Walnut Community

No matter if you ladle, dip, spread or squeeze, sauces are a mainstream ingredient that add endless possibilities to the foods we eat. Sauces are functional, flavorful and add something extra via eye-catching finishes and new combinations.

Plant-based everything is booming, and the plant-based sauce market is no different. FONA International’s 2021 Trend Insight: The Opportunity in Plant-Based reports that the total plant-based market is valued at $5 billion, growing at 29% year over year. Americans are readily adopting this segment of the food market, so much that 300% more people have started following some sort of plant-based diet in the past 15 years. Consumers across the board are enthusiastically choosing products that incorporate nuts, oils, botanicals, veggies, fruits and legumes, just to name a few, and the plant-based sauce category boom is reflected on store shelves in new product developments like we’ve never seen before.

Grand View Research shows that the global vegan sauces, dressings and spreads market size was valued at $194.6 million in 2019. However, it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% through 2027. Further, Packaged Facts predicts that plant-based sauces and spreads will experience double-digit growth into the foreseeable future.

There’s no question that consumers are going to choose plant-based sauces moving forward. Where do walnuts in particular fit into that equation? First, walnuts are an incredibly versatile nut for both savory and sweet sauces. They may be known for adding flavor and texture to baked goods, but they can also be used as a showcase ingredient in plant-based sauces. Additionally, walnuts can be used as a dairy-free thickener. In our 2021 Trend Outlook that focused on plant-based ingredients, we shared that walnuts can add “body and a subtle nutty flavor” in walnut creams.

Plant-based sauce manufacturers have released some exciting new creations recently, showcasing the versatility that walnuts can offer in a variety of sauces.

Organic Meatless Bolognese Sauce, Hudson Green

Re-creating a meat-based bolognese is no easy task, but this sauce replaces meat without sacrificing texture by incorporating walnuts into a vegan, gluten- and dairy-free sauce. Walnuts help Hudson Green’s Meatless Bolognese Sauce mimic the original, and it’s only 70 calories per serving. Plus, the included vegetables — tomatoes, onions, carrots and mushrooms — give it a chunky appeal.

Walnut Mushroom Bolognese Sauce, Komo

Komo’s plant-based Bolognese Sauce is a little bit spicier than Hudson Green’s, mixing in red lentils, basil, oregano, garlic and red chili flakes with walnuts. It’s gluten- and soy-free, and it’s easily ready to eat: Just thaw, heat and serve.

Walnut Sauce, Fratelli Carli

Described as delicate and versatile, this Walnut Sauce is paired deliciously with pasta, main courses and side dishes, as it features hints of Carli olive oil, cheese and garlic. Walnuts are blended into this creamy, not-too-thick version of the original.

Pesto di Noci, Sapore di Sole

This walnut-based sauce is excellent as an accent to sandwiches, toast or wraps. Ingredients include walnuts, sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil. There are 11 grams of protein per 100 grams in this product.

Ready to formulate your next plant-based sauce with walnuts? Visit walnuts.org for products and recipe ideas.

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