White Nut Sauce

My husband loves eggplant, so I set to, to make moussaka last night. I use the following sauce to top lasagna and moussaka, as it browns well, and doesn’t dry up and crack in the oven. I’ve made it using both almonds and cashews (on separate occasions), and both work well. I felt the almonds especially needed to be allowed to soak for a little while to soften before the final blending, so make this sauce such that it can sit and wait for about 20 minutes before being used. The final product is mild in flavor, and it takes kindly to flavor variations, if required.

If you want to use the sauce to top a baked dish, you can add an egg to the warm (not hot) sauce before using in the bake, so that it solidifies in the oven to make a cohesive layer that stays on top of the bake. For vegan moussakas and lasagnas, you could either add another tbsp or two of starch, or bake in individual serving dishes so it doesn’t matter if the sauce is liquid.

I’ve recently been branching out in the brands of miso that I buy. The miso you need here is a light, rich, almost cheesy one. My favorite is still the chickpea miso from South River, but I’m starting to look at other less expensive varieties. Misos vary in the amount of salt they contain, so you’ll need to adjust the amount of salt you add to accommodate that.

This sauce makes enough for 2 generously, 3 reasonably, or 4 for folks keeping an eye on calories. It makes a thin layer for a medium sized lasagna/moussaka, so double up if you like a thick layer, or want to make a larger dish.

The kids gave it two thumbs up.

White nut sauce topping a mushroom lasagna.

White nut sauce topping a mushroom lasagna.

4 oz (1 scant cup) raw almonds or cashews, finely ground
2 tbsp potato or corn starch (do not substitute tapioca starch, it gives the wrong texture)
2 cups water (or plain dairy free milk, e.g. rice or soy)
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp light colored miso
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 oz vegan cream cheese (optional for a creamier sauce)
1 egg (optional)

Mix the cashews, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch in a saucepan and gradually add the liquid, stirring with a whisk.

Stir in the other ingredients (except the egg), and bring to a gentle boil, whisking until thickened.

If using the egg, allow the sauce to cool for 5 minutes or so before adding, as you don’t want the heat to cook the egg at this stage.

Use an immersion/stick blender to smooth the texture if necessary.

Check for seasoning before using.


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