Let's Get Saucy! - Sunflower Seed Miso Sauce & Variations

I love sauces and dressings.  I just don’t feel a meal is complete without a rich and creamy sauce.  I am also of the opinion that sauces and dressings can be a great way to add nutrients to your meal that you may not get otherwise.  I’m really great at eating nuts and nut butter (I’m looking at you PEANUT BUTTER) but I often forget to add seeds to my meals, which are rich in magnesium, zinc, selenium and other trace minerals essential for metabolism, mental function, proper digestion, hormone production, among other body processes. Each week I make a sauce or dressing using some sort of seed as a way to ensure I include this nutrient dense food.  

I also use this same formula to make other sauces like a peanut sauce for stir-fry or an almond lime dressing for salads.  In fact, any of these sauces could be thinned with more liquid to make a salad dressing and I do that often too.  

Each of these recipes have miso in common.  Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans.  You may have had it in miso soup before.  It is very thick with a sweet/salty flavor and is full of vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy bacteria.  Because I don’t typically like the flavor and taste of fermented foods, I don’t eat a lot of them.  Miso is one I do enjoy and using it in sauces and dressings allows me to, as I’ve mentioned, get nutrition I wouldn’t otherwise!  

They also all have black pepper, because I do like the spicy flavor it adds.  I also love that every time I smell black pepper I sneeze and I LOVE to sneeze.  Who’s with me?

Anyway, below I will share my basic recipe and then 3 variations.  I hope this helps add flavor, satisfaction and nutrition to your meals!  (Also, you can find my favorite vinaigrette dressing here)

Basic Sunflower Seed Miso Sauce
This is the variation I use most often and is what is pictured here.  
½ cup sunflower seed butter
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp miso
½ cup milk or milk alternative (I use flax milk, almond milk or coconut milk most often)
2 pinches black pepper

Combine all in a small container and mix well.  Store covered in the refrigerator.  It may thicken as it stands, and if you would like it thinner, just add more liquid.  

Sauce pictured with potato, roasted vegetables (purple cabbage, red bell pepper and zucchini) and lentils. 

Sauce pictured with potato, roasted vegetables (purple cabbage, red bell pepper and zucchini) and lentils. 

As I said, I use this same formula for other equally satisfying sauces:

Tahini Lemon Miso Sauce
½ cup tahini paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp miso 
½ cup milk or milk alternative
2 pinches black pepper

Peanut Miso Sauce
½ cup peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp miso
½ cup milk or milk alternative
2 pinches black pepper
¼ tsp ground ginger, or to taste

Almond Lime Miso Sauce
½ cup almond butter
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp miso
½ cup milk or milk alternative
2 pinches black pepper

Enjoy!

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD