3 Healthy Sauces to Jazz Up Your New Year's Cleanse

To celebrate the release of her new cookbook Essential Sides and Sauces, natural foods chef Abby Fammartino shares the go-to condiments she couldn't live without.

By Allison Jones December 30, 2014

Longtime fans of healthy food in Portland will remember Abby's Table as a landmark in health-focused destination dining. Local chef Abby Fammartino's dinner parties were legend among the Northwest dietary savvy until Fammartino closed up shop in the fall of 2013 to focus on private dining, pop-up events, and user-friendly cookbooks to bring her signature flavors to home kitchens.

Fammartino's first book, Essential Sauces + Sides: Naturally gluten, dairy, and soy-free recipes to please every palate, is now available to support your New Year's health goals. 

A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, Fammartino is focused on combining big flavors that avoid the common allergens and emphasize the incredible bounty of seasonal ingredients. "Not everyone lines up at the kitchen table for plain-Jane greens and unseasoned tubers," Fammartino admits. "To make healthful ingredients work to support a vibrant lifestyle, it's important to dress them up just right." Here, she shares three recipes from the book that are staples in her kitchen, and are bound to be a hit in yours:


Abby says: "This sauce wakes up anything you pair with it. Be it vegetables, fish, meat, or grain, you are in for a brightly flavored treat when you make this sauce. It's one of the most versatile and is definitely a crowd pleaser!"

Try it with: Grilled meats, vegetable fritters, salads, grain dishes, sautéed vegetables, and any other things you fancy dipping or drizzling.

Recipe makes 2 cups

  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 2 cups cilantro, chopped (1 large bunch)
  • 2 cups parsley, chopped (1 large bunch)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste, 1/4-1/3 cup water to thin, as needed

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste.

Rosemary Hazelnut Pesto

Abby says: "This is an excellent pesto for winter and more hearty side dishes or main courses. Kale is a fun substitute for the traditional parsley. Come summer, substitute basil or cilantro for the rosemary to keep this pesto seasonal."

Try it with: Quick roasted sweet potatoes or celery root, as a condiment with simple sautéed vegetables or roast chicken, or stir it into vegetable soups for added flavor and depth."

Recipe makes 2 cups

  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 bunch kale, destemmed
  • 2 big springs rosemary (about 1/4 cup destemmed)
  • 1/3 cup chickpea or white miso
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  1. Combine the garlic, hazelnuts, and salt in a food processor, pulsing until evenly ground.
  2. Add in the kale, rosemary, miso, and vinegar or lemon juice and keep the machine running.
  3. Slowly pour in the olive oil to emulsify the ingredients. Adjust flavor and consistency as desired. 

Cashew Sour Cream

Abby says: "This dairy-free, nut-based cream is a common recipe in my kitchen. A high-speed blender makes the sauce very smooth and velvety, so plan to add more water and olive oil if you are working with a typical blender. It will be delicious either way. If you have nut allergies you can use pine nuts since they are actually a seed and not a nut!"

Try it with: Vegetable fritters, roasted, raw, or grilled vegetables, or broiled asparagus. It's also great as a garnish for soup!

Recipe makes 2 cups

  • 2 cups raw cashew pieces (or 1 2/3 cups cashew butter)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water, or more to thin
  1. Cover cashews with room-temperature water and soak at least 4 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse cashews. Place in a high-speed blender with all ingredients. 
  3. Puree until completely smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Thin with more water (or a bit of olive oil) if there is still a gritty texture. 
  4. Add various ingredients for variations: stir in chopped herbs (like chives) or marinated artichokes.
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