Five Spice Peanut Sauce


Guys, I’m participating in VeganMoFo again! VeganMoFo is a month-long challenge to post as much vegan food as possible, kind of like NaNoWriMo. It’s been a few years since I took part, but I decided (to be crazy) and challenge myself this month. It’s the most insane time for me to do this, because I’m in the middle of my design thesis for graduate school (more on that as the month progresses). However, I owe you guys so many blog posts and recipes that I’ve been testing over and over (I need to get over perfectionism)…and I guess I’m all about the crazy! Check out my IG post below to learn more about me and my focus.


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After spending the afternoon recovering from my Portland trip with @plantphilosophy, I’m finally getting around to doing my intro post for this year’s #VeganMofo18, with a pic of ya girl in her natural environment, crushing hard on Vietnamese herbs #whatveganslooklike #VietAF 💃🏻@veganmofo is a month-long challenge to post as much vegan food as you can. With grad school and my thesis, this is going to be a challenge but I’m up for it! 📷: @2hawaiian • • A bit about my vegan journey—my parents raised me vegetarian and I went vegan about 11 years ago! I’m in it for the animals, the environment, and it’s a huge part of my spiritual practice. 🙏🏼🐥🌏 My passion for this lifestyle was the reason why I started this blog and taught myself food photography, as a way to channel my creativity into sharing the beauty of the vegan lifestyle with recipes, as well as vegan travel posts. My recipes are usually inspired by my Vietnamese family background, my travels, outdoor adventures, and, let’s be honest: whatever’s convenient and in the fridge/produce that’s on sale 😂🙌🏼 #gradschoollife 📚 • • Design is my life—my passion for the planet is what led me to pursue landscape architecture in grad school, which is my other great passion in life! In addition to vegan food, I also love sharing outdoor experiences that I find inspiring and uplifting. I hope you love food and the outdoors, because that’s what my feed is all about! 🌿 • • Throughout the month, I’ll be posting a mixture of the vegan mofo themes and prompts given, with flexibility for lots of back-to-school posts. 👩🏻‍🏫 #dfwvegan

A post shared by Ann Mai 🌼 (@plantcrush) on

The theme for the first week of VeganMoFo is INSPIRATION. Due to my grad school schedule, I won’t be sticking to the themes and prompts strictly, but as mentioned on IG, I’ll be posting a mixture of the VeganMoFo themes, with flexibility for lots of travel and back-to-school content. I’ll be doing a lot of micro-blogging on Instagram, with as undertaking as many long-form recipe posts on the blog as I can, so be sure to check both for all my VeganMoFo posts!

Here’s to my first recipe post for #VeganMoFo18: a spicy, aromatic peanut sauce inspired by my family! We love peanut sauce, and we also looove Chinese five spice. The five spice adds a nice aroma of mystery (or nostalgia, if you’re in my family) to a beloved classic.


This sauce is my go-to for spring rolls and soba noodle salads (above)! It’s also my favorite sauce to use when I want to eat a bunch of greens (below). My favorite way to devour greens: chiffonade of greens  + delicious dressing. Cutting greens into thin ribbons makes the texture more palatable and perfect for soaking up more flavor.

I usually double the following recipe because my family and I like to eat a lot of peanut sauce! But if you just need some peanut sauce for one night of spring rolls (for 3-4 people), this amount should take care of your needs perfectly.


Five Spice Peanut Sauce
makes 1 cup

Time: 5-10 minutes


  • 1/3 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice, heaping (can be found at Asian markets)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium tamari (or soy sauce or liquid aminos)
  • 1/3 cup hot water (adjust to your desired consistency, see notes below)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or coconut sugar or sweetener of your choice, adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (2 small limes)
  • 2 t chili garlic (optional–if you like it spicy)


  1. This step is optional: sauté the garlic with the tamari before blending. If I have time, I like to do this to get the peak aroma of garlic in the sauce. But it’s also just as good without this step, just a different complexity of flavor.
  2. Blend everything thoroughly in a high speed blender.
    Adjust to your taste, adding sweetener or soy sauce, etc. to your liking. I typically end up adding more lime juice and chili garlic sauce!
  3. Enjoy! Great for spring rolls, an appetizing dip for veggies or pan-fried tofu, or can be used as a sauce for noodles and fresh veggies, or a super green salad! This keeps for a week in the fridge.

Notes: Feel free to substitute almond butter if that’s your thing. I’ve made this sauce with almond butter and it’s great! This sauce is super versatile, so get creative and put your own twist on things. 🙂 Someone asked me on IG if sunflower seeds could be an option; I’ll need to test it out and report back! 

This will thicken the next day, just add some water and mix to thin it out to your desired consistency. 

As for the water to nut butter ratio, I loosely follow the following guidelines:
1:1 for thicker sauce (best for spring rolls)

2:1 for thinner sauce (best for noodles/salads)


10 thoughts on “Five Spice Peanut Sauce

  1. juliemokrzycki says:

    Happy Vegan MoFo; I’m glad to have discovered your blog! I love peanut sauces but haven’t tried five spice yet, so I’ll definitely have to give your recipe a try!

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