Plant based cooking can feel like a trip around the world! From Japanese chili oil, to a creamy Italian vegan ‘carbonara’ – to fiery Buffalo sauce, and all stops between. These tangy, spicy, savory and easy sauces will change the way you look at vegan food. Level up your own plant-based cooking with these punchy vegan sauce recipes!
Looking for simple ways to introduce more veggies to your dinner table? Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan – or taking the Meatless Monday thing on a little test drive – the sauce you use can make or break your dinner.
No Salad Dressings Here. These Are Vegan Sauce Recipes, Made For Omnivores
Eating plant based dishes should never feel like a sacrifice. Because – let’s face it, if it does, you’ll naturally do less of it.
That’s why all of these homemade vegan sauces and condiments are assertive and loaded with the punchy flavors we all crave at dinnertime. So whether you’re whipping up burgers and fries – or are tossing together a mustard greens and lime salad while pan-frying crispy tofu – you’ll definitely find some delicious sauces that will hit the spot here!
Homemade All Purpose Tomato Sauce
All you need are a few simple pantry ingredients – and a whole lotta love – to whip up this rustic tomato sauce. It obviously works well as a pasta sauce. But I’ve been known to use this as a pizza sauce, a dipping sauce for fried zucchini sticks – and it’s the best sauce for eggplant parm (when I’m indulging in Parmesan cheese). This southern Italian classic is naturally gluten-free and oh so comforting.
No trip to the Chinese takeout spot would be complete without an order of egg rolls or crispy vegetable spring rolls. And, while I love the bright, neon duck sauce that comes in individual packets, Ben finds it too sweet. So I made a homemade version! This duck sauce is the perfect balance of sweet, savory and tangy. Try it out with this vegetable egg roll recipe – or when you order egg rolls and fried wonton strips from your favorite delivery place.
Hot Sichuan Chili Oil
Looking for the magic condiment that makes Sichuan food so irresistible? This is it! Smoky, garlicky, salty and hot – this all purpose chili oil features a blend of spices that powers-up stir fries, noodle dishes… really anything you throw it on. Sichuan peppercorns can be an acquired taste (hello, numbing sensation!), but if you love that, you’ll put this chili oil on everything.
Vegan Bolognese Sauce
Bolognese sauce is one of those sauces that is so perfect in its original form, it almost seems like a sin to play around too much with it. But when you ladle this vegan version on top of a bowl of pasta, you’ll be shocked by just how meaty it is (thanks to the strange alchemy of mushrooms, onion, carrot and bell pepper!). The secret to this hearty sauce is getting the texture right. Pulsing a portion of the sauce in a blender – then adding that back to the fully chunky tomato sauce – will get you there. Mangiamo!
Restaurant Style Teriyaki Sauce
My mom made teriyaki chicken and teriyaki tofu for us when we were kids. My brother used to call it Japanese bbq sauce. So I’ll always have a strong connection to that iconic savory and sweet flavor that straight-up lacquers proteins and makes everything taste moreish. And you can make this easy vegan sauce with soy sauce, mirin, garlic, sugar and cornstarch. That’s it! Don’t blame me if you start putting this on EVERYTHING.
Vegan Mushroom Gravy
When it comes to mashed potatoes, I’m definitely putting gravy on them. But that same logic applies to French fries for me as well. You see, I grew up in Quebec – home of poutine. And this mushroom gravy has become one of those all-purpose vegan sauce recipes I rely on for all types of food. The savory and umami notes come through and make my plant based meals seem just a little more meaty. Anyway, grab the flour, and vegan butter and get working on this dairy free gravy. And never feel weird about putting gravy on your French fries!
The Best Dumpling Sauce
Could you make a full meal out of dumplings? I could (and have). Whether you’re drawn to Japanese gyoza, Chinese potstickers – or Korean kimchi tofu mandu – I’ve got two dumpling sauces that you can make in less than 5 minutes. The Chinese inspired dumpling sauce in particular really shines because of the cheeky interplay between chili oil and chinkiang vinegar. If you’re a dumpling junky (like me), this one is for you.
Vegan Carbonara Sauce
Full disclosure: I get a little nervous when I see things like cashew cream carbonara – and vegan alfredo sauce on the menu anywhere. It’s not that I don’t applaud the attempt at serving plant based alternatives. It’s just that some things are perfect as-is. Well, that said, I’m gong on record here: this vegan carbonara sauce is one of my favorite recipes of all time. Period. Make this vegan recipe for the meat eater in your life and watch how quickly the plates come back, licked clean. And there’s not a cashew in sight.
Black Bean Sauce
Craving restaurant quality Chinese food at home? This pungent, savory, earthy and aromatic black bean sauce recipe delivers authenticity and depth of flavor reliably and super quickly. And it only takes 15 minutes to whip up. Now, the recipe steps call for chicken broth OR vegetable broth. If you’re following a plant based diet, you know which one to use. But the best part: fermented black bean sauce is so versatile. You can use this vegan Chinese sauce as a condiment, a marinade, or composed stir fry sauce.
Homemade Rayu – Japanese Chili Oil
Looking for a fiery plant based condiment to round out your Japanese favorites like gyoza and ramen? I’ve got you. This homemade taberu rayu is loaded with fresh scallions, garlic and ginger. And there’s no shortage of ichimi togarashi and Chinese red pepper flakes in the chili department. Make it in 15 minutes – and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Just FYI though – there’s no way it’ll be around that long before you devour it all!
Like your Italian tomato sauce super smooth? Pomodoro sauce is a blended sauce, so you won’t find any chunks here. Just smooth, tomato-y perfection. Have you ever dropped the word pomodoro into Google Translate? It just comes back with the word ‘tomato’. And that’s a pretty fitting thing since this vegan sauce recipe is literally the essence of the vine-ripened tomato in August. Use this classic Italian sauce on any pasta, pizza or ravioli and… just… yum.
Light Cranberry Relish
This lightened up cranberry relish is more tart than sweet thanks to frozen cranberries and lemon juice – and packed with spices like cinnamon sticks and cloves. And while I’m most vocal about this vegan sauce around the holiday season, I use it all throughout the year. Sure it goes well with leftover turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving – but I use this as a sweet/tart topper for my morning oatmeal, pancakes and toast on the regular. And for those times I sneak a bowl of ice cream, this makes the best fruity addition. Make yours in 20 minutes from start to finish.
Eel Sauce – うなぎのタレ
Eel sauce (called unagi no tare) is a sweet, savory and umami loaded brown sauce made with soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake. And while it’s typically used in Japanese grilled eel dishes like kabayaki and unadon, it’s actually one of those vegan sauce recipes that works with almost everything. The secret to this iconic Japanese condiment is to bring the four ingredients to a boil and then quickly lower the heat. Simmer on low until the sauce looks glossy. Check out this video to see how easy it is to make eel sauce at home.
Sriracha Buffalo Sauce
I love watching hockey. And I used to crush a plate of buffalo hot wings with a side of celery and blue cheese sauce for really big games. But buffalo sauce is surprisingly versatile. Use this tangy vegan sauce on anything that needs a little kick. Sure, it works on chicken wings. But I like keeping it plant based with smoky roasted cauliflower, charred and crispy from the broiler. If that’s how you roll too, toss the florets liberally in buffalo sauce. Then you can even-out the burn with a little vegan ranch dressing or tahini sauce. Don’t forget extra napkins!
Crazy Hot Chili Garlic Sauce
With over 40 Thai chilis in this chili garlic sauce, you’ll definitely feel the heat 🔥 But, for those of you that aren’t intimidated – this Asian style hot sauce isn’t simply one-note-face-melting-fire. There are also sweet and sour notes in abundance from the rice vinegar. Shallots and garlic introduce real earthiness. This makes it one of those all-purpose vegan sauce recipes that you can use on noodles, rice, tofu, etc. Two pieces of advice: use kosher salt (so you don’t over-salt your chili sauce) – and wear gloves when handling the chilis!
Sweet and Sour Sauce (糖醋醬)
Make this simple Cantonese style sweet and sour sauce anytime you’re craving delivery but know you should probably just cook instead. It only takes 7 minutes. Then use it as an easy stir fry sauce that will give your homemade wok creations restaurant caliber flavor. Works on any protein, but I’m partial to sweet and sour tofu. And I’ve got easy instructions on how to tweak the flavors of this iconic Chinese sauce to make it more or less sweet and tangy based on your own personal preferences.
Have you tried any of these delicious and easy vegan sauce recipes? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below.Print
Easy Dumpling Sauce
These recipes for Chinese dumpling sauce and Japanese gyoza sauce are so easy to make, you might be surprised that they taste just like your favorite restaurant versions!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 tablespoons 1x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Stirring
- Cuisine: Chinese
Chinese dumpling sauce
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
Japanese dumpling sauce (gyoza)
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon plain rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili oil
Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and serve in individual dipping bowls.
You can make it less spicy by lowering the amount of chili oil.
Dumpling sauce should be kept refrigerated in an airtight glass or plastic container. It will keep for up to 4 weeks.
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 57
- Sugar: 0.9 g
- Sodium: 434.8 mg
- Fat: 4.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1.9 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 2.6 g
- Fiber: 0.1 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: gyoza sauce, jiaozi sauce, potsticker sauce