5-Minute Liquid Gold Sauce (Oil-Free, Plant-Based)

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Stirring a bowl of our Liquid Gold Sauce recipe made from chickpeas and nutritional yeast

A friend of ours loves a restaurant called The Whole Bowl in Portland.

It’s essentially a vegetarian version of Chipotle burrito bowls, only the sole menu item is a rice bowl with black beans, salsa, veggies, avocado, olives, optional sour cream and cheese, and something they call Tali sauce.

What is this mysterious Tali sauce? What makes it vibrant neon yellow? What makes it taste so good? These were questions that kept me up at night. So I went to the drawing board to see if I could come up with something similar. And friends, something magical was born: Liquid Gold Sauce. Let’s do this!

Assortment of ingredients for our Liquid Gold Sauce recipe

This recipe is super easy to make, requiring just 10 ingredients, 10 minutes, and 1 blender!

When I asked what it was made of, a kind Whole Bowl employee mentioned a few ingredients like chickpeas, lemon, and nutritional yeast, which set me in the right direction.

From there, I knew it needed the basics, like salt and garlic, but I also added some turmeric for vibrant color and tahini for creaminess.

For spice, I added curry powder because it packs an efficient punch of flavor. I also added cumin for even more warmth and smokiness and (optional) cayenne for a little heat.

Lastly, maple syrup balances out the acidity, heat, and salt.

Food processor filled with ingredients for making our Turmeric Chickpea Sauce

Simply add to a small blender with a little water and blend until creamy and smooth! You’re almost ready to pour Liquid Gold Sauce onto everything you eat. BE STOKED.

Bowl of Liquid Gold Chickpea Sauce beside spoonfuls of turmeric and nutritional yeast

We hope you love this sauce! It’s:

Creamy
Vibrant yellow
Perfectly spiced
Garlicky
Lemony
Cheesy
Kind of perfect

This would make the perfect sauce for things like our:

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Liquid Gold Sauce drizzled over a bowl of sweet potato rounds and topped with fresh cilantro

5-Minute Liquid Gold Sauce (Oil-Free, Plant-Based)

A creamy, dreamy, vibrant sauce that looks like liquid gold. Made with simple ingredients like chickpeas, lemon, garlic, and nutritional yeast, it's perfect for adding to bowl meals, salads, roasted vegetables, and more! Just 10 minutes and 1 blender required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Stirring a bowl of bright yellow sauce made from chickpeas, turmeric, nutritional yeast, and more
4.91 from 43 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 (2-Tbsp servings)
Course Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 Week

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (if you can’t have, omit)
  • 2 small cloves garlic, skin removed
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (or sub lime)
  • 1 Tbsp tahini (or cashew butter)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder (or store-bought)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin (for milder sauce, omit the cumin and use only curry powder)
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional // omit for less heat)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup water, plus more as needed

Instructions

  • To a small blender (or food processor, though it won’t be as creamy), add chickpeas, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon, tahini, salt, ground turmeric, curry powder, ground cumin, cayenne (optional), maple syrup, and water.
  • Blend on high until creamy and smooth. Add more water as needed until a thick, pourable sauce is achieved.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt to taste, curry powder for spice, tahini for creaminess / nuttiness, lemon for acidity, cayenne for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness.
  • Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week. You can also freeze it up to 1 month and thaw before use (do not heat) although best when fresh.
  • Perfect for use on just about anything — think roasted sweet potatoes, burrito bowls, salads, and more!

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Inspired by the Thali Sauce at The Whole Bowl.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 2-Tbsp servings Calories: 35 Carbohydrates: 4.5 g Protein: 1.6 g Fat: 1.3 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 96 mg Potassium: 50 mg Fiber: 1.1 g Sugar: 1.5 g Vitamin A: 3.99 IU Vitamin C: 0.83 mg Calcium: 17.04 mg Iron: 0.41 mg

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  1. Beth says

    I made this but it wasn’t as yellow as the picture but it was darn yummie! I should have doubled/tripled it because I literally cleaned my blender with the finger to mouth method! I though about adding a little yellow mustard to make it prettier but didn’t want to ruin it.

    I’ll have this batch gone today guaranteed.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Beth! We wonder if your turmeric wasn’t as vibrant?

  2. Trish says

    Hi I really want to try this, but am a bit confused as to whether you can heat it for hot dishes or if it’s just meant to be eaten cold?

    Love your recipes!

  3. Veena says

    Delicious! A little extra pungent from the garlic but that is not a problem! Thanks for a great recipe.

  4. Jocelyn says

    Thank you! Thank You! I used to live in Portland and miss this sauce so much! I love it so much that I basically made a huge batch using an entire can of garbanzo beans, including the aquafaba (water it sits in), and tripled everything else (except the water). This is going to be a staple in my fridge!

  5. Sarah says

    I just made this tonight—wow! The only thing I changed was I used the liquid from the chickpeas instead of water. I also skinned the chickpeas before I blended them. I could honestly eat this by the spoonful! Another winner!! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Claire says

    HOLY. COW. This stuff really is liquid gold. I’m glad I made extra (started in a mini food processor, but it’s quite old and didn’t work correctly, so I transferred to my blender and added the rest of my chickpeas and eyeballed the rest of the ingredients). For once I had everything on hand (just bought organic curry powder a couple weeks ago) and it tastes so fresh! This is going to go on every dish I make this week….if it lasts that long, haha. Thanks, Dana!!

  7. Cheryl S Lewman says

    This is SO DELICIOUS! I was hoping it would be similar to a local sauce called, Yumm Sauce, and it is! It was also easy to adjust it to make it perfect for me. I can’t imagine not always having some of this in the fridge.

  8. Rebecca says

    Super yummy! I doubled the recipe and used curry paste instead of poweder (because that’s what I had on hand) and am super happy with the result. Put it on chickpeas and broccoli tonight, but I think it will go with a lot of dishes

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Rebecca. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  9. Stephan Hoppe says

    I don’t have a blender, not because I can’t afford one, but because I just moved so I haven’t gotten around to getting one yet. Not that a blender is a minor or forgettable purchase for me. In fact, it’s important enough that I won’t just buy the first blender I see; instead I’ll do a little research first. There’s been some advances in blender technology lately too it seems, making a blender purchase the exact opposite of trivial. But this isn’t about blenders. :)

    Anyway, I got around my lack of blender by using the liquid from a can of chick peas instead of water, and I added 1.5 tbsp of chia seeds. It still turned out nice and thick and I only had to stir!

  10. Kat says

    I LOVE this recipe! So easy and delicious! Will definitely become a regular in my buddha bowls going forward.
    I used Cholula instead of cayenne and it was delish.

  11. Julie Erickson says

    Oh woman that is good! I want to put it on everything! I will double or triple the recipe next time. So easy and so good!

  12. Lauren says

    This sauce is amazing. I put it on top of tofu the first time I made this. The next time I made it, I used it as a dipping sauce for falafel. That was my favorite. My sauce was not as yellow, but this is my new go to sauce. I used nutritional yeast in mine and thought that gave the sauce a great texture. I also shared with friends and it was a hit.

  13. Maureen says

    This is delicious! I didn’t have curry or cumin (had “cleaned house” on a lot of old spices recently, replacing slowly) so used a few dashes of cinnamon and smoked paprika to try to comp for (as opposed to recreate) these spices. Adjusted flavors to my liking (a bit more garlic and nute). Wonderful balance, plan is to use as a seafood dip/spread on Christmas day, but would be likewise awesome on a veg sammie, w/naan dippers, etc.

  14. Sumer says

    Is this meant to be a “vegan cheese” sauce or a curry sauce? What does it taste like, cheese or not cheese? I want to try it, but I have no idea what to pair it with. Thanks!

  15. Rkb says

    I liked this sauce way better then I thought I would. I stayed pretty close to the recipe – left out the cumin and curry powder, and used lite salt, and included a little more cayenne – but it was fantastic. I had it over roasted veggies. So good.

    I have so much left over; am going to try it on everything – next up: will substitute for cheese on a tuna melt.

  16. Jsz123 says

    Delish! Made this twice so far; with and without the curry. Definitely leave the curry in! I enjoy mine drizzled over a kale bowl with roasted sweet potato. A keeper for sure. Thank you for this recipe.

  17. Genevieve Remark says

    This is so amazing! And suprisingly cheesy and mustardy! I had it on some roasted potatoes and onion but cant wait to put it on everything else :) thank you so much!

  18. marg says

    This is the best sauce ever. thank you for sharing your recipe. I have made it again and again and it is so delicious – my favourite.

  19. Lara says

    This looks delish! Something we would definitely use all the time. I’m curious, though, what does the nutritional yeast do? I’ve never used it before, so it’s not something we have in the house and not sure if it’s necessary to go out and buy. What does it add to this sauce? :) Can’t wait to make it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lara, it adds a slight cheesiness and extra layer of flavor, but feel free to omit if you would prefer!

  20. angela catania says

    Okay, I have a dumb question… when you say cooked chick peas, are canned chick peas already cooked? Or do I need to cook them in a pan first? I made the sauce… and I know this is right up my alley, but I failed miserably and want to go again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amber, we aren’t sure that would work as it would likely impact the texture and flavor! But let us know if you give it a try!

    • Postal canary says

      No. Don’t use flour. Flour doesn’t have the at moisture in it like the chick peas do. U NEED that moisture. U want a Sauce. Not paste lol ☺️ A regular grocery store will carry canned chick peas.
      DID U KNOW, u can also make nondairy whip cream using the liquid of chic peas.
      I can’t think of the name. But google it. Yummy.

  21. marge201 says

    This beauty is right up my alley. I will quadruple it, maybe freeze some, and will start with cooking 1 pound chick peas in instant pot and saving the cooking water (aquafaba) which I’ll use instead of the water. Will report back! (will double the salt, not quadruple) I know I will love this.

  22. Merritt says

    I drizzled it on a broccoli-stuffed baked potato. Love the flavor, and the texture. Had to double the recipe to get my blender — which is huge — to do its thing. No regrets; I’ll use the rest on something else. This is a new staple in our house!

  23. Michelle says

    Wow! This sauce was amazing! I roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, red onion, mushrooms served it over quinoa and drizzled the sauce on top. So much flavor!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Michelle. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  24. Emilie says

    I am so excited for this! I have lived in Portland 12 years and the secret of Tali sauce has plagued me the entire time. Can’t wait to give it a shot and see how it stacks up!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      You could try without and then maybe double up on turmeric or other spices if it needs more color/flavor. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  25. M. Newberry says

    What can I substitute for the turmeric and the curry spices? I would love to make this sauce but cannot abide the taste of turmeric and curry. I appreciate your input.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      You could try it without, but the color/flavor won’t be the same. We aren’t sure of another substitute- but perhaps you could compensate with more of the other spices? Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  26. Aleksandra Žarak says

    Wow, the sauce is amazing! Just the right balance of spices which marry beautifully! luckily I had some cooked chickpeas so I could try it right way. A keeper! Thanks!

  27. John Stirzaker says

    This is delicious! I used store bought curry powder which was slightly overpowering so I added a bit more salt and an extra teaspoon of maple syrup. Works perfectly as a salad dressing, am just about to roast some chickpeas with it now.

  28. Amanda says

    I whipped up a batch of this and served it on baked potatoes (plus a little vegan butter) with broccoli. Yum! I think next time I’d skip the turmeric – it made the color beautiful, but the flavor of it didn’t quite jive with the rest of the flavors, in my opinion. But I’d definitely make this again – very creamy and delicious.

  29. Margaret says

    I made this and it was simple. The garlic made it a bit spicy for my 2 year old grandson, even though I left out the cayenne. He warmed up to it though. I’ll adjust to less next time. I would recommend. Great on macaroni.

  30. Janice says

    Great! Made no changes and served it over some roasted delicata. Wonderful!
    Then I dipped some chips in it,
    Then had put some on pork tenderloin.
    So, it’s good on everything!

  31. Luci says

    Boy oh boy you named this sauce just right! It is definitely liquid gold, it is so yummy, I’m eating right out of the blender with a spoon, haha! I can’t wait to put it on dinner tonight…and so many other things I’ve already thought of! I feel like the possibilities are endless! I doubled the recipe (because I like a lot of sauce!) and I used lime juice instead of lemon, because that’s what I had on hand, 1 Tbs of tahini & 1 Tbs of cashew butter, just for fun, and the flavor and consistency were perfect, didn’t need to adjust anything. Thank you so much for this delicious nutritious oil-free recipe!

  32. Jennifer says

    I made this last night and drizzled it over right rice with roasted veggies and tofu and it was delicious. So simple to prepare.

    Thank you!

  33. Monique Dermaux says

    OK so I make hummus All. The. Time. I live on the stuff, and I am good at making it. When I read this chickpea recipe on Flipboard, it literally elevated me off of the couch to make it. It sounded sooo good. Alas, I was missing two ingredients: lemons and cayenne pepper. I couldn’t resist the urge to make this so I substituted: Mandarin orange and Carolina Reaper salt.

    The substituted ingredients worked, and this stuff is to die for! My hubby even gladly detoured from the hardware store to pick up more chickpeas. That says something. I can’t wait to try it with lemons and cayenne pepper. One word: LOVE! (PS I never write reviews)

  34. Elizabeth Mackay says

    Hi Dana – I LOVE your blog SO much, and am making this tonight!
    I did, however, want to point out privately that there is a mistake in the blog in your spelling of “Tali” Sauce … I went to look at The Whole Bowl website (looks amazing – I wish they were here in Victoria!), and it is spelled WITHOUT an ‘h’ – as it is named after the owner and inventor, whose name is also spelled without an ‘h’. Please don’t take this as a criticism, but I thought you’d like to know, and maybe you have a reason I don’t know about for putting the ‘h’ in there ..
    The last thing I would want is to embarrass you – I’m a huge fan, and have your cookbook, which I have also given as gifts to family.
    Hopefully you can deal with this privately without it going under your Comments on-line. I would appreciate an answer to my personal e-mail address below.

    Thanks SO much for all the hard work you put into the BEST blog on the planet!

    Warmest regards

    Liz

  35. Eileen Palmer says

    This is fantastic! So cheap and easy to make and soooooo versatile! We try to be as plant based as possible but have been letting too much dairy back in our diet for convenience. I have since watched my cholesterol levels rising again since they’ve been down after we went completely plant based. This little sauce will be such a life saver-literally! Highly recommend.

  36. Jordan says

    I have made this twice since you posted it! So yummy. I use a splash of coconut cream instead of tahini. And I don’t eat nutritional yeast so I just leave it out. One of my favorite new sauces! Thank you

  37. Rachel says

    Easy and delicious! It was tangier than I expected, in a good way — brighter. I was torn between making this or a “cheese” sauce I love and opted for this one to try something new. I’m so glad I did! Eating it with lentil pasta + green peas for lunch. Yum :)

  38. Jaime says

    Liquid gold is right! I made this sauce with roasted sweet potatoes for dinner and it was a hit. It is so easy, you don’t even have to chop the garlic! Just blend it up and wow your friends.

    Dana, you have done it again. Thanks for always making plant-based meals exciting and delicious. RUN, don’t walk, and make this sauce ASAP!

  39. Cath says

    So glad I doubled this recipe! Added a bit more lemon juice, and sriracha, and served over quinoa and a rainbow of roasted veg. I love how this is both a sauce, and a source of protein. Great job again Dana!

  40. Cassie Autumn Tran says

    Could I just eat this by the spoonful? Yeah? Would I be judged for it? Well, who cares, right! LOL! This definitely looks like liquid gold because of the sublime color! Love how it’s so packed with tahini, chickpeas, turmeric, and curry powder. Why not add nutritional yeast too for some extra cheesiness and savory punch? Wouldn’t mind that, either!

  41. Jenna Sita says

    So delicious!! Thank you again for another tasty & satisfying recipe.
    This stuff is gold for sure! I’m a sucker for sauces.
    I used a food processor and as you mentioned it was a teeny bit gritty but I didn’t mind one bit.
    I’ve been eating this stuff all night over roasted potatoes and carrots. I’m in heaven ?

  42. Darcy says

    Could you heat this sauce up? I’m thinking it would be like a vegan Queso? Really looking forward to trying it out!!!

  43. PJ says

    This recipe has a few of my fave ingredients so I gave it a whirl! Seemed a bit bland until I added a splash of low sodium Tamari. Wow! It Was awesome. I really like the versatility of this sauce and I’m going to try it with Tofu instrad of Chickpeas next. Yum

  44. Ellie Kennard says

    Tried this recipe today and only modified it with a little extra turmeric and some black pepper. That quantity was fine for 2 of us over sweet potatoes and stir fried veggies for a meal. A suggestion would be that 2 tablespoons for a serving would not be enough. I would say this was enough for 2, maximum 3 as a sauce. Nice flavour, we used the cumin and cayenne.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for the feedback, Ellie! We’ll revisit to see if we can make modifications to the serving size.

  45. Stephanie says

    TBH I made this just because it was so pretty, but it’s also delicious. I drizzled over broccoli to much while cleaning and my 4 yr old devoured it. The 2nd time around I used homeade almond butter instead of tahini (I ran out) and it was still killer. Thank you, my kid thinks its cheese…

  46. Beth Ann says

    Dana! So excited! This is incredible and I think you cracked the Whole Bowl and Yum Bowl code!?
    The only thing is that I found this to make a very small amount, so I added in the entire can of chickpeas with additional amount of spices and liquids. It ended up being about 2 cups.
    I did add a tiny amount of almond milk to mellow a bit.
    Enjoying on a roast veggie bowl tonight. Thank you! ?

  47. nina says

    Hope to try this soon. I have a well-stocked pantry (impulse buyer) and so I have everything.
    Trying to go oil-free and yet have some things I can put on my food. I love goop on my food.

    Are you aware that some of the little videos are about cooking fish ?
    I don’t know if you have any say in what they show.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Nina! As for the ads, thanks for the heads up. Those are generated randomly or based on things searched for on your computer.

  48. Catherine Dogear says

    I just made this sauce and am now dipping oven-fried sweet potatoes into it and trying not to drip onto my keyboard it’s so delicious I’m getting sloppy. Didn’t change anything.

  49. Sandy Lynn Stevens says

    Is this successful without the tahini? Per doctor’s orders I try to be as fat-free in my cooking as possible and when I saw the headline “oil free” I was hopeful. Then I saw the addition of tahini (18g of fat per 2 TB). So, wondering how this is without that addition?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Someone else suggested using another nut butter worked great! Otherwise you can try reducing it by half or omitting (though it does help with consistency and flavor).

  50. Hope says

    I knew I had to make this as soon as I saw this recipe—especially because all the ingredients are things I always have on hand. I drizzled it over a bed of couscous with sautéed broccoli and chickpeas (I know a little redundant on the chickpeas since they’re in the sauce, but I had part of a can left over since the recipe only calls for 1/2 a cup). It did not disappoint! So quick, creamy, and honestly I guess indescribable. I will definitely be making this a lot in the future. I think it would be an awesome dip to bring to a potluck with some cut veggies or chips. Thanks for another winning recipe!

  51. Kira says

    I just made this to add to a broccoli and rice bowl! It was like home comfort of broccoli and cheese casserole I grew up on ✨

  52. Tracy says

    I am very excited to try this. I always have some sauce/dressing in the fridge. Recently, I am loving the tahini ranch from Golubka Kitchen. I will report back!

  53. Nicholas Cox says

    Hello I’ve looking for a dip to go with spicy roasted cauliflower florets this sauce looks delicious do you think it would work
    Regards Nick Cox

  54. Liza says

    This looks and sounds yummy— I can’t do chick peas, what would you recommend instead? Almonds, maybe? Thanks for your time.