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Employee Wellness: Plant-Based Sauce

A great way to spice up plant-based meals is by using plant-based dips and sauces. Learning how to make sauces such as pesto, creamy cheesy sauces, and or flavorful sriracha style sauces can really make a huge impact on the flavor profile of your veggie based meals.

Here are 2 plant-based sauces you can use to make your veggie dishes more tasty:

Kale Walnut Pesto Sauce

This simple and versatile sauce can be added to your favorite pasta, roasted veggies, zucchini noodles, and even your baked chicken. It’s also great as a vegetable dip or as a condiment for your favorite veggie burgers or sandwiches! If you don’t have kale, alternative hearty green leafy vegetables will do.

How much does this recipe make?

This recipe makes about 1 cup of kale walnut pesto.


  •  ½ bunch kale, discard stems and chop

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast

  • Juice from ½ lemon to start, up to 1 lemon to taste

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • Salt and pepper  


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

  2. Once water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt and the kale.

  3. Cook for 5 minutes and transfer the kale to a colander, using a slotted spoon.

  4. Combine the kale, walnuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor.

  5. Process until smooth.

  6. Add salt and pepper and more lemon to taste.

Next up, is a delicious sauce made from cashews:

Cashew Cream Sauce

How does cashew cream sauce taste, you may ask? Cashew cream tastes surprisingly unlike cashews. At its base (seasoned with a bit of salt) it's a mix of 10% nuttiness, 30% buttery and 60% smooth creamy vanilla-y flavor, while still being neutral enough to work in anything. Because of this, it is perfect and versatile. You can substitute buttery creamy dairy based sauces and use cashew cream sauce instead.


  • 2 cups raw plain cashews

  • 1 1/4 cup water or broth

  • 1–2 cloves garlic

  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Option #1 Place cashews in a bowl. Cover with water and soak for about 2-24 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.

  2. Option #2 Place cashews in bowling water for 3-6 min.

  3. Place soaked or boiled cashews in the bowl of a food processor or blender with the water, garlic, and salt. Purée until very, very smooth. Thin out with more water to desired consistency. Store in fridge for 3-4 days or freeze.

  4. If you want to use the cashew cream sauce as a base and add diversity. Add extra ingredients to change the flavor! Chipotle peppers, pesto, chili paste, etc.

Some other things you could add to the sauce to diversify flavor:

  • Sriracha

  • Nutritional Yeast

  • Chipotle Peppers

  • Pesto or Fresh Herbs

  • Squash/Carrots/Spinach

You can also remove the savory elements of garlic and salt and replace with sweeter things such as peanut butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla for sweet flavorings.

Hope you enjoy these sauces!

Learn more about plant-based eating or other healthy recipes and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.

Written by Katie Alfaro, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern 


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