Saucy | Viva!



Using quick home-made sauces transforms simple, wholesome ingredients in a whizz! All you need is a stick blender. Try adding one of these to: 


For busy or lazy days, many supermarket ready-made sauces provide a good alternative - see our Product Guide


Tomato & Mushroom Sauce

  • 500ml/18fl oz water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 400g passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • Optional: 2 tbsp vegan red wine (Eg Harvey's or one of the Co-op's vegan range)
  • 350g chestnut or field mushrooms (not the white ones, basically!)
  • ½-1 pack of fresh basil, torn roughly
  • Salt and black pepper

1 Place 4 tbsp of the water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add half the onion and half the crushed garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion and garlic soften slightly, about 5 minutes.

2 Add the passata, tomato puree, red wine if using and all the remaining water except for another 4 tbsp. Season with several twists of freshly ground pepper and a little salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan. Add the remaining onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions and garlic soften slightly - add the remaining 4 tbsp water and cook in for another minute or two. Add all the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

4 Add to the tomato mixture and cook the sauce over low heat for about 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

5 Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Season with more freshly ground pepper, if desired, and a bit of salt if necessary.


Sweet Potato Cashew Cream Sauce

Serves 2-4 | 15 minutes

  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into medium chunks - approximately 300-350g
  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 90ml/3fl oz water - use steaming water
  • Pinch of nutmeg or allspice
  • Salt and pepper

1 Steam the sweet potato until tender - less than 10 minutes. Keep the steaming water.

2 Blend the sweet potato with the cashew butter and lime juice until smooth - add a little of the steaming water to thin it down.

3 Taste and add seasoning. Whizz again and serve hot.


Shiitake Mushroom Sauce

Serves 2-4 | 30 minutes

This is a quick sauce/gravy which goes well with lots of things, such as pasta with smoked tofu, vegan mince (see our Product Guide) or Realeat chicken-style pieces from Holland & Barrett and other health food shops. 


  • Oil spray
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 120g/4oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped roughly (remove stalks if very tough) - available from large supermarkets
  • 4 tbsp plus 1 tbsp rice flour (available from large supermarkets, eg Tesco and Sainsbury's)
  • 350ml/13fl oz water or vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp good quality soya sauce, eg Kikoman, Essential, Clearspring or Sanchi - use tamari if you are gluten-free
  • 1 tbsp sherry, any flavour (Tio Pepe, Gonzalez Byass & Harvey's are all vegan)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or ¼ tsp dried
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage or 1 good pinch dried

1 Use a medium saucepan and spray with two squirts of the oil spray.

2 Sauté the onions and mushrooms. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Stir in the rice flour and cook in for another few minutes, stirring well. Add the herbs.

4 Add the soya sauce and 350ml/13fl oz water and whisk in to prevent lumps. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.

5 Blend if you prefer a smooth sauce - otherwise serve as it is. 

Roasted Red Pepper & Almond Sauce

Serves 2-4 | 5-10 minutes 

  • 225g/8oz roasted red peppers - in brine or water, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds or pine nuts
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic (approx 1 large clove)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pinch ground allspice

1 Blend ground nuts and all other ingredients until creamy and smooth.

Warm sauce through gently and serve on grain/vegetables of your choice.