Creamy (Vegan) Lemon Balm Sauce ~ Seasonal

OK, so I love to explore what to do with seasonal stuff that pops up in my garden. This time, it was lemon balm, which I have a lot of, perhaps too much. It is fresh, lemony and a perfect reminder of fresh spring flavors.

I was recently invited to cook for the Mycological Association of Washington DC. They were going to supply a huge array of mushrooms, and a number of cooks were going to bring them to life as food for 50 tasters.

My idea was to dry-roast the mushrooms. I have a fondness for keeping the original delicacy of the mushrooms fully in tact. Not drowning them in “butter” or similar process that completely hides their individual delicate earthy nuttiness and textures. Not that buttered mushrooms don't taste delicious in their own right. There were mushroom pate’s, mushroom stews, mushrooms cooked into dishes like quinoa and there was me, dry-roasting.

Now comes the lemon balm part. I was going to take the mushrooms and dry roast them, and then allow a delicate drizzle of 4 unique sauces to draw out different experiences. The other three sauces were cilantro, toasted sesame and the big surprise, hazelnut chocolate mint. (I was the only one dry roasting and the only one who made a desert out of mushrooms).

Lemon Balm Sauce Recipe ~ makes about 1 pint

Ingredients are all organic, raw, and chosen for their ability to enhance the energy and complement the flavor of each other.

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 1 TBS ginger, microplaned

  • tumeric, 1-3 tsps, to taste or to the desired color of yellow

  • cyan, 1/8 tsp

  • cumin 3 tsps

  • 1 juicy lemon, and lemon zest from with the microplane

  • 1 TBS Celtic Sea salt

  • several handfuls of lemon balm, minus the stems

  • 1-2 TBS hemp hearts

  • 1 TBS nutritional yeast

Prep time 10 minutes ~ Add everything to a wide-mouth quart mason jar and use an emersion blender to combine until super creamy and most of the lemon balm leaves have been broken into fine pieces and their flavor emerged throughout.

If you want a slightly thicker sauce, you can add 1 TBS of arrow root. This will thicken up a bit in the fridge as well. The sauce will last about 2 weeks refrigerated and goes extremely well on salads, on rice and of course on dry-roasted mushrooms

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5 minutes to dry-roast a pom pom mushroom

Slice the pom pom into 1” thick slabs

Place in a hot cast-iron pan, heat should be medium light

Turn from time to time so they don’t get too brown while they are steaming themselves in their own moisture. The mushrooms will shrink quite a bit depending on their water content.

Plate and serve with creamy Lemon Balm sauce.