Sunshine Sauce

I needed a rest day, so lucky you… you get a new recipe!

In the Paleo world, peanuts are a big no-no. (Because they’re legumes, not nuts, and blah blah blah. Get the full explanation here.)

It didn’t seem like a big deal to me to give up peanuts until I remembered the decadent deliciousness that is peanut sauce. Veggies dipped in peanut sauce. Grilled chicken satay dipped in peanut sauce. Shredded beef wrapped in a butter lettuce leaf with diced red onion and drizzled with… peanut sauce.

You get the idea.

Then Sunbutter entered my life. Creamy. Nutty. Made from beautiful, healthy-fat-filled seeds.

And I got creative.

You’re welcome.

Sunflower Seed Butter Sauce |

Sunshine Sauce

Makes 2/3 cup | Prep 10 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or homemade substitute (not Whole30 compliant when made with substitute)

  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (I like Sunbutter; Buy the organic variety with no sugar added)

  • dash ground cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk (only added ingredients should be water and guar gum)


Place all the ingredients except the coconut milk in the bowl of a food processor and whirl until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber scraper, then add the coconut milk. Process until it’s blended and smooth. Store covered in the fridge. (You could also put all the ingredients in a Ball jar and use a stick blender.


Eat with abandon and joyousness.

You could use it to make some Pad Thai.

Pad Thai with Sunflower Seed Butter Sauce |

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  • girlblake says:

    I just made a version of this with almond butter instead of sunbutter and soy milk instead of coconut milk and it was delicious! I put it on sauteed kale, butternut squash, onions and garlic. Healthy, tasty, filling. Thanks for the delicious tip, m'lady!

    • Gwen Frazier says:

      This dressing/sauce is so good! I did not have any limes so I used lemon and it was really tasty! I used it as a dressing on a salad for lunch with sliced smoked chicken breast, spring onions and tomatoes. I plan to make it agin and again!

      • Mel says:

        Right on! I think orange juice would probably work really well, too.

        • Kat M B says:

          Sadly, this is something I can’t make. I’m on the low-histamine version of the diet and I find nothing I like and ALL the foods I like are no-no. I’m VERY frustrated right now.

          • I’m SO sorry to hear that. I was just looking at this low-histamine shopping list – – and it looks like you can eat lots of good veggies and protein. My advice to make it a little easier is to forget about recipes for a little while and just focus on delicious, roasted meats — throw a pork shoulder in the crockpot, roast a chicken — both of those do great with just salt and pepper. Then make veggies you like and load ’em up with ghee. It’s not super sexy, but it’s got to be less frustrating than trying to make recipes work right now. Best wishes to you!

    • Cathy Hamilton says:

      This sounds good, but I thought we were supposed to stay away from soy in everything?

      • I don’t know what soy you’re referring to. There’s no soy in this recipe as it’s written so it’s paleo and Whole30 approved.

      • AKM says:

        (I think Cathy was looking at the OP’s inclusion of soy milk rather than coconut milk. You DEFINITELY want coconut milk, both because it’s, well, not soy and because it’s DELICIOUS.)

        Day Four of my first official Whole30 — although when I first went paleo in fall 2012, I was eating pretty darn close to it in terms of strictness — and your recipes are saving my bacon here, Mel. Despite the “Whole30 Flu”/”Day 2/3 Hangover” and today’s Day Four K.A.T.T (which hasn’t happened to me; I’m super-calm, so we’ll see), it’s been so easy for me to stay excited all because I’m Well-Fed. Merci mille.

    • Julie says:

      Just giving a shot out! This sun shine sauce paleo pad thai has satiated my obsession with pad thai for the last three years! It’s delicious. I’ve been clean eating for 3 years now and I very often get a hankering for thai food that won’t hurt my tummy. This. Is. It!
      This time around I’ve used cabbage for the noodles. how cool!

  • Barbara says:

    *drool*…I need to take cooking notes from you as I'm cooking inept!

    OK..tomorrow 1st day, 5:30am Zachs class. Wish me luck!

  • Melicious says:

    Have a great time, Barbara! You're a warrior. Believe it.

  • LizScott says:

    Hi there! Stumbled here from Kristin's Tasty Paleo site – this looks awesome, can't wait!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hi, LizScott! Hope you like it. Be sure to come back and post after you make it and lemme know what you think… especially if you come up with some fun modifications!

  • Brandy says:

    Im all excited and copying down a bunch of your recipes! Thank you so much for sharing your cooking creativity!!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Brandy! I'm so glad you're finding recipes you like. The Sunshine Sauce is really good. Enjoy!

  • Melanie says:

    So.. I had an idea earlier today and I just made it – guess what makes an amazing combo?! Organic baby spinach, tuna, a few crumbled sesame nori chips (your recipe), tossed with sunshine sauce! Stuffing my face with that now.. so good I can barely type! ~*~*~*~

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Melanie –> That sounds like such a tasty salad! I'm TOTALLY stealing that idea!

  • Melanie says:

    Yessss! Let me know if you like it!! :))

  • Emily says:

    Looks amazing and a perfect replacement for my beloved but cast-away peanut sauce. I’m a bit foggy on the chili-garlic paste: did you make it yourself and if so what was the ratio (i’m assuming chili flakes and garlic were used)? THANKS

  • Matt says:

    So sunflower seeds aren’t peanuts, but are they paleo? Omega-6s are high, what about all that anti-nutrient mumbo-jumbo? I hadn’t given up PB on paleo yet, but bought a jar of Sunbutter to try and it’s mighty tasty. Probably been a month or two since I had eaten peanuts in any form anyway.

    Love the blog in general, post more! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Yes, the omega-6 in sunflower seeds makes them less favorable as a PRIMARY fat source on a regular basis, but seeds and nuts as occasional condiments to add flavor are a good choice, I think. In MODERATION. And, of course, everyone has to decide for themselves what feels best.

      • Katie says:

        I bought a jar of Sunbutter (the same kind you link to) this weekend but noticed in the ingredients there is sugar. Isn’t that not Whole 30 approved? I notice that your post is from 2011 and it’s now 2017, though. Maybe they changed the formula?

  • Judi says:

    Pad Thai is my favorite thing ever (mild exaggeration) and was disappointed I’d never be able to have it again after switching to Paleo (which I love)…..until I saw you had a recipe, and before I looked at it I felt dejected because I assumed there was no way to replicate the peanut sauce, and then lo and behold in walks your Sunshine Sauce. I’ve already located where around me I can get all the ingredients. I am super stoked!! On the menu for next week 🙂 Thanks for all you do chica you are seriously AWESOME!!

    • Mel says:

      Judi, I’m so glad you found the recipe! If you have trouble finding Sunbutter, I’ve heard from other readers that almond butter tastes good, too. Be sure to let me know how you like it — and thank you for your sweet compliment. Happy eating!

  • brianna says:

    “nothing tastes as good as health feels”….except sunshine sauce. Not the biggest fan of sunbutter to begin with, but holy frankenweenie this stuff is good!

    • Mel says:

      I used to have a… uh, problem with Sunbutter because I was eating the kind with the sugar in it. HOLY SH*T, that stuff is good. I have no such problem with the organic, sugar-free, which is great because I don’t need to banish it from the kitchen. I really like using sunbutter in savory dishes as a stand-in for peanuts… much more peanutty than almond butter. I’m working on some African stuff for when the weather turns cool again.

      • brianna says:

        That sounds fantastic! The Sunbutter I bought is someone’s house brand, so though it is organic, it still has a tiny bit of sugar in it…not exactly just cause for me to chuck it. Almond butter is an…incomplete substitute for peanut butter, but if you’re looking for teeny little packets of sinful paleo heaven…dip a prune in almond butter. Sweet baby jesus.

  • Katie says:

    I bought the chili-garlic paste you recommended, but it seems that it has xanthan gum in it now. Any other recommendations on brands?

  • Renee says:

    I just had a steaming hot plate of yumminess and I feel so completely sated and happy thanks to you. I mixed up some sunshine sauce and tossed it in a saute with leftover coconut-pecan crusted chicken breasts, leftover broccolini, thinly sliced onion, shredded cabbage, and arugula. I’ve never eaten this way before “Well Fed.” It took such a few minutes to prepare and was literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

  • April says:

    I was so enamored by the look of the beautiful sauce that I didn’t even notice the leopard print! I’m going to make this tomorrow for dinner. I miss Pad Thai and here you are with a replacement. Your cookbook will be on my counter soon soon soon (as in ordering as soon as I get paid tomorrow!)

    • Mel says:

      If you flip through Well Fed, you will notice a definite lack of leopard print. I was overruled every time! 🙂

      The pad thai is the bomb. Hope you enjoy it! And I love that you’re going to treat yourself with Well Fed. Happy cooking!

  • Amanda says:

    Whole foods didn’t have the garlic-chili paste…any way to sub something instead??

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Melissa-
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe- how long will this last in the fridge?

  • Sunshinelover says:

    You are quite right to already say “you’re welcome” for this glorious sauce. I had to laugh at someone who wanted to know how long it would keep. Keep? I have gotten up mid meal to make more because I ran out. All things (from chicken to green beans) taste better with this sauce. I do have one suggestion, a name change. In my house, we call it “OmNomNom Sauce”. You rock. 🙂

  • We started whole30 a week and a half ago and this meal made me totally forget we are doing Paleo! Thank you!!

  • elaine! says:

    I’ve been making this constantly ever since I got your cookbook. Z.O.M.G.!!! It really is good on EVERYTHING! Thanks for making meat and veggies yummy again.

  • sha says:

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and your recipes look delish! But for some reason I never tried any….says a lot about staying within your comfort zone. But OMFG! I just made this sauce n practically drank the whole thing by itself! Wow! I’m in love with some sunshine….now if only I could give me a dose of Vit D too! I have the pork carnitas bubbling away as we speak! I can’t wait! Yumm-O!

  • Kelly says:

    So somehow I have missed out on your blog until this week. Clearly I have some serious catching up to do…I took some creative liberty with your Pad Thai recipe due to available veggies using broccoli and onions and subbed almond butter due to a sunbutter intolerance on the sunshine sauce. I didn’t have a squash but I did have cauliflower so I made coconut rice and served the Pad Thai over the rice. Holy mother of deliciousness- what an incredible meal. The sunshine sauce will definitely become a regular sauce in my rotation. Can’t wait to try more of your creations:)

    • Mel says:

      I’m so glad you found me — welcome! I love that you adapted the recipes to make them work for you… perfect! And yes, this sauce is really good with both almond and cashew butter. Hard to go wrong with smushed up nuts and garlic, right?!

  • Michelle says:

    OMIGOD! I knew this was going to be good, but I was surprised at just how good. Thanks! This made my day!

  • Chilloften says:

    I’ve been trying out your free recipes, Secret Chicken, Tandori Chicken, Egg Fu Yung, Mel’s Fav Chili and now this Sunshine Sauce. All I can say is YUM! I have never used so many spices and my grown kids are asking why I didn’t cook like this when they were here…ha! Thanks for sharing. I have got to find your book! I do wish it had nutritional info though. Can’t wait to see what I find in the book to cook up.

  • Jessica says:

    I made this tonight and it was GREAT! I left out the cayenne and it still had a bit of a kick but not so much that my 2 year old couldn’t eat it (he loved it with his grilled chicken and raw pepper strips). I found that using an immersion blender worked much better than a food processor since the quantity of sauce that this recipe makes isn’t that large. This is definitely going in the rotation. Question, though — how long does it keep? I’m trying to make all my sauces, etc. for the week on Sunday and use as needed… Thanks!

  • Laura Maxwell says:

    Can I just tell you that this sauce is a literal lifesaver in our house? I am forever struggling to eat right and love spicy, sweet, savory & salty. This sauce is my go to when I need some flavor to keep from reaching for something much worse.

    And then there is my daughter. She has severe tree nut and peanut allergies, something we discovered when she had some chicken satay and dunked it in peanut sauce at a friend’s house. She loved the taste of that peanut sauce just not her reaction to it. When I whipped up the first batch of sunshine sauce and served it to her with grilled chicken skewers she was thrilled. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Oh! YAY! I’m so glad to know this recipe is working for you and your daughter. Thanks for sharing! Sunbutter is pretty amazing stuff.

  • Jen says:

    The Marantha sunflower butter is sugar-free also. And I can’t wait to try this! I might make it with soy sauce, but will probably wait until I can pick up some more coconut aminos on Thursday.

  • Tammy says:

    Totally. Addicted. Yeah, my last batch only lasted, oh, about 36 hours…

  • Nicole says:

    Amazing! I used almond butter (because 3 stores had sugar laden sun butter!) and a pinch of fresh ginger instead of dried. This was also the first time I used coconut amines. I am in heaven!!! Can’t wait to try it on my pad Thai tonight. Thanks for the recipe, I will share it with my Paleo friends 🙂

  • Tianna says:

    I will be honest….I made it a while ago with tamari, because I didn’t have coconut aminos and I really didn’t like it. Far too salty and soy sauce-y. BUT. I got a bottle of coconut aminos recently and found it far milder in flavor. I decided to try again, and make pad Thai, and all I can say is the rest of the ingredients are lucky they saw the sauce. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I actually licked out the food processor.

    • Mel says:

      So glad you tried it again! And yes, coconut aminos aren’t always a 1:1 swap, esp. with tamari. But YAY for licking the food processor!

  • Cavequeen says:

    Now, a kitchen staple! I don’t even miss my precious peanut butter anymore. I use it on everything meats, salads, dips. Oops, that might be a bad thing. I also don’t share. Lol

  • Teresa says:

    This is so delicious!

  • Heather says:

    This was so delicious! I added a bit of red curry paste and made it in a sauce pan over low heat instead of a food processor. My daughter could not stop licking the spoon while helping! Thanks for a new staple!

  • Jen says:

    Mmmmmmmm, this is so yummy! It tastes marvelous and it is indeed like sunshine in your mouth. I followed the recipe exactly. How do you come up with these things? And thanks for your wonderful blog!

  • SJ says:

    I cooked a 3ish lb chuck roast in the crockpot the other night, so I’ll be eating beef for the next few days. I just had some (cold) with julienned zucchini and carrots, Sunshine Sauce, and cilantro. Delicious! And it’s still summer here, so anything I can make without using heat is extra awesome.

  • Nancy says:

    Just made this and used in a chicken stir fry. Oh my goodness will be making again! Had to portion it out as was greedy to keep some for crackers. thank you!

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  • Jess says:

    Can’t wait to try making this tonight! Can I use coconut vinegar instead of rice vinegar? Or is it too strong?

  • Michelle says:

    Oh dear God in Heaven…this stuff is the bomb. Seriously. I made your 5 spice pork (used pork roast instead of ribs) last night. Took some of the leftover meat at lunch, put it in a lettuce leaf, poured sunshine sauce on top. I also used it as a dip for bell pepper slices. Brought all of this to work for co-workers today and we all agree….awesomely, amazing, creamy goodness! THANK YOU for sharing your adventures in the kitchen!!

  • I’m surprised you don’t advocate for making your own sunbutter. It is dead easy. I regularly make sunbutter, almond butter and walnut butter with my food processor.

    Love your cookbook!

  • Kirsten says:

    Melissa, for real, this is the BEST condiment EVER. I just made it to top my kalua pig and an Asian slaw I copied from a local resturant. I used almond butter because I am not a big fan of sunflower seeds, and added a little extra rice vinegar because I like things tangy. I could eat this on anything. I’m going to make a huge jar of it to keep in the fridge for salads. When Paleo is as tasty as this, who could possibly miss grains?

  • Chrissie says:

    Hi! Just started the paleo diet along with crossfit. How important are the coconut aminos to this recipe? Thanks a bunch!

    • Mel says:

      Think of it as soy sauce — it adds saltiness and zing. Without the aminos, it will be OK, but kind of flat. If you can’t get your hands on coconut aminos, you can use fish sauce instead (as long as it has no garbage ingredients) or a mashed up anchovy (or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste).

  • Shelly says:

    I am excited to try this with chicken satay! Any suggestions on how to make the chicken? Love all your recipes that I have tried so far!

  • Susannah says:

    I totally dig the leopard print. 😉

    • Mel says:

      FINALLY! Someone else who appreciates the leopard print! I think the Leopard Print Ban on cookbook photos is totally unfair. Right?!

  • Mystilda75 says:

    I’ve been following Paleo for a week and a half now. I have the kindle version of your book..sunshine sauce…yum. I love goma ae..I can still have it…as for your other ideas etc in your book..I have an egg and lemon juice sitting in my blender! Thanks for your inspiration!

  • Linda says:

    Is there a substitute that can be used for the sunbutter? I’m allergic to sunflower seeds.

  • Jane says:

    Mel – I’m relatively new to the Paleo world. Fortunately, your web site is one that I happened on early. I tried the Sunshine Sauce last night and figured if I didn’t put the lid on, I’d eat it right out of the jar! I actually used it as a salad dressing AND a dipping sauce for our burgers. Now I can hardly wait for my copy of “Well Fed” to come so that I can start cooking out of that.


  • Jennifer says:

    holy shit balls, this sauce is awesome! I made it with the pad thai and it is seriously one of my most favorite meals I have ever made. ever ever!!! thank you so much! I’m new to Paleo, and so far I can’t believe how delicious everything tastes. I’m the girl who used to eat bland boring flavorless FAT FREE food. No MORE!!! Your recipes are awesome, and I’m in LOVE with your cookbook. Picked it up at SW Austin Costco the other day and cannot put it down! Thank you!!!

    • Mel says:

      Right on! I’m so excited you got Well Fed at Costco — they just started selling it, and I’m SUPER excited that people will find it there. YAY!

      Congrats on making the switch… goodbye, plain grilled chicken and steamed broccoli… and good riddance!

      So glad you like the Sunshine Sauce and Pad Thai. You are awesome to take the time to let me know… really appreciate it. Happy cooking and eating to you!

  • Rita says:

    Any substitute for the rice vinegar? I have ingredients on hand except the vinegar. Wanted to make today but too lazy to run out for rice vinegar:)

    • Mel says:

      You can substitute any mild vinegar — cider would work — or just leave it out and add an additional squeeze of lime juice. You just want the acid to add zing to the sauce.

  • Jen says:

    I made Sunshine Sauce for the first time tonight. Since I didn’t have Sunbutter, I subbed in homemade (raw) cashew butter. OH MY VARIOUS GODS. Just mindblowingly wonderful. I can only imagine how gorgeous this is with Sunbutter.

    Incidentally, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. I’m halfway through my first Whole30, and I think it’s safe to say that Well Fed is carrying me through it. Your recipes are epic. So are you.

    • Mel says:

      I bet it was awesome with cashew butter. Right on! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing! And thank you for the sweet compliment. I’m going to brag about being “epic” all day long!

  • Sonya says:

    Amazeballs!! I finally made this and am kicking myself for waiting so long! I had to put it up before I ate the whole batch!

    Love your blog and Well Fed!! Thanks for all you do!

  • Steph says:

    Oddly enough, I think I like the leopard print background on this one. Going to try this with almond butter – never cared for peanuts and find sunbutter to resemble that taste too closely.

  • Alyssa says:

    Will this recipe work in a blender? I don’t have a food processor (yet!) so wondering if I can ‘whip’ some up that way instead?

  • SugaarBaybee says:


    I just had to say that your recipes are giving me wings (aka life)!!!! I was getting so bored w/my regular/basic Paleo eats but your yummy recipes have added the “umph” and flavor back to my taste buds! I give you kudos beyond kudos!

    P.S. I never even had peanut sauce that many times (2 or 3) but your Sunshine Sauce is saucy gold!

    THANK YOU BUNCHES!!!! {{{huggles}}}

  • SugarBaybee says:

    I just had to say that your recipes are giving me wings (aka life)!!!! I was getting so bored w/my regular/basic Paleo eats but your yummy recipes have added the “umph” and flavor back to my taste buds! I give you kudos beyond kudos!
    P.S. I never even had peanut sauce that many times (2 or 3) but your Sunshine Sauce is saucy gold!
    THANK YOU BUNCHES!!!! {{{huggles}}}

  • Adriana says:

    Oh my God, this was so delicious I had to lick the food processor jar !! Cake batter effect !! Peanut dressing has nothing on it! Thank you sooo much for sharing !

  • Judith says:

    Although I have made the Sunshine sauce with sunflower butter and like it, I tried it with almond butter and really like that too. I am more sensitive to “hot” spices, so don’t usually put in much if any red pepper flakes. I think the pepper flakes go really will with the sun butter version, and I like the almond version better without it. I love your book Well Fed and am so looking forward to your next one. Thanks to you I have tried many new spices and enjoyed them all. Oh, by the way LOVE your new hair!

    • Mel says:

      Glad you’re having fun playing around with the recipe — right on! It’s pretty good with cashew butter, too.

      Thanks for the sweet words about Well Fed — and for the enthusiasm for Well Fed 2. I’m excited for everyone to start making the new recipes!

  • Carlynne McDonnell says:

    Pad Thai to die for! I made it with shrimp. Awesome. I was wondering can sunshine sauce be frozen?

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm… I’m not sure. My gut reaction is that it wouldn’t defrost well, but why don’t you make a 1/2 batch and try freezing it to see? Be sure to defrost it in the fridge.

  • Carlynne McDonnell says:

    I think I will not be lazy and just make it fresh – its really easy and delicious. Your cook book is a real life saver. It turned my first Whole30 from hard hard to hard delicious. Thanks!

  • Ellen says:

    Wow! We made this sauce last night for the first time and served it with our paleo version of Pad Thai. My goodness!!!! It was so delicious, thank you for creating such wonderful recipes that everyone can enjoy. I cannot thank you enough!

  • Teresa says:

    Is it wrong to just eat this with a spoon?

  • Jane says:

    Not at all! I’ve been known to do it.

  • Lindsey says:

    Can you make a bunch of your seasoning sauces ahead of time and freeze portions?

    • Mel says:

      Sauces on their own don’t generally freeze well. They get ice crystals that make the sauce watery when they defrost. You’re much better off making them fresh. Sorry!

  • Alice says:

    Firstly: Yum. This is amazing. And I second what another commenter said about licking the food processor. It’s that good.

    Secondly: Any recommendations on how to re-heat this deliciousness the next day? I really like its consistency when it’s all warm and drizzly from the food processor, but when I tried to nuke it (just a few seconds at a time, with lots of stirring) the next day, it got clumpy. I also tried adding more coconut milk, but that just diluted the flavor ratios…any suggestions?

  • jenni says:

    I am allergic to coconut. Is there an substitution to the coconut aminos and coconut milk?

    • Mel says:

      You can use fish sauce (make sure there are no junky ingredients) instead of coconut aminos, but you might want to cut it back to 1/2 tablespoon… or if you don’t care about being paleo, you can use gluten-free soy sauce, but fish sauce is a better healthy choice.

      For the coconut milk, replace it with water. Start with 2 tablespoons, then add more to get to the consistency you want. The sauce will be less creamy than the original, but it will still taste good.

  • Danielle says:

    You my dear are a genius. I made a recipe of the comfort noodles, added some of the Sunshine Sauce, some chicken and sliced small onions. Absolutely unequivocally stupendous!!!

  • Linda says:

    Mel. My birthday is April 30th. I thought you might be interested in that, because you and I are going to be together for a really, really long time 🙂

    Ps Can you make the comments section run with ‘most recent comment’ first? I burned off a whole calorie scrolling to the bottom of the screen! This counts as exercise right?

  • Nicole says:

    Made this today to liven up my lunch and it is seriously yummy! I only had almond butter on hand and it was delicious. I’ll have to try it with sunflower seed butter as a comparison. Thanks for this simple yet delicious recipe.

  • Lauren says:

    I love love love your recipes. I’m starting the Whole 30 today and I’ll be using many of your ideas. I am a little confused when your Sunshine Sauce calls for coconut milk, I know the canned one is the preference. But before I measure the 1/4 cup do I shake the can and blend it or remove the creamy top layer and measure that or the water below? Help please!

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing!

      For my recipes, unless I say otherwise, you want to shake the can to combine the cream and water so it’s MILK not cream.

      The only recipe that I call for the can to be separated is whipped coconut cream.

      Happy cooking!

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  • Kim says:

    I was reading the earlier comments and they talked about chili paste but I don’t see it in the recipe. did it change? just wondering. CAN NOT wait to try this. I am BRAND new to this and a lil nervous but your website makes it seem doable.
    Thank you!!!

  • Daniel says:

    any tricks for storing unused coconut milk? I ‘m having ok success by putting leftover C-milk in a freezer baggie and breaking off what i need as i go.. oh and the sunshine sauce is brilliant !!! TYVM

  • Lesley says:

    I am on my first day of Whole30 and made the Sunshine sauce, which is yummy. I put it in the fridge and it has hardened? Is this normal? I followed the recipe, but did use almond butter. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t heard of this before, but it may be that the fat in the coconut milk solidified in the fridge. No biggie! Just bring it to room temp and whisk it — it should be fine.

  • Frances says:

    This recipe sounds awesome! I’m allergic to both soy and coconut (sigh). Do you know a substitute for the coconut aminos in this recipe? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      The soy/coconut aminos adds that Asian flavor and underlying saltiness/umami. How about fish sauce? The Red Boat brand doesn’t include any sugar, so that’s the one I recommend. If you don’t want to do that, you might try mashing 1/2 an anchovy and adding that instead of the soy/coconut aminos.

  • Anya says:

    Hi Mel,
    Quick question. I made Sunshine Sauce for the first time and was all ready to fall in love with it after reading all the fabulous reviews. I found it to have a bit of a strong vinegar taste to it. I didn’t add extra vinegar or anything, is this normal? I must admit I’m not a lover of vinegar at all. Any suggestions? Did I just mess up horribly?

    • Mel says:

      It doesn’t taste overly vinegary to me, but I really like vinegar. I recommend you throw it back in the food processor/blender and add more sunflower seed butter until it tastes good to you. You might need to add more garlic/red pepper flakes if it tastes too bland after adding more sunbutter.

      Next time, just skip the vinegar. Good luck!

      • Anya says:

        Thanks so much for the super fast reply! I’ll give it a try. Loving all your recipes! I’m one week into my Whole30 and your website has been an absolute life saver. It makes me think I can make it through 30 days no problem.

  • Deb says:

    when you say Coconut Milk, I am assuming you meat the kind for cooking? not the kind for drinking?

    making this tonight, can’t WAIT to try it!

    • Mel says:

      Yes! The kind in the can. It should have only coconut, water, and guar gum — bonus points if you find a brand without guar gum.

  • Claire says:

    Kia ora from New Zealand
    I made this sunshine sauce and sweet salty brocolli salad yesterday for a food group and they were ace!! everybody loved them, Im currently doing my first whole30 so it was so nice to be out socialising but still have delish food to munch on
    thanks heaps! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hello, New Zealand! I’m really glad the Sunshine Sauce and broccoli salad were a hit! Congratulations on Whole30-ing! Hope you’re feeling awesome. Thanks for stopping by to say hi!

      • Claire says:

        Tonight’s dinner was defiant Mel-afied… Your beetroot pastashio salad, sweet potato mash with coconut milk roast chicken (bones are no simmering in broth) and left over broccoli salad and sunshine sauce! Phew that’s a lot of big flavours it certainly wasn’t boring!

  • Darcy says:

    I have just discovered your wonderful site and have downloaded all the recipes, purchased all the food ready for a hot plate cooking extravaganza on the weekend. I have a question – can I substitute tahini for the sunbutter in the sunshine sauce recipe? Thanks again

    • Mel says:

      YAY for Hot Plates! Hope you have fun in the kitchen.

      I’ve never made this tahini sauce, so I don’t know how it will taste — but I do know it won’t taste like Asian peanut sauce. The tahini has a very different flavor than the sunflower seed butter.

      It will definitely *work* but I don’t know how it will taste. I’ve never tried lime juice with tahini, only lemon.

      I know that almond butter and cashew butter work very well in this recipe. If you want to make something with tahini, this might be better:

      Or you can experiment and let us know how it tastes!

  • Margaret says:

    Downloaded your cookbook on my kindle, and made this last night. It is delicious! I am sitting here at work today just thinking about it when I get home tonight. That’s how I know something is good. Thanks!

  • Dani says:

    Seriously — This sauce is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  • Melissa says:

    This stuff is amaze-balls! Made my second batch in a week. I’ve used it to dip Bora-Bora Fireballs in, and then I used it as the sauce for a pad thai! Mmm mmm mmm. Thank you so much!

  • Michelle says:

    You and nom nom paleo have basically gotten me through my whole30 and my introduction to paleo, but this sauce? Basically the best thing ever. I could eat the whole thing with a spoon.

  • Kim says:

    So I’ve have your cookbooks(they are both awesome), and I made this sunshine sauce last night. It’s probably the best sauce I’ve had in a while. It’s recipes like this that will get me through my whole 60(I’m doubling up this round). Yum Yum Yum

  • umekanzah says:

    This was yummm!

  • Stephanie says:

    I made your pad Thai last week. It was the first time I made spaghetti squash! All four of kids ate it and I loved it , too. Your books are awesome. Trying to convert four kids to Paleo is easier with your help!!

  • kmwingler says:

    I’ve tried making this sauce twice. once in the food processor and once in the blender. it doesn’t blend smooth (looks like vomit). anyone have any advice?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t heard from anyone else who has this problem so I’m not sure how to help you. A few questions/suggestions:
      1. Are you using homemade sunflower seed butter? If it’s not as smooth as the commercial kind, that might explain it.

      2. Are you scraping down the sides and re-running the processor/blender a few times? I don’t really understand how, eventually, it wouldn’t get smooth. Maybe you just need to run it all longer.

  • tookytooky says:

    This sauce is amazing! Aside from what you mention in Well Fed, what else would you recommend to eat with the sauce?

  • Nadder01 says:

    Hi, this sounds great, but is rice vinegar okay for the whole 30 since you are not supposed to have rice? Just want to make sure I am being compliant, thanks!

  • Jen says:

    I was so excited to try this! Unfortunately, it turned out more pasty (similar consistency to the Sunbutter) than saucy. Tasted yummy, but it’s more a spread than a dip! Help! What did I do wrong?

    • Not sure what happened, but it’s easy to solve! Add a little water or coconut milk — say, 1 tablespoon — and blend again. Keep adding liquid a little bit at at time until it’s the consistency you want. It does get thicker as it cools/gets cold because the fat in the coconut milk and sunflower seeds are solid at cooler temps.

  • Jen says:

    Thanks-will try!

  • Tiffany says:

    Uh, I think I’ll just sit on the couch and dip all my veggies into this all night and call it dinner (I KNOW not cool but wow, talk about a TREAT!). I dislike meals involving soy sauce but THIS this totally makes those meals OK now. 🙂 (plus eat a nice portion of some cold italian pork roast on the side). 🙂

  • Cheri says:

    I just made this sauce AND the Asian meatballs from Nom Nom Paleo…match made in heaven 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    How long does this and your other sauces like the Olive Oil mayo and Moroccan Dipping sauce last in the refrigerator?

    • Anything with coconut milk, like Sunshine Sauce, should be eaten in 2-3 days.

      Olive Oil Mayo expiration date is the same expiration date as the egg you use to make it.

      Moroccan Dipping Sauce should still taste fresh after 5-ish days.

  • Bigmama27 says:

    This sounds great! I get confused about coconut milk. Does the recipe call for the thick canned coconut milk (think Asian recipes)or the thin “carton” version? Thanks

    • When my recipes call for coconut milk, I always mean the canned kind. The kind in the diary aisle usually has added ingredients which is no bueno. The canned kind should only have coconut, water, and possibly guar gum.

      • Bigmama27 says:

        great! Thanks! We’re having this tonight and I’m at the “milk” part now. My kids keep asking what smells so good!!

  • Elisabeth says:

    Hi Melissa, can you share what kind of sunflower seed butter you’re using? I made the Sunshine Sauce today and the taste of the sunflower seed butter (which, admittedly, I don’t love) was too strong for us to really enjoy. I’m wondering if I’m just not using a good brand. Thanks!

    • I use Sunbutter brand. If you don’t like sunflower seed butter, you can use almond or cashew butter in the Sunshine Sauce instead.

      • Judith says:

        I am glad she asked that question. I think I will try it with almond butter to see the difference, since almond butter has a bit of a sweet taste to it.

  • Nancy Swecker says:

    I’m new to this :)) Looking at sunflower seed butter on Amazon and it has dehydrated cane syrup in it. Does all sunflower seed butter have that in it? What brands do you use and where do you purchase it?

    • The Sunbutter brand organic variety is sugar-free. When you’re not doing a Whole30, it’s OK to use the kind with cane sugar if you want because the amount of sugar is negligible.

      • Kristie says:

        I’m SO glad you posted this because I finally found sunbutter locally and when I saw cane sugar — and it’s the only variety they had — I just threw it in the buggy because I didn’t want to have to chase it down any more and wanted to cook TODAY.

        And I’m not sure if it ever gets old?? Probably not… 🙂 BUT THANK YOU SO SO SO SO SO SO MUCH!!!! I just cooked up week one, although started on Jan 1. And everything is AMAZING. Your instructions are clear, the shopping list was great. You made my life easier!!!

        And I did buy both of your books. Love everything about them. Thanks for such great delivery of life-changing information. You’re awesome!

        • Kristie says:

          I’m sorry, I bought both well fed and well fed 2 🙂 I think you have lots of other books. I’m just getting started on my library.

  • James Floyd says:

    Hi there! So, I live in Japan where Sunbutter is sadly nowhere to be found and I completely forgot to pick some up while home for the holidays in Canada. However, I found almond butter (ingredients: just almonds) and made the sauce with that and it turned out great! My question is – and this might sound dumb – but if I wanted to double the recipe, would I just double everything? I’ve found in the past with sauces and dips that sometimes you need to tweak it a bit when doubling the recipe or it may come off as too strong in one way or another. It was really easy to make but I feel I could save time pulling out all the ingredients and food processor cleanup if I made two batches – which looks like it would yield about as much as your delicious mayo recipe (which I have been making for a year and a half now!) Any tips or should I just double everything?

    Thanks for being such a great companion to the Whole 30!


  • Randa says:

    Mmmmm, this sunshine sauce is delish! Kinda like tahini (I’m Lebanese so I’m thinking of shawarma) but with an Asian twist. Like East meets Mideast. I’m in the midst of making your paleo pad thai. Thanks for these wonderful recipes.

  • Sherri says:

    So I made this the other night and it is so so super spicy! Not sure what I did wrong – the spice is actually overpowering the taste so that is all I am tasting. It isn’t tasting very ‘nutty’ despite using sunflower seed butter (1/4 c). Any suggestions?


    • If you still have that batch on hand, you can add more Sunbutter to cut the spiciness.

      By spicy, do you mean hot? If yes, then next time, omit the red pepper flakes.

      Ginger and garlic can also be sharp tasting, so you might want to cut the amounts in half next time.

      • Sherri says:

        I will try that! I made another batch last night and left out the red peppers and added it to the first batch. It really is delicious – and I also might try to cut the garlic and ginger in half next time. Next recipe tonight is the pulled pork!

        • Madison says:

          I had the same problem as Sherri. My first batch was so incredibly spicy (hot) I downed my entire 27-oz. water bottle while eating a salad with about 2 tbsp of sunshine sauce.

          Second try was much better. I cut the red pepper amount in half and the spice was much more manageable.

  • Susie Lee says:

    Hi There!
    Can I take sunflower seeds and put them in the VitaMix and make nut butter from there? Also…is the coconut milk the refrigerated kind in the carton or canned and unsweetened?
    Thank you!

  • Patricia Kaiser says:

    Just wondering how long this will keep in the fridge…?

  • Rachel says:

    Can I use homemade cashew butter?

  • Shannon says:

    This is sooooo good! I did change a few things to avoid going to the grocery store. I used almond butter instead of Sunbutter (which I love), fresh ginger instead of powdered, and I also used extra lime juice instead of rice vinegar (because I have to avoid vinegar at this time). My family LOVED this sauce so much we renamed it “AWESOME SAUCE”! I served it with leftover veggie fried cauliflower “rice” that we made into Asian lettuce wraps with dipping sauce…aka “awesome sunshine sauce”! My 13 year old daughter told me if I added more coconut milk next time, she would just drink it! Thanks again!
    P.S. I have been making your Paleo Mayo for months now. We love it!

  • Shanon says:

    This is soooo good! Made it last night to go with leftover veggie stir fry that we turned into asian lettuce wraps. My family loved it so much we renamed it “awesome sauce”! 🙂 My 13 yr old daughter said that if I added more coconut milk she would just drink it! Thanks for the awesome recipe. I did use almond butter, fresh ginger and extra lime (in place of the vinegar) to avoid going to the grocery store.
    P.S. I’ve been making your Paleo mayo for months now. We love it!

  • Carol says:

    I think your sunshine sauce and pad Thai have been the keys to finishing my first Whole30. By far the recipe most seen in my rotation! Thank you.

  • Santiago says:

    I made this with almond butter and apple cider vinegar as substitutes. Everybody loved it smeared on thier New York strip steaks! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • amy says:

    Made this last night as a sauce for zucchini “pasta” with asparagus and grilled chicken. It was out of this world!

  • Natalie says:

    I was wondering if hemp or quinoa milk would work, I can’t do coconut..

  • Valerie says:

    This is delicious, it was perfect on my stir fry. I love ginger so added some fresh too. It really does require a very good blending for all the yummy flavors to meld.

    One of the hardest things about following a strict Whole30 is feeling like I can safely eat at restaurants. Although I am serious about staying on track I was also missing eating out with friends. Sunshine Sauce saved me! I suggested we go for Chinese food and brought a little Tupperware of sunshine sauce and ordered steamed chicken & veggies. Viola! A delicious stress-free Whole30 meal!

    Thanks so much!

  • Arend says:

    Where has this sauce been all my life!?! I could eat it all by itself it’s that freaking good!! Slowly working my way through Well Fed and Well Fed 2 and I’m loving all the recipes. Keep up the tasty good work Miss Melissa!

  • Lisa says:

    What about Bragg’s Aminos instead of coconut?

  • Camille says:

    How oh how did I survive two whole30s without this sauce?! I made it yesterday and changed my outlook on meals! Drizzled on baked sweet potato and roasted chicken… yummm. Thank you!!

  • Ashley says:

    Holy mother of yum!! I just made this for the pad Thai, but I could seriously eat it by the spoonful. So good! Thank you!

  • Josh says:

    Joulwan-Kenobi, thank you for this sauce! I’m on my first Whole 30 and trying to find different ways to zing up meal prep. The sauces I’ve tried so far have been hit or miss (way too olive oily, way too salty, etc) but this one here.. YAAAAASSSS! I also diced up some jalapenos and pulsed them in to make it a little kickier, and it was everything! 🙂

  • Christa says:

    Hey there – what’s the difference in sunflower seed butter and tahini? Aren’t they both sunflower seeds?

    • Sunflower Seed Butter, like Sunbutter, is made from sunflower seeds.

      Tahini is made from sesame seeds.

      The taste is similar, but the tahini is slightly less sweet, while the Sunbutter is a little more peanutty in taste. In many cases, they can be used interchangeably, but for this recipe, I don’t recommend tahini. Almond butter or cashew butter would be a better replacement to closely mimic the flavor the recipe is going for.

  • Jane says:

    how long does this last in the refrigerator?

    • It doesn’t go bad, so you can keep it a) as long as it tastes fresh and b) doesn’t have mold on the top. (Ew.) I usually use 7-10 days as a rule of thumb because the flavor just starts to fade after that. If you’re worried about using all in time, it’s pretty easy to cut the recipe in half. Enjoy!

  • maggie says:

    hi! I have been reading your blog for last few days like crazy, this is first time I read it. I am planing to start the whole30 program and your blog is full of great advices. I just have one question- do your recipes have option to print that I have been missing? I am trying to gather all the recipes in my file so I’m printing like crazy 🙂 thank you again for all great advices here!

  • Laura says:

    So, like many who have posted, I also could not get the sunbutter without sugar. Soooooo, i said I make homemade nut butter in my Vitamix, so why not try making my own?? I whipped up abatch with raw organic seeds, a dash of salt and some coconut oil. While it was not as creamy as the stuff in the jar looks to be, I made the sauce wiith it. IT IS GREAT!!!!!!!

    Thanks again for another great recipe.

  • Lynda says:

    Oh, my!!! This has been on my “wish list” to make. I finally made it tonight. Heaven!!! I think I am in love.

  • Julie says:

    I am in love – deep, deep love. Thank you for this.

  • Kristin says:

    I’m hoping to make this for my sister’s family. Their son is allergic peppers. is there something you think we could sub in for the red pepper flakes?

    • The red peppers make it hot, so if he can’t eat any peppers, there’s not a direct substitute. You could increase the ginger, if you want it to have bite, but it will taste great if you just omit the red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

  • Kate Hildebrand says:

    this is my 3rd whole30 but the first time we have been adamant about sunshine sauce ON HAND AT ALL TIMES

    I am putting it on everything (covering my otherwise mediocre ground pork/brussels sprouts/sweet potatoes right now) and it is SOOO good. THANK YOU

  • Maria R says:

    I CRAVE this sauce. I try to always have a jar on hand by making double and triple batches. I have eaten it right out of the jar. I also use it as a condiment a lot. It works on so many foods. Thank you for this righteous sauce.

  • Kristin says:

    What’s the best way to store if I want to make ahead of time? Thank you!

    • You can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days in a covered container. If you want it for longer than that, you’ll need to freeze it; coconut milk only lasts about 3-4 days once it’s opened. (Always defrost in the fridge!)

  • Jamie says:

    This Sunshine Sauce saved my dinner! I wanted no part of the grilled chicken I made but then I added this sauce and raw veggies (it’s been a long day) and all of a sudden- dinner! Thanks!

  • Andrea says:

    Hi! New to your site and loving your recipes. I made this sauce – and had high hopes – but it tasted too acidic to me? The only thing different I did is leave out vinegar because I only had white vinegar. Is it supposed to taste very acidic? I tried adding more sunburter but it just didn’t cut it. Just checking to see if you’ve heard this before. Maybe I’m just too addicted to the real stuff?! Thanks so much for all you do!

    • You definitely do not want to use white vinegar if you thought the flavor was too acidic 😉 Good call on that!

      It may taste acidic to you because you’re used to the very sugary peanut sauce in restaurants. You could try reducing or omitting the lime juice, increasing the coconut milk (to add more creaminess), or add some coconut sugar (just 1-2 teaspoons), if you’re not doing a Whole30.

  • carissa says:

    Pretty much every time I make something of yours I kick myself for not doubling it! (Also I’ve made this with almond butter and sun butter and personally prefer the almond MUCH more.) I did double my mulligatawny stew last time I made it and every time I pull a single serving out of the freezer I’m VERY happy. Either way, I think I could eat strictly from your recipes for months and be completely happy. So thank you for being you and keep the awesome recipes coming

  • jill says:

    Greetings from australia! your sunshine sauce is AMAZING!! seriously cannot get enough. I made it using my Thermomix, do you mind if I share the recipe conversion? I would credit you as the original creator and share links back to your page 🙂

  • jane says:

    Determined to leave a note, I had to scroll down, quite a bit and then some more, to let you know this was aaamazing!!!! My husband loved it as well. I used the outer 10 or 12 leaves of a large cabbage and cut them the width of pad thai noodles. Stir-fried and lightly steamed them by putting the lid on and carried on with your recipe. Could not improve. Thanks so much!