeling more Indian? Coconut milk and turmeric powder will get you there.

The secret is in the sauce and we like to call this ‘Template Cooking’.

The Template Approach

ALL recipes have a simple underlying ‘formula’ to them and if you use this formula you
can easily swap out ingredients and make completely new recipes. In this case, making sauces can become a gastronomic adventure with just a handful of ingredients and using the Template Approach.

With Template Cooking, first look at the recipe as a whole in its most general form. Break down the main components and this is where you can get creative and mix and match ingredients for amazing sauces.

Take pesto for example, let’s take a look what it’s made of:

  • Herb/Greens: Basil
  • Oil: Olive oil
  • Nuts/Seed: Pine Nuts
  • ‘Cheese’: Nutritional Yeast
  • Fruit/Acid: Lemon
  • Spice: Garlic

Template cooking takes a recipe’s ingredients, in this case greens, oil, nuts, fruit, and spices and this is where you can create variety.

To put it visually, imagine layers of spinning wheels for each pesto component, but this time with different ingredients.

Herb/greens: Basil, Parsley, Coriander, Arugula, Mixed Herbs

Oil: Olive oil, Avocado Oil, Sesame Oil, No Oil

Nut/Seed: Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts

Cheese: Nutritional Yeast, Parmesan Cheese, No cheese

Fruit/Acid: Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Lime

Spice: Garlic, Roasted Garlic, No Garlic

As you can see, you can create an arugula-walnut-avocado oil pesto or a dairy-free roasted garlic mixed herb pesto. This is the beauty of Template Cooking. It gives delicious variety to sauces without complicating anything!

Setting Yourself Up For Success

As with any new endeavor, Template Cooking may take a while to adopt. Keep these things in mind to set yourself up for success:

  • Keep a positive mindset and remember that at the end of the day, every meal is an opportunity to nourish and fuel your body and shouldn’t be something to overstress or overthink about.
  • Start small and work with recipes and flavors you’re familiar with and build up from there.
  • Keep your pantry stocked with staples so you don’t feel deterred from a lack of ingredients. A variety of oils, nuts, seeds, spices, herbs, and for vegans, ingredients such as nutritional yeast and coconut yogurt ensure you have what you need to create a variety of different sauces.

At VegHealth, we’re all about making plant-based cooking easy, delicious and accessible…


To discover more about Template Cooking and other delicious recipes you can mix and match into your week EASILY…

Get our chef-designed, RDN approved Plant-Based With Ease 4-week, customizable program at 70% off this week!


>>Use coupon code PBWE47 at checkout


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