If you’ve recently decided to go vegan, hello! Have you chosen your favourite nut milk and stocked up on chickpeas yet?
Fun things aside, being vegan full or part time has plenty of obstacles to skillfully work your way around. Thinking about vitamin B12 alone is enough. Then there’s what you wash with and what you wear. Do you ditch everything that isn’t cruelty free, right from the start? What about those woolly jumpers? Never mind having enough answers to all those annoying “how do you get enough protein”, questions.
If you love a condiment or two – like I do – you may have made peace with saying goodbye to mayo. But think again. The world of sauces, dips, and mayo is just as open to you as it is the nearest dairy-devourer!
We’re living in exciting times, where even fish sauce has been veganised. Your soups, salads, sandwiches and whatever else you like to sass up with sauce don’t need to go undressed.
Here’s our tried and tested vegan-friendly condiments.
There’s Something (Not so) Fishy Going on Around Here
First up is my favourite, the VFish Fishless Sauce from Chilli Mash. I used it to make a Thai tom yum soup and a butternut squash Thai green curry. Both were amazing!
This sauce has a satisfyingly salty, strong umami flavour, which I love. I also used it as a dipping sauce for dim sum and it was just as tasty.
When making Thai dishes, I often have to make up my own recipe, such as swapping fish sauce for tamari. Other times, I have to leave ingredients out. Some, because they’re not vegan, others because I don’t have them. (Who has kaffir lime leaves and galangal at their disposal anyway?) Now, with this brilliant fishless fish sauce, there’s one less thing to leave out or replace!
I can’t say anything negative about this, and it’ll no doubt become a regular in my fridge.
You Don’t Have to Say No to Mayo
If you’re the kind of person who loves a spoonful of mayo on pretty much everything, you don’t have to miss out. Chilli Mash also make VMayo Eggless Mayonnaise. I’ve used this to dunk chips in, on a burger and in a classic (vegan) cheese sandwich.
I still don’t like vegan cheese, and this mayo couldn’t disguise the taste, even with copious tomatoes and salt. That said, this mayonnaise is good. It’s a little artificial tasting, but then I’m not a massive fan of regular mayo, which also tastes plasticy to me.
Chilli Mash is a British brand, who mainly make chilli sauces, as hot, or as very hot, as you can handle. I love that they’ve ventured into vegan condiments. The more vegan options are normalised by non-vegan companies, the better! I’m not one to refuse a great tasting food, because it was made by a company that isn’t 100% vegan.
Dressings that Shall Go to the Ball
Bonsan Absolutely Vegan Organic Caesar Dressing is perfect on a salad, if mayo isn’t your thing. OK, so a caesar dressing is meant to be paired with chicken and parmesan. But in my opinion, there isn’t a salad that can’t be be jazzed up with dressing.
It’s sauces like caesar dressing that can catch you out on your vegan journey, with it’s sneaky anchovies, eggs and parmesan cheese.
Bonsan aim to “bring veganism to the masses”. Which makes them fabulous in my book. They’re a family run, UK business with a mission to make vegan food “exciting and accessible”. I’m yet to check out their range of savoury spreads, but they’re top of my list.
I’ve also discovered a vegan salad cream from granoVita. granoVita make a wide range of vegetarian and vegan foods. Their salad cream is a little disappointing for me. It’s not as tangy as regular salad cream, but it was great in a potato salad in the summer, with lots of lemon.
… But Don’t Bother With Egg Replacer
I have few words for this section. I tried making the chocolate brownies that my family love me for, using the Free and Easy Egg Replacer.
Not content with replacing the eggs, this product also replaced any resemblance to chocolate brownie. Think brown, sticky gloop, that doesn’t cut into squares and requires a spoon to eat. My teeth will never be the same again.
I love the soups and curry sauces from Free and Easy. I haven’t tried their pre-boxed cake mixes but given the chocolate brownie disaster, their cake mixes are not high on my kitchen wish list.
If you are looking for something sweet, I recommend the Dark Fruit Syrup from Sweet Freedom. It’s brilliant as an alternative to honey.
No More Condiment Conundrums
Other vegan-friendly cupboard staples are tamari, tahini and stocks. (Tamari is a gluten-free soy sauce and tahini is a sesame paste – the main ingredient in hummus.) There are lots of vegan cookbooks and these ingredients pop in many of their recipes.
Nutritional yeast is another vegan necessity. Often fortified with vitamin D and B12, these fish food-looking flakes add a cheesy taste and creamy texture to dishes. I use them as sprinkles instead of parmesan too, because vegan parmesan is horrid.
Unlike vegan cheese, I like the majority of veganised sauces and condiments. Whilst the mission for a decent plant-based cheese continues, sauces are still definitely on the menu if you’re vegan. (Just take my advice and avoid the egg replacer.) Keep some firm favourites in your armoury and they’ll even pimp up a freezer dinner of vegan nuggets and potato waffles.
There’s new vegan products emerging all the time, meaning we can all still enjoy the things we’re used to. Enjoy the taste testing!