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This recipe is very loosely based on something I ran across in a PureWow email newsletter: creamy gochujiang sauce. I didn’t have time to click on the link when I saw it, so of course my brain turned it over all afternoon – wondering what that could possibly taste like, and what one would use for cream in a non-dairy way.

The original recipe looks fantastic – and if I’d gotten around to making this recipe in a week DH was home and I hauled myself to the grocery (instead of playing my favorite game: home Chopped), I would have loved to have added zoodles and maybe even coconut milk in place of the dairy.

As it stands, I used what I had on hand – and it was still fabulous. I can think of a ton of ways to use this sauce – in a poke bowl, with spare ribs and broccoli, slicked over mango and scallion, or fried up like bibimbap.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo if you choose a non-soy variety

Gochujiang Tahini Bowl

Sauce

2 Tbsp. ajvar (or other red pepper) paste
1/4 c. tahini
2 Tbsp. gochujiang (check your labels for gluten free or paleo)
2 tsp. ginger/garlic paste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2 c. water

Bowl

Sugar snap peas
Broccoli
4 ounces protein (tofu or tempeh if vegan; rotisserie chicken if not)

Toppers

2 tsp. sesame seeds
1-2 scallions, sliced

Blend the sauce ingredients together, starting with 1/4 cup water. If needed, add an additional 1/2 cup – I wanted my sauce velvety but able to ribbon from my spoon, so I went for the full 1/2 cup. Taste – my ajvar was a bit spicy and my particular gochujiang was whatever the manufacturer deems as level 3. On first taste (after 1/4 cup water), the sauce was a touch spicy – diluting with more water took some of that spice out – so keep that in mind when choosing your thickness level.

Drizzle over your chosen bowl ingredients – I used a combination of quick stir-fried sugar snap peas and broccoli – and top with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions.

Makes enough sauce for 4 bowls