• Yield: Makes 1 3/4 cups

Instead of ketchup. Better than barbecue sauce. To give a boost to marinara. For dipping French fries or tots. To dress up a fried egg sandwich. As a glaze for tofu or grilled portobello mushrooms. To dunk tortilla chips. To make the BEST tempeh sloppy joes. As you can see, this umami-loaded Bomb Sauce goes with everything. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, be sure to read the label on your Worcestershire sauce to make sure it doesn’t contain anchovies.


  • 7 dried shiitake mushrooms (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 small red bell pepper

  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/3 cup)

  • 1/2 cup tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons miso paste

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil

Umami Bomb by Raquel Pelzel


1. Heat 1 cup of water in the microwave in 30-second increments (or in a small saucepan over low heat) until it is very steamy and hot, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the dried mushrooms, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 15 minutes to soak.

2. Adjust an oven rack to the top position and heat the broiler to high.

3. Place the garlic cloves and the bell pepper on a rimmed sheet pan and broil, turning every few minutes, until the garlic is browned and the pepper is charred on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes for the garlic and 12 to 14 minutes for the bell pepper (watch the garlic and pepper closely, as broiler intensities vary). Place the garlic cloves in a blender and the bell pepper in a bowl to cool for 15 minutes. Once it’s cool, place the pepper in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl (to catch any juices) and peel away the charred skin. Add the skin to the blender. Open the pepper, remove and discard the seeds, and add the flesh to the blender along with the reserved juices.

4. Remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid (save the liquid) and add them to the blender along with the orange juice, tomato paste, soy sauce, miso, Worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, garlic powder, paprika, ground ginger, and cayenne pepper. Blend until the mixture is the consistency of a thick barbecue sauce.

5. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sauce and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the flavors come together, 2 to 5 minutes (if the sauce seems too thick, add a few tablespoons of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid). Turn off the heat and let cool. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in a ziplock bag in the freezer indefinitely.

Excerpted from Umami Bomb: 75 Vegetarian Recipes That Explode With Flavor by Raquel Pelzel (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Kate Sears.

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