Asian Peanut Free Dipping Sauce
Enjoy your fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with an Asian inspired peanut free dipping sauce by using sunflower seed butter, soy butter, or other similar allergy safe substitute. This is a simple recipe but with a lot of life with allergies related lessons that will help us to be empathetic and caring for others.
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Sometimes Allergy Aware Substitutions Brings Up Feelings
Sometimes I would go out for lunch with my mom or friends and order Vietnamese spring rolls and the order would come with a little dish of peanut dipping sauce, which might be made of peanut butter, hoisin sauce, and topped with chopped peanuts. I would still enjoy my fresh spring rolls without dip and wish that the restaurant would consider making a peanut free dipping sauce instead.
When I began testing out this peanut free dipping sauce recipe a few years ago, one of my children had been eating sunflower seed butter regularly so the concept of an alternative spread was already in our lives. However when my children saw that I was enjoying the peanut free dip and encouraging them to try, one of my sons asked me if I missed peanut butter.
He asked such a sweet, innocent, and thoughtful question but I felt pangs of guilt. What do I say? A) I do not miss peanut butter which doesn’t make sense because I’m obviously enjoying a peanut-free version of something delicious. B) I do miss peanut butter, which isn’t true because I love my child to infinity and would gladly give up anything and everything to keep him safe, alive, and healthy. I can’t remember exactly what I said but probably something along the lines of trying to find another way to eat sunflower seed butter.
Select an Allergy Safe Alternative Butter
- Make sure the alternative butter is not an allergen!
The peanut free dipping sauce will need a peanut free and allergy safe spread. Fortunately there are many peanut butter alternative spreads made from sunflower seeds, peas, roasted soy nuts, and tree nuts which are only appropriate if one is not also allergic to sunflower seeds, peas, soy, or tree nuts respectively.
- Be sure to pick a trusted brand!
Ask other friends with food allergies for their recommendations of what tastes good and what they recommend. You can also look for an allergen statement or mission statement on the product websites to find out why are they making a peanut free spread.
I use Sunbutter for my recipe, I also use Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter, which is creamier and needs less water to become a creamy dip.
My favorite soy butter spreads is made by Don’t Go Nuts (affiliate link). They make a soy butter spread and yum snack bars because one of their children has a severe peanut allergy. We know that if they have a personal connection to food allergies, then they will do everything they can to make a safe product free of cross-contact.
One of the first companies that reached out to me is Sneaky Chef, which makes a spread from peas because one of their family members has food allergies too.
If almonds are safe and not an allergen, I like Barney Butter (affiliate link) as their products are delicious and made in a facility with almonds and coconut only. My son who is not allergic to almonds doesn’t like spreads and my other son who likes spreads is allergic to almonds, so it’s not an option for our home, but I mention it as it might work for those who are allergic to peanuts only but please do your own due diligence.
- Be aware of recalls regarding nuts and spreads.
I’ve also noticed that there are often recalls of nuts and spreads due to contamination of biological pathogens which can lead to severe health consequences that can affect anyone. One soy nut butter manufacturer had to recall their products and then a few weeks later the FDA shut down the manufacturing facility. I highly recommend that you subscribe to the FDA’s recall notifications by email.
- Be aware!
One last safety consideration is that if you make this dip for someone with a food allergy, that you do not make a peanut butter version at the same time as it is too easy for cross-contact to occur to and lead to accidental ingestion of an allergen and unintended consequences.
If someone with a food allergy is young or inexperienced, be sure to educate them that you are making an allergy safe version for them but that this dip is typically made with peanut butter and not to assume that it’s allergy safe. If that seems unpalatable or too close for comfort, then I suggest that you make a different Vietnamese dipping sauce made with fish sauce (it’s the amber colored sauce with a carrot garnish in the photo, yum!).
How to make a Vietnamese peanut-free dipping sauce
A Vietnamese peanut-free dipping sauce could be made in one of two ways. A more traditional way would sauté the garlic in oil and then cook the sauce so that it blends together easily. Some recipes might use hoisin sauce which might be troublesome to adapt if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in hoisin sauce. This alternative no-cook peanut butter inspired dipping sauce recipe is easy to make.
If you decide to use Sneaky Chef’s pea butter, do not try cooking it on the stove top, heating the dip, or using hot water. The spread contains cornstarch which will excessively thicken the sauce with heat. Just use room temperature water and still a little longer.
This dipping sauce recipe is free of the top 8 allergens as written (except coconut) and is easily adaptable.
This recipe is adequate for a family of 4, double the recipe if you are feeding more people or would like some extra dipping sauce for other purposes. I love to eat cut veggies with the dipping sauce as a snack.
- ¼ cup sunflower seed butter (or other allergy safe nut butter)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or use 2 teaspoons soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (optional, adjust to taste)
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 3-4 tablespoons hot water
- Combine all the ingredients except the hot water until smooth.
- Add the hot water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir until it reaches a desired consistency (3 tablespoons if eating right away, 4 tablespoons if refrigerating overnight).
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