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Coconut-Ginger Sauce: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free

October 19, 2011

Unlike my First Try Friday recipes, this recipe has been worked on several times until I got it perfected. It’s the first recipe I’ve ever created from scratch. (woohoo!) I created it because I wanted to make a dairy-free sauce to serve in hawaiian haystacks.

Joseph-safe Hawaiian Haystacks

If you are unfamiliar with hawaiian haystacks, to make them, you layer on your plate rice, chicken in a cream of chicken soup sauce, pineapple, and then a variety of other things. I usually do peas and cheese. I’ve seen others add chow mein noodles. It’s really pretty versatile.

But looking around the web, I couldn’t find any recipes for a dairy-free sauce for hawaiian haystacks. Then I thought to myself that coconut milk would actually go very well with the theme for hawaiian haystacks. I could make a sauce out of that. I then added some garlic and ginger to give it a little more taste.

To make the sauce, you start by whisking all the ingredients together in a small saucepan until smooth. Mine always gets very frothy from this, since I want to be sure there are no clumps of cornstarch.

Bring the milk mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it’s boiling, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for a few minutes until thickened. To determine it it’s done, dip in a spoon and then run your finger down it. If it holds the line, as in the picture, it’s done.

The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools, so you may want to set it aside for about ten minutes while you prepare the rest of dinner. It will actually thicken better if it’s left uncovered. Still, it stays about as thick as gravy. A thicker sauce with a more noticeable coconut taste could be made with canned coconut milk, though I haven’t tried it yet. I think it would also taste good with some lemon zest.

When making hawaiian haystacks, I would then toss in some cooked, cubed chicken to serve over the rice. I’m interested in trying out this sauce with pasta. Alfredo sauce is one of the things I miss the most about going dairy-free. This won’t taste the same, but it will be a nice break from always using tomato sauces.

Coconut-Ginger Sauce

Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free

  • 2 cups So Delicious coconut milk (I used vanilla)
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small sauce pan until smooth.

Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Let simmer until thickened (about 2 min)

Set aside for at least ten minutes to allow further thickening.

Serves 3-4 people.

cover copy copy


This recipe is featured in my cookbook The Best of the Rice of Life: Over 70 Gluten-free, Dairy-free, and Nut-free Recipes available now in print (Amazon, Create Space) and e-book (Kindle, iBooks, nook, Kobo and Smashwords).



Shared on Allergy Friendly Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, and Gluten-Free Wednesdays

23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2011 10:55 am

    Is the So Delicious milk the consistency of canned coconut milk, or more like regular milk/ soy milk?

  2. October 19, 2011 1:16 pm

    More like regular/soy milk. Joseph will drink it straight.

  3. Antoinette permalink
    October 19, 2011 7:10 pm

    That sounds really good! My kids and I love So Delicious coconut milk! I can’t wait to make this sauce.

  4. October 23, 2011 1:02 pm

    This sounds really good and very easy! I might have to put this on our meal plan this week or next. And, congratulations for creating your first recipe 🙂

  5. November 8, 2011 7:50 am

    This sounds interesting! Personally, I think So Delicious coconut milk is nasty, but I love Coconut Dream! I’ll have to give this recipe a try. 🙂

    • November 8, 2011 8:46 am

      I’ve not seen coconut dream in my stores. Hope it works out well for you!

  6. Karen Denney permalink
    March 12, 2012 9:56 pm

    I cannot have any corn-based products; i.e., cornstarch. Can you recommend a substitute for this recipe? Thanks!

    • March 13, 2012 10:04 am

      If you can’t use all-purpose flour ground from wheat, then you could use arrowroot flour/starch or tapioca flour as a substitute. A friend who can’t eat gluten or corn uses these two thickeners 1:1 for cornstarch (she likes arrowroot best).

      • Karen Denney permalink
        March 28, 2012 11:17 am

        Thanks. I will try the arrowroot flour/starch. Unfortunately, have any wheat flour and cannot use tapioca flour either. I already have arrowroot in my cupboard.

      • March 28, 2012 12:40 pm

        All right. I hope it turns out well for you.

  7. Celiac and Allergy Adventures permalink
    November 16, 2012 9:34 am

    This sounds really good. I love coconut … and ginger.


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