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This smoky tomato tahini sauce is the bomb! Use it as a dip for veggies or chips, a topping for veggie burgers, or drizzle it over potatoes (like my Breakfast Potato Hash). The smoky tomato tahini sauce is vegan, plant-based, sugar free and oil free. The magical ingredients that give this sauce it’s rich robust texture and flavor are a combination of tahini, cashews, smoked paprika…and some other “stuff”.
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While this sauce doesn’t use sugar as an ingredient, it does need a little “sweet”. Medjool dates are Mother Nature’s miracle sugar free and natural sweetener. Take the seeds out (very important – see below!) and soak the dates in very hot water for about 10 minutes or until softened. If the dates are very fresh and soft already, they won’t need any more time than that. If they have dried out a little then they might need an extra couple of minutes. To save washing a dish, I soak my raw cashews and dates together for this recipe. I normally don’t soak my cashews in very hot water – room temperature is fine. But in this case, it won’t hurt them – and that’s one less dish to wash!
It is important to use raw cashews for a really creamy texture. It you happen to use roasted cashews, you’ll need to soak longer. After soaking, drain your water. You’ll be using water as one of the ingredients when you mix it all together in the high speed blender; but do use fresh water for that.
While your cashews and dates are soaking, you can become familiar with Ume Plum Vinegar and give it a little taste – seriously though, just a tiny drop on the tongue or you will be sad. It has a very distinct taste that is not really like vinegar but more of a salty brine taste.
Ume Plum Vinegar is made from pickling umeboshi plums and is a great addition in plant-based cooking because it adds a little salty-tart flavor and is used in some dishes to give it the barest hint of the sea. I put off buying some for the longest time and substituted a combo of soy sauce and red wine vinegar – which you can do if you haven’t yet sourced the Ume Plum Vinegar. Do try to find some though. You only ever use a small amount, so it should last a good amount of time.
Another important ingredient is tahini. Tahini is made of ground sesame seeds and gives plant-based cooking a rich depth of flavor and texture. When we don’t use oil, our recipes sometimes lack the “mouth-feel” oil gives and tahini does the trick! Tahini isn’t always easy to find. I buy this one on Amazon – it really is a nice one. Creamy and easy to stir (affiliate link).
Put all ingredients, including the soaked and drained cashews and dates into a high speed blender or food processor and blend/process on high for about 3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Important note: Do make sure that all of your dates have actually been de-seeded! (What a horrible noise…and a recipe I just couldn’t recover…sad!)
This is also a time for deciding if you want your sauce a little more tomato-y than the recipe calls for. You are only using about half of the little can of tomato paste. So give it a taste and if you’d like more, go ahead and add it, 1/2 Tablespoon at a time. Otherwise, portion out the leftover tomato paste and freeze for another time.
Look at this beautiful, thick and creamy sauce! Now tell the truth – don’t you sometimes swipe a taste from the Vitamix plunger too? lol!
Things I used to make this recipe (affiliate links):
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Smoky Tomato Tahini Sauce
- 1 cup cashews raw and unsalted
- 4 each Medjool dates take out seeds
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon Ume Plum Vinegar substitute with red wine vinegar or soy sauce
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste or more to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup water
- ground black pepper to taste
- Take the seeds out of the dates and soak along with the raw cashews in very hot water for 10-15 minutes or until softened.
- Drain and discard water. You will be using water when you been ingredients - please use fresh water.
- Put soaked and drained deseeded dates and cashews into a high speed blender or food processor along with all other ingredients and blend on high for 3-5 minutes until creamy and smooth.
- Give it a taste and if you would like your sauce a little more tomato-y, go ahead and add 1/2 Tablespoon at a time.
- Pour into a jar or container. Cover tightly and refrigerate. It will thicken with refrigeration. Thin a little if necessary with water.