The Secret Is In The Sauce - A Raw Food Chef’s Taste Trick
Posted on June 01 2010 | (2) Comments
Category: Easy Raw Meals Tags:
My name is Jennifer, but sometimes when I’m cooking, my alter-ego -- ‘Saucy Susan’ – takes over. You see, I love what sauces do for the flavor and texture of a recipe, and I’m always looking for ways to sauce-up a meal or snack.
The problem is that I don’t like what the ingredients in traditional sauces do for my waistline or my arteries. That’s why it was important to me to re-imagine sauces in both of my raw cookbooks, Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert.
You might be wondering what kind of sauce recipes would be appropriate to a desserts cookbook. Raw food sauce recipes, like their traditional counterparts, can be sweet or savory. Some of my favorite raw food sauces serve as the ‘crowning glory’ on ice cream sundaes.
So in this article, I’d like to invite everyone to ‘get sauced’ the healthy way...with some delicious raw food sauce recipes that you can whip up in no time.
It’s the Sauce, Silly
Do you know where a lot of the flavor can be found in a dish? That’s right! In the sauce. After all, isn’t fettuccine just pasta until you spoon on Alfredo Sauce? Isn’t a vegetable spring roll just ‘bunny food’ until you give it a whole new personality by drizzling on a spicy, flavorful Thai-style peanut sauce?
Imagine ice cream without hot fudge sauce. Or think about where a certain fast food giant would be today if it served two all-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onion, on a sesame seed without ‘special sauce’?.
It’s easy to see that to get more flavor into every bite, the secret is in the sauce. What is less easy to see is that the ingredients that go into typical sauces – like butter, cream, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, etc – are not healthy.
For example, there are 850 Calories in a single serving of Fettuccine Alfredo from Olive Garden and 432 of those calories are from fat. As for the Big Mac, it has about 560 calories...with nearly 100 of them coming from the sauce which is made from salad dressing, pickles, and brown sugar.
Dessert sauces are the biggest culprits when it comes to sneaking in fat and calories. A two-tablespoon serving of a commercial hot fudge sauce manufactured by Smuckers, for example, has 4.5 grams of fat and 18 grams of sugar. That doesn’t sound so bad if you can limit yourself to just two tablespoons...but I know that I can’t!
There are other problems with traditional sauces, too, that occur because of the processed foods used to make them. The recent problem with commercial peanut butter underscores how much healthier it is to use ingredients that come straight from your garden...or your local farmer.
That’s the whole theory behind the raw food movement: using fresh, local ingredients to make delicious meals and snacks. So I’ve found ways to make Alfredo without the cream...peanut sauce without the processing...and lip-smacking dessert sauces without a hint of refined sugar.
Care to join me for a dip into sauces?
Raw Food Sauce Recipe Ideas
Raw food sauces are (you’ve heard this phrase before) delicious and nutritious. For example, my recipe for raw food Fettuccine Alfredo dresses translucent ribbons of pale green zucchini with a sauce made from soaked cashews and a tasty spice blend. Believe me; you won’t miss the cream or the butter (or the fat and calories).
If you like your sauces green instead of white, try my raw food Pesto. Like the original, my recipes calls for basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pine nuts. The only difference is that the pine nuts are raw instead of roasted.
One of my favorite raw food sauce recipes is the Mock Peanut Sauce that I created for Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. Traditionally, this sauce calls for roasted peanuts, but I use raw almond butter instead. As well as retaining more nutrients, I think raw almond butter actually tastes better in the recipe.
You can make your own almond butter or purchase it in stores. Just make sure you choose raw almond butter.
Mock Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup raw almond butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Dash cayenne
- Dash salt
Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth
This simple raw food sauce can be kept for up to five days in the refrigerator. Drizzle it over your favorite veggies at lunch or dinner or use it as a dipping sauce to add Asian flair to the crudités your serve at your next party.
Every Day Is Sundae
I created my raw food Chocolate Ganache Fudge Sauce for all the chocoholics I know (including me!), but I never miss a chance to introduce people to my rich, nutty Caramel Sauce. Instead of the butter and sugar of a traditional caramel, this nutty brown sauce call for dates, cashews, vanilla...and dark agave syrup.
Agave syrup (also called nectar) is a natural sweetener made from the juice of the agave plant. I use the dark version in this recipe to give the caramel a deep, molasses-like flavor and color.
Raw Food Caramel Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 cup raw cashew butter
- 1/2 cup dark agave syrup
- 1/2 cup Date Paste (see below)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extra
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Date Paste is made by soaking Medjool dates in filtered water and then processing the fruit along with the soaking water into a paste-y consistency.
This caramel sauce is a ‘natural’ when it comes to topping off a raw food ice cream sundae where nut milk replaces the dairy variety. It’s also amazing on top of cake or in-between the layers.
For a really decadent dessert, you can drizzle Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Sauce over ice cream and top with crushed raw nuts and dried fruits. Amazing!
When You Want to Warm Up After a Cool Down
Like the savory raw food Mock Peanut Sauce above, the sweet raw food Caramel Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator. To take the ‘chill off’ before serving, follow this simple process:
- Place 2 inches of water in a saucepan and bring to boil.
- Turn off the heat.
- Place a small bowl of sauce in the hot water (The sides of the bowl should be high enough so that the water from the saucepan cannot flow into the sauce)
- Let sit for 20 minutes
- Stir to achieve proper consistency.
As an alternative, you can place the bowl in a food dehydrator at 105 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.