Why Vegan Food Should NEVER Be Bland

Just a few of the many reasons why vegan food should never be bland.

Just a few of the many reasons why vegan food should never be bland.

Some people fear that if they go vegan, all their meals will be tasteless and dull. But as accomplished professional chefs and true foodies already know, there is simply no excuse for vegan food being bland or boring. This is why:

Salt is vegan. So is pepper. And when I say salt, I’m talking about Kosher flake salt, Hawaiian alaea red sea salt, white French Fleur de sel, Indian black salt, bamboo salt, kiawe wood smoked salt, Vietnamese gray sea salt, Maldon sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, and alderwood smoked salt just to name a few. Peppercorns come in a rainbow of colors (and flavors), including black, green, pink, red, and white.

Herbs are vegan. In addition to the classic parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, there is also basil, oregano, marjoram, chervil, savory, dill, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, tarragon, cilantro, fennel, bay, lavender, chicory, and lemon verbena.

Spices are vegan. I’ve already mentioned pepper, but there are also cinnamon sticks, saffron, cumin, celery seeds, paprika, star anise, cloves, annatto, turmeric, caraway, nutmeg, cardamom, grains of paradise, mustard seeds, sumac, coriander, all spice, and vanilla beans.

Onions are vegan. Red onions, white onions, brown onions, green onions, Maui onions, Vidalia onions, Walla Walla onions, shallots, leeks, ramps, scallions, pearl onions, cippolinis, and chives all fall into this category.

Garlic is vegan. Whether roasted, sautéed, or raw, lovely garlic is definitely vegan! And while I’m thinking about aromatics, I should mention that celery, ginger, and wasabi are all vegan as well. Ginger and wasabi make me think of soy sauce and tamari…which are also vegan. 

Vinegar is vegan.  This includes red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, champagne vinegar, saba vinegar, date vinegar, and white wine vinegar.

Oil from plants is vegan. Extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, sesame seed oil, toasted sesame seed oil, hazelnut oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil, and avocado oil are all vegan.

Citrus fruits are vegan. The zest, peels, juice, and pulp of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, yuzu, pummelos, and kumquats can be used to add sweet, sour, bitter or tart flavors to all kinds of savory and sweet vegan dishes. Come to think of it, ALL fruits are vegan, not just the citrus ones…woohoo!

Chile Peppers, fresh, dried, roasted or ground…mild or spicy, are also vegan…jalapeno, shishito, habanero, chipotle, cayenne, New Mexico, guajillo, Anaheim, banana pepper, ancho, California, Serrano, hatch, poblano, scotch bonnet, and bhut jolokia included. Tabasco, Tapatio, Cholula, and Sriracha sauces are also vegan.

The items specifically listed here are just a small portion of the hundreds (probably thousands, actually) of ingredients available to chefs and cooks. Numerous professional chefs worldwide actually use many of these purely vegan ingredients to flavor non-vegan poultry, meat and seafood dishes.

So if you’ve ever had a vegan dish that was bland or boring, do not despair! The reason for any dish tasting bad is not because it is vegan…it’s because it wasn’t prepared properly. Find a great chef or cook (who is vegan or not; it actually doesn’t matter) who truly understands flavor and seasoning, and eat a vegan meal prepared by him or her. I guarantee you will have an experience that will blow you away.

Thanks for reading. Peace and love to all who live.