Sunday, October 24, 2010

Making a Base Sauce and Using it Throughout the Week

We are all busy and who wants to spend even an hour in the kitchen to prepare a healthy dinner? I sure don’t! Here is a simple recipe you can use as a base for several dishes throughout the week. Think Vegan Mac and Cheese, Twice Baked Potatoes and Enchilada Bake!

This sauce is based on the Melty Nutritional Yeast Cheese recipe from the Farm Cookbook. There are many different variations around the web and here is mine; it can be used as a cheese sauce or as a base for gravies, cream soups  and even as a spread on sandwiches.

Nutritional Yeast Base Sauce

1 C Nutritional Yeast
½ c cornstarch or arrowroot ( arrowroot will make it stretchier )
1 T salt
2 t garlic powder
2 T Dijon mustard
1 t smoked paprika
4 c cold water
½ c olive oil  or Earth Balance
1 T vinegar

Whisk everything together in a pan, making sure all lumps are gone. Turn heat on to medium high heat and bring to a boil, whisking well. Allow mixture to bubble for 1 minute continuing to whisk, turn off heat and let cool.

Now you have your base. For a quick Queso like sauce, add some salsa and serve warm or use it to top enchilada bake. For gravy, sauté some mushrooms, garlic, onions along with some poultry seasoning ( or parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme ) add 2 c vegetable stock and around 1 c of the sauce and whisk over medium heat until bubbly. Serve over mashed potatoes, fried tofu or seitan. Mac and Cheese is simple; mix with almost cooked macaroni or your favorite pasta. Add peas or other veggies along with a big of nutmeg, and lots of pepper. Top with breadcrumbs if desired and bake til bubbly.

The possibilities are endless. Stay tuned this week to see how I use the sauce.

As you can see in the picture, the sauce gets pretty gloppy when it cools.. and that's OK. it will thin out when it's re-heated.

I usually make 3 base sauces for the week ( or month actually, I do them in big batches for the freezer. )
Having these three sauces on hand along with 2 different types of cooked legumes and at least 1 cooked grain allows me to make 30 minute meals most of the time. You can cook up your pot of grains or pressure cook beans  while you're doing other things, so it doesn't require a huge time investment up front.


  1. You are a smart one!

  2. This is brilliant--thanks so much for sharing. I make a similar nutritional yeast sauce, but I always make just as much as I need. It never occurred to me that I could store it to have on hand...duh. Thank you Melody!!


  3. Great tips. I really want to try the nut yeast sauce. I usually make marinara on Sundays, so btw that and a nut sauce, sounds like a great plan. Thanks for the recipe too!

  4. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Отличная статья! большое спасибо автору за интересный материал. Удачи в развитии!!! :)
    [url=]Детективы скачать[/url]

  5. Thanks so -- that's great! LOVE time-saving strategies; please share more if they occur to you!

    My best tip so far is, i make the "goo" for cheezy kale chips (i use the recipe at raw food rehab) ahead of time -- line up pint jars, assembly-line the ingredients in, then screw on the blender base to blend right in jar -- and freeze. Thaw on grocery day when i buy the kale; make chips next day. Easy!

  6. This is such a great idea!

  7. Reikifeet, that is a great idea! I need to make some kale chips. I'll do that next week for my Raw Wednesday!

  8. Oh I'm going to have to try this one!

  9. I'm SO excited I found your blog! I am new to vegan eating and am very excited to learn to prepare beautiful, tasty meals that are nourishing to me and my growing family. THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!!!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Made this sauce for a quick pasta dinner last night. Amazing! The addition of smoked paprika (I used Spanish) gave it a savory cheese-like quality I have not encountered with other recipes. Also the first flour-less recipe I have used, and I think that also make it rockin'. Honestly the best "cheese" sauce I have made.

  12. This freezes ok? I've never frozen a nutritional yeast based sauce but what a great idea!