If the new year has you motivated to eat more plant-based foods, we're with you. We drowned ourselves in hot chocolate (and of course we said yes to the whipped cream) over the holidays, but now it's time to reset and become reacquainted with vegetables.
While popular opinion assumes eating more plants can be boring, we spoke to head chef Andrea Norby of Purple Carrot (the crazy-delicious vegan meal delivery service) to find out her secret to making those meals taste like we're sitting down to a five-star restaurant in our own kitchen. The trick: delicious sauces and dressings. With little effort, you can upgrade your vegan lunch or dinner with these tasty vegan mixes she shared exclusively with us.
1. Soy Glaze
Don't settle for sautéeing veggies in olive oil. Borrringgg. Give them some love and let them take a dip in this soy glaze for an easy Asian take on your dinner tonight. Cook some brown rice or quinoa to go with the veg and you'll feel like you're sitting down to a chef-made meal... and yes, you're the chef.
- 1 tablespoon sambal (you can also use Sriracha)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot powder)
- 1/2 cup water
In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
2. Vegan Ranch Dressing
Yep, vegans can enjoy ranch dressing too. Though typically made with buttermilk and standard mayo, this version features two small swaps that make it veg-friendly. And it's not just for salads. Use it as a dip for raw veggies (or buffalo cauliflower) when you need to give hummus a break or smear on veg-heavy sandwiches instead of mustard or mayo.
- 1/4 cup vegan mayo (Hellman's even has a vegan mayo now)
- 2 tablespoons vegan ranch spice blend (combination of dried dill, dried parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened soy or nut milk of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients then whisk and set dressing aside in refrigerator until ready to use.
3. Caesar Dressing
When the store-bought salads and pasta salads aren't exactly meeting your healthy-eating expectations, it's better to make them at home. Good news: Olive and balsamic don't have to be your toppings of choice. This Caesar dressing gives a restaurant-quality taste without any dairy. Here's how.
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (most brands are vegan but some have anchovies so look at the label)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 shallot
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Mince the capers and shallot, and add to a small bowl along with the tahini, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, Dijon mustard, juice of 1 lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
Chermoula is a Moroccan marinade that's most commonly used for marinating fish and meat, but what ya don't know is that it's one of the tastiest toppers to your roasted or grilled vegetables. Olive oil and sea salt are great and all, but put your spice rack to use (for once) and channel your inner Master Chef with this green sauce that will add both flavor and color.
- 1-inch fresh ginger
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon orange spice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Peel and grate the ginger and mince the garlic. Rinse the cilantro, discard the tough stems, and finely chop the leaves. Place the ginger, garlic, and cilantro in a small bowl then add in 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and juice from half of the lemon. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.