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Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update
Healthy Tips and Recipes for Institutions

Volume VIII, Number 1 Winter 1999/2000  


Question: My vegan customers are tired of melted margarine or tomato sauce as their only choices for gravies. What else can I do?

Answer: The possibilities are endless! If you’re pressed for time, use commercial barbecue sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or mushroom gravy mix (sees the information on the Knorr bases in this edition). Just be sure to read the ingredient listings to avoid using meat extracts, sugar, or dairy extracts such as lactose or whey, which can be added for texture. Prepared salsas can be used as is or jazzed up with fresh orange or grapefruit pieces, fresh tomatoes, peppers, chilies and onions, minced canned pineapple, or fresh mango or papaya pieces.

Orange juice concentrate thinned with pineapple juice and seasoned with orange zest, lemon juice, and ginger makes a great sweet and sour sauce and a glaze for veggies or baked tofu. Fresh or thawed frozen berries can be puréed with a small amount of orange or apple juice concentrate and used as a dessert sauce for fruit salad or for soy or rice ice cream or sorbet.

If you have time to create sauces from scratch, here’s how the chefs do it. Roux (equal parts fat and flour) is used as a thickening agent for milks or stock. To make a roux, melt margarine (or heat oil) and add an equal amount of flour. This will give you a "play doh" textured paste that can then be slowly added to heating soy milk or vegetable stock. For one gallon of liquid you need one pound of roux (or 8 ounces of fat and 8 ounces of flour). This will give you a medium-thick sauce. Béchamel sauce is a classic cream sauce. Prepare it by heating soy milk, stirring in roux and letting it simmer until it thickens. Season it with a studded onion – a small peeled onion that has a bay leaf attached to it with whole cloves. Veloute sauce is a combination of roux and stock (you can use a veggie or mushroom stock) that is allowed to reduce for thickness and flavor.

For a cold sauce, don’t discount mayonnaise. Purchase vegan mayonnaise and season it with lemon juice, chopped onions, minced garlic, minced pickles or relish, capers, and spices, such as white pepper, basil, oregano, chili powder, or curry powder. You can use a puréed silken tofu if you can’t locate vegan mayo.

Puréed, sautéed vegetables can be allowed to reduce until they yield a thick sauce. We like to sauté carrots, celery, onions, and bell pepper, add our secret ingredient (vegetable juice cocktail and a little red wine), purée it and allow it to cook until thick.

Cooked, puréed beans can be thinned with vegetable stock, soy milk, or vegetable juice to make a thick sauce (or used, left thick, as a dip).

These are just some of the ideas for vegan sauces that may come in handy for steamed, grilled, or roasted veggies, hot veggie sandwiches, cooked grains, and casseroles.

Excerpts from the Winter 1999/2000 Issue:

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Converted to HTML by Stephanie Schueler.

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