This Thai inspired vegan satay sauce is simply awesome. It’s nutty, sweet, salty, and a bit spicy. It requires just 6 ingredients, but their incredible combination of flavours ticks all the boxes. Get ready to dip in!
This Vegan Satay Sauce is inspired by the dipping sauces that are typically served with grilled skewers in Thailand and other countries. While strictly speaking, satay is simply the name of the skewers rather than the sauce, the word has been adopted for this type of spicy & sweet peanut sauce.
We adapted this recipe from a traditional Thai recipe to make it vegan and use ingredients that are easy to find here in the UK and in the US. This recipe is so easy with just six ingredients, but each of them brings their typical flavour to the table. In combination, they make this satay sauce outrageously delicious!
Our Satay Sauce is...
- spicy and aromatic
- a bit sweet
- subtly sour
- and creamy!
The simple method means that you can whip it up easily on the side while you prepare other dishes to go with it.
Whether as a dip for veggie sticks (our favourite!), grilled tofu skewers, summer rolls, or as a marinade to add a Thai twist to your BBQ, this Vegan Satay Sauce is a guaranteed to be a hit!
Here’s what you’ll need for the satay sauce:
- Peanut butter - Ideally a natural peanut butter that is simply 100% nuts.
- Coconut milk - full fat. We like to use organic coconut milk which hasn't got additives or stabilisers.
- Thai Red Curry Paste - just double check its vegan (like this brand) as some contain fish sauce or shrimp paste.
- Soy sauce - use tamari for a gluten-free recipe
- Brown sugar - light or dark will both work
- Lime juice - rounding it off with a subtle tang
Step by step pictures
You’ll find the full recipe in the card at the end of the post, but here’s a quick visual guide on how to make vegan satay sauce.
Step 1 - In a small/medium saucepan, fry the curry paste with a spoonful of the coconut milk or the cream from the top of the can for about 1-2 minutes.
Step 2 - Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and gently simmer the sauce to thicken it up for about 10 minutes. Some oil separation is natural, just stir it again to combine.
Variations and substitutions
Gluten free - like mentioned above, use tamari in place of soy sauce to make the Satay Sauce gluten-free.
Brown sugar - you can use maple syrup as a one-to-one replacement.
Lime Juice - lemon juice is a good substitute. In case we run out of fresh limes, we keep a small bottle of store bought lime juice. You can also use half the amount of tamarind paste.
Red Thai Curry Paste - for a quick replacement for curry paste, use three parts minced garlic, one part grated ginger, and either two parts fresh red chilies, one part red chili flakes or ½ part red chili powder. For a milder variation, use red pepper, paprika, or a mild red chili powder.
Serving and storage
We like to serve this sauce about 10 minutes after cooking it, whilst it is still warm but has cooled enough to become a good thickness for dipping.
Some toasted crushed peanuts or sesame seeds sprinkled on top of the sauce is a delicious addition.
Here’s a few ideas on how to use this yummy satay sauce:
- With veggie sticks as a dip or light meal
- As a marinade or dip for grilled tofu
- To make a yummy sauce for a noodle stir fry
- Spread on toast or crackers (sounds weird but is super tasty!)
- Drizzled over salad, roasted veggies or grains (Thin down the sauce with water or more coconut milk to make a more pourable dressing like consistency)
Keep leftovers in the fridge and use up within 5 days. You can easily briefly reheat it in the pan or microwave until it’s a good consistency for dipping again.
We hope you enjoy this vegan satay sauce as much as we do! Try these other Asian inspired recipes too:
Vegan Satay Sauce
- In a saucepan on medium-high heat, stir together the curry paste with 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk (preferrably the creamy part from the top). Fry for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add all other ingredients to the saucepan: the remaining coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce and lime juice. Stir to combine until smooth.
- On low-medium heat, simmer the sauce for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken up a little bit while cooking, but will get even thicker to dipping consistency as it cools down a bit.