Recipe: That Amazing Ginger Sauce From Life Alive

January 6, 2014 · 66 comments

Finally, today I’m sharing a recipe that is a victory for my kitchen. I’ve been obsessed with the lemon ginger nama shoyu special sauce that Life Alive (a restaurant in Cambridge) puts on their goddess bowls. I started trying to recreate it back in the late fall and finally mastered it.

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The sauce goes great with your favorite sautéed (or raw) veggies and a grain like brown rice or quinoa making it a truly nutritious power meal.

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It goes great on any cooked or steamed vegetable. The recipe is also perfect for post New Year’s detox diets. If you are avoiding sugar, this is a great swap for stir fry sauce. The raw ginger, garlic and lemon also make this packed with health benefits from detoxification, to reducing bloating, better digestion and increased energy. I promise it tastes amazing despite sounding random. Nama Shoyu is basically like a vegan/soy free soy sauce but I’m not into buying ingredients that are expensive/rarely used so I just used Tamari, a gluten free soy sauce I buy at Whole Foods.

Ginger Awesome Sauce (recreated from Life Alive’s Ginger Nama Shoyu in Cambridge) Makes 4-6 servings

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 inches of fresh peeled ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Tamari Sauce (or Nama Shoyu or Soy Sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons of Tahini (sesame seed butter basically)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or flax oil)
  • 2 tablespoons of water

Combine the first two ingredients in a mini food processor or blender. Blend well. You may need to chop them up finely depending on the efficiency of your blender. Next add in the remaining ingredients and blend until you have a creamy consistency. You may add more water if you would like a less thick sauce.

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My favorite combination is short grain brown rice with broccoli, kale, carrots, beets and tofu. Add avocado, pepitas or siracha for texture and a kick! You can also add in some squash, mushrooms or sprouted peas.

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Below is the Goddess Bowl from Life Alive and how they combine the veggies but really anything you have in your fridge will work. Enjoy and let me know what you thought of the recipe. If you love garlic, you will have a new favorite sauce. IMG 5563

If you make the recipe or make and substitutions, leave your swaps below!

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristine January 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Wow, that looks amazing! Love ginger anything! Gonna try it!


2 Laura M January 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm

LOOOOVE that Life Alive sauce – it’s like crack! I can’t wait to try this.

Thanks Sarah!


3 Amanda Margaret January 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

This sounds soooooooo yummy, definitely trying this :)


4 Jill January 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm

I am drooling! Wow! Gotta make this but hoping I can find Tahini ?!!!


5 Kristina January 7, 2014 at 10:04 am

It’s near the peanut butter and almond butter at Whole Foods, if that helps!


6 aec March 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Basically you can find tahini at any decent supermarket. No need to pay WF premium prices.


7 brie January 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I am SO happy you posted this. I’ve tried 2 different recipes I found online attempting to recreate the goddess bowl sauce and both were a flop. Can’t wait to try this one. Thank you!


8 Olena@iFOODreal January 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I would love it! Just pinned! I create a lot of clean dressings and this one sounds like smth I would LOVE!!!


9 Kristina January 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

Glad you posted this! I used to get so many Green Goddess bowls when I lived around the corner :) Might put it in a Cuppow BNTO for a mason jar veggie bowl.


10 Jen January 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I’m drooling over those photos. and thinking about the bowls at LifeAlive. I love that place. It was one of my favorites when I lived in Cambridge. Excited to try this recipe!


11 Ayu January 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

Whoah:o that looks good.
Gotta add more color to my salads!
The second salad looks absolutely mouthwatering.


12 Mari January 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Wow awesome! Thanks! I just moved out of Somerville this fall and I am missing the green goddess desperately! Will try tomorrow and post how it turned out!!


13 Virginia January 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I’m going to have try this!


14 Amanda & Ken January 23, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Your recipe tastes just like the one at life alive! Thank you!!


15 Jeff January 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Thank you, this is exactly the recipe I was seeking…discovered it at Life Alive in Lowell!! :)


16 Jane February 1, 2014 at 5:29 pm

This is amazing , thank you ! Just went to life alive last night and have to make more at home cuz it’s So. Damn. Good. You’re right, you nailed it!


17 Bee February 12, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Tried it, it’s AMAZING!
Totally delicious for when I can’t/ don’t want to trek to life alive. Super excited about this, THANK YOU!!!


18 Radish February 17, 2014 at 9:00 am

Really yummy and identical to the Life Alive sauce. Then, just to try something a little different, I got some miso from my local Harvest food coop and put in about a tablespoon. Makes it taste different but also great.


19 Rebecca February 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I’d love to take the entire bottle of their hot sauce too! My favorite place to eat by far nom nom nom


20 Sarah February 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I think I like the hot sauce better than the ginger sauce – and I do take a little sample home with me hahah!


21 Pam February 18, 2014 at 5:14 am

This is one of my favorite Life Alive’s sauces! Thank you for figuring it out and sharing with everyone. I can’t wait to make this tonight!


22 jen February 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU…….I was planning to make this tonight…and had over the ingredients but was missing a few…my favorite dish!


23 Nicole February 24, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Sarah –
I am so excited to see this!! I am junk food junkie recently turned health food obsessed due to the incredibly tasty bowls at Life Alive! I live in the South End and make the trek (lol) over to Cambridge at least once a week to get my fix. I really love the Adventurer which has a slightly different sauce – the Sesame Ginger Nama sauce. If you perfect that one, please share it as well :-) You rock!


24 Jessica February 7, 2015 at 10:02 am

Nicole – I’m with you!! The Adventurer is worth a weekly trek [South End as well] and would love to get my hands on the sesame version of this sauce. I may try around with Sarah’s recipe and see where I can get the sesame in. It’s addictive!


25 Cecilia March 7, 2014 at 9:39 am

Sarah, you made our day. I echo others who have moved to neighborhoods further away and can’t make regular treks to Life Alive for these delicious goddess bowls. I’ve tried without luck to find this recipe online in the past and tried asking around at LA (was told it’s a trade secret but that tamari was the key). My husband and I made this per your recipe last night, with farro as a base. OMG. Heaven.


26 NMD March 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Nicole, this is what I came up with for the sesame ginger Nama sauce. Makes 1 cup, or enough for four bowls.

1/4 cup low sodium soy (or nama shoyu, but I didn’t need to add to my condiment collection)
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp agave syrup or honey
1-inch piece ginger, sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt


27 Jessica February 7, 2015 at 10:04 am

OH I’m definitely going to make this this weekend!


28 Zoe March 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Hi Sarah – I’m a total Life Alive devotee and always trying to recreate their meals in my own kitchen. I’ll definitely give this sauce a try ASAP! Thanks for sharing.


29 LT March 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Genius! I’ve been trying to con some of the workers behind the counter to spill their guts on the recipe. I think they have to give their first born if they divulge that information. So, thank you! I will continue to follow you!


30 Sarah March 25, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Now if only they would tell us what the hot sauce is made of!!!


31 Kelly April 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Every time I’m in Boston, I go to Life Alive and wish I could recreate their amazing goddess bowl… I just made your recipe tonight and you totally nailed it!


32 Sally April 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm

This is great, can’t wait to try it! I’m in love with Life Alive but no longer live in the Boston area!

If you figure out the recipe for the Innocent wrap that’d be amazing! I believe they call it the Flaxy Nutri-Nama sauce.

Thanks for sharing!


33 Jes January 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm

I second this post! I always order a bowl of the Innocent and take one to go, but I’d love to learn how to make the sauce as I’m constantly craving it’s deliciousness!


34 eliza April 19, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Thanks for the recipe! Any idea how long the sauce will keep?


35 Brad Capello April 30, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Just like life alive cafe!! Great work. Thank you!


36 Michael` May 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I didn’t have any tahini on hand so I substituted two tablespoons of almond butter with a few dashes of sesame oil. I still couldn’t tell the difference between this and Life Alive’s recipe. If anything, this came out even better. Thanks so much!


37 Fabrizio May 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Thx for deciphering the code…I have been making this for a few months now…I make a double batch of sauce w/1.5 cups of quinoa and steam approximately 4 carrots, a dozen leaves of kale, 3 ears of corn and combine with shaved almonds, hot sauce and some protein flakes…makes 4+ portions


38 Karen May 17, 2014 at 12:28 am

Bless you for coming up with this! I’ve been wanting to make my own bowls for a long time now.


39 Karen May 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm

p.s. I just tried the recipe and indeed, you have nailed it. I’ll still eat at Life Alive whenever I’m in Cambridge. But it’s so great to be able to have this awesomeness in my own home.


40 Kellie May 23, 2014 at 9:08 am

I love Life Alive! I’m definitely going to try this! Thank you so much!


41 Maida Broudo May 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm

This is so awesome……Thank you!

I just had it and love it…..and LOVE Life Alive.

I think a bit of extra lemon juice and water can make this go a bit further…..thin it out just a bit…..make it easier to mix in…..-that said…perfection!


42 gina June 8, 2014 at 1:10 am

are these vegetables raw or cooked???


43 gina June 8, 2014 at 1:12 am

never mind


44 multinomial June 19, 2014 at 7:24 am

Absolutely legit. Works perfectly. Kudos and thanks!


45 Chilly1 July 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Does anybody have a recipe or link or any suggestions re how to recreate the LA *hot sauce*???


46 Sean July 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

This sauce is great but I don’t think two cloves of garlic are necessary. I still had garlic on my breath several hours and multiple tooth brushings later.


47 Mike July 24, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Roast the garlic first.


48 Janet July 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

We are regulars at Life Alive. I found your recipe and it is just perfect! I made it for the family and it was so nice to have one of my favorite meals at home. I was able to have the option of adding chicken for those who are not vegetarian.
Thank you so much!


49 Deb August 29, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Thanks! I made it tonight, brought a big smile to my face!


50 Paula Messias September 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

Hello Sarah!
Wow, you did a great job! Do you also know how to make the flaxy nutri nama sauce??
Let me know! Thank you!!!


51 Iz September 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm

This dressing was absolutely delicious! Thank you!


52 Rae October 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I’m SO excited to have found this!! I fell in love with the sauce up in the Lowell location and have been trying to recreate it ever since! Thank you :)

Mindful Rambles


53 Liz Raymond October 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm

OMG! Loved this. Made it last night and was a replica of the sauce. Holy cow. So now just need the hot sauce recipe :)


54 Sarah October 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Right!??? I love that stuff too!


55 toby October 21, 2014 at 4:55 am

OMG, thanks so much! I LOVE thaeir sauce and was trying to figure out how to make it!


56 kj December 5, 2014 at 9:31 am

I really like using fresh lime juice instead of lemon


57 Aaron December 21, 2014 at 3:26 am


I love the internet.


58 Rachelle January 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Thank you so much for this! I just made it and it’s amazing :) I would recommend a lil more water as your recipe barely stretched to 4 dishes. Still it’s such a strong flavour that it doesn’t matter much that the sauce is sparse. I added cubed roasted sweet potato which was great!


59 M. Wells February 21, 2015 at 5:40 pm

You nailed the Ginger Awesome Sauce. It is just like the sauce at Life Alive! Thank you for sharing!


60 Sarah May 15, 2015 at 6:07 pm

Good try! I’m sure it tastes great. I’m also sure that there is no tahini in the original. I’m very allergic to it, and they’ve promised there’s none in there (and I’ve never had a reaction.) I’d like to attempt to create it myself without the sesame!


61 Kaia May 27, 2015 at 9:38 pm

Hi, I am excited to try your recipe! Can you tell me if you have a recipe for the broth for the Soba noodle dish?! That is so rich and earthy I would LOVE to be able to have it anytime. Thanks!!


62 Rebecca R. Hernandez June 3, 2015 at 12:15 am

Hi Sarah,

Hello – from the West Coast! Thank you so much for the recipe and conferring the ability for me to take a piece of Cambridge home with me. I have made this twice now (love it!) and I have a question — do you feel like the dressing is ever “stringy” from the cellulose in the ginger? I am wondering if Life Alive might strain the ginger?


63 Kate June 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for this recipe!! It was so amazing! I made this dinner for my mother (I am introducing her to veganism) and she and I loved it! This is definitely a favorite dish, so thank you!


64 Simone June 23, 2015 at 3:54 pm

You area goddess. THANK YOU


65 Olivia July 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Spot. On. Make sure to make extra because you’re going to need it :)


66 Mrinmay August 5, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Thank you so much Sarah! This recipe definitely works. You just made healthy food a whole lot tastier for us :).


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