Café Yumm sauce, oil-free

Even though I went to undergrad school in the Pacific Northwest and have friends and in-laws who live there, somehow I haven’t actually been in a Café Yumm restaurant! Hence every time my my mother-in-law’s pulls out a bottle of this magical sauce with amazing flavor that I’ve grown to love, she’s always surprised when I say I still haven’t been there.

The only minor issue I have with their original house sauce is that it’s quite oily for my personal taste. After some searching around online and a bit of taste testing, I finally came up with an oil-free version I’m happy with.

The photos are unglamorous but don’t let that put you off — you can have this sauce on salad, as a dip for vegetables, or I’ve even used this as a sandwich spread. SO. GOOD. And addicting!

Café Yumm Sauce, oil-free

Makes 2.5 cups (easily fits in a quart jar), adapted from MalySheff’s recipe on Genius Kitchen


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • Roughly 1/3 cup tofu (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • Juice from one lemon or 1-2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1.5 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum, optional


Blend water, beans, almonds and tofu until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again till creamy and smooth.

Adjust seasonings as needed and/or add splashes of water to change consistency.

Recipe Notes:

  • For the tofu, I’ve only used water-packed tofu (though I’m sure you can use vacuum-packed). Ours is usually a 14 ounce container so I use roughly one-third of the tofu (about 5 ounces).
  • Once…I was too lazy to break out the tofu and replaced it with the rest of the can of garbanzos…and no one noticed the difference…shhhh.
  • Lemon juice: you must taste test this and go in small increments! There are few things as disappointing in a kitchen as adding too much acid to a dish. (Okay, I’m possibly exaggerating…) Fresh lemon juice always tastes better, but bottled works in a pinch though tends to be stronger. If using the latter, start with one tablespoon and work your way up in 1/4 tablespoon increments till you’re happy.
  • Regarding the spices, some people like more curry powder, some people like other herbs. Do whatever you heart desires — make this recipe yours!
  • Even though I’ve marked the xanthan/guar gum as optional, it’s super handy (vegan) kitchen item to have on hand — it really prevents oil-free dressings from separating or becoming runny and thickens them like magic! A little goes a long way — I’ll bet even as little as 1/4 teaspoon will work just fine.

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