It's one of the things I'm good at: identifying and replicating flavors in foods.
My Mom invited me to lunch last week with the goal replicating a cafe's signature sauce. She wanted me to make it at home. Since the sauce is so tastey, I quickly went home and set to work. Because of the ingredients in the recipe, it has a very rich and buttery flavor without the fat of butter----what a great combo!
I whipped together a version based on taste and a bit of information from one of the waitresses at the cafe and only later did I think to 'google' the cafe's name for recipes. My estimation of ingredients came amazingly close to the recipe I found online (yes, that sound in the background is me patting myself on the back).
Here's the deal: the sauce is especially good on both green salads and the healthy layered "bowls" this franchise cafe makes. In their version, they layer a bowl as thus: a hearty layer of brown rice, a layer of beans (I used adzuki but black beans are great, too)... Around the rim of the rice bowl, place servings of these items: shredded medium-sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream (or yogurt), sliced olives, diced tomatoes, and sliced avocado (1/2 an avocado). Personally, I would also add toasted sesame seeds & sprouts to the bowl if I had them...I'd also add roasted tofu if I had that, too!
On top of it all, sprinkle over THE SAUCE...
1/2 C. canola oil
1/2 C. whole almonds
1/3 C. nutritional yeast (not the kind of yeast for bread making)
1/3 C. garbonzo beans, drained (I used more like 1/2 C.)
1/4 C. cooked soybeans (not edamame and if you cannot find them, omit and either add more garbanzo beans or use equal parts silken tofu for the protein)
1/2 C. lemon juice
1/4 C. filtered water (if needed to thin the sauce)
2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. fenugreek powder (sometimes this can be difficult to find. It's an essential ingredient to curry powder and Indian cuisine--you'll recognize the fragrance and flavor).
1/2 tsp. salt
How-to: In food processor or blender, pulse the nuts, beans, soybeans or tofu, and garlic together first. Add seasonings, yeast, and lemon juice. Pulse together. With the machine running, slowly add the canola oil to emulsify the sauce. If the sauce seems thick, add the water bit by bit to the consistancy you want. The sauce needs to sit for an hour or more to meld the flavors. After this period of time, check for seasoning to taste... You might need salt.
Variation: To make a "hot" version, add a couple chipotle chili peppers from a can to the sauce.