Other weird vegan ingredients (apart from tofu)

OK, so these aren't specifically vegan ingredients, and depending on what you're used to these might not actually be weird to you, but here are a few ingredients you might not have heard of that sometimes come up in vegan recipes.

If you're looking for tofu, look here.

For anything that also has a 'normal' version, (e.g. vegan mayonnaise), look here.

Egg replacer

An egg-free powder that can be used to replace the function of eggs in certain recipes, such as in baking.

Depending on your recipe, there are various other ingredients which can be used instead of eggs, such as silken tofu (in cakes and quiches), firm tofu (for scrambled 'egg'), mashed banana (cakes), ground flax seeds (cookies and anything else chewy) and bicarbonate of soda or baking powder (sponge cakes and pancakes).

Kala Namak/Black salt

Salt that tastes of eggs. Add to quiches or scrambled tofu for extra egginess. Find it in Indian shops or mail order from Spices of India.

Nutritional yeast

A condiment with a slightly cheesy taste which can be sprinkled onto or into various dishes and sauces.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)

A super-nutritious grain originating from South America. It is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids and is also rich in iron, calcium and other vitamins and minerals.


Wheat gluten. Looks similar to meat chunks in appearance and can be used as a meat substitute. It is used in some Chinese, Japanese or Buddhist recipes, sometimes referred to as 'mock duck' or other mock meats. You can make your own using vital wheat gluten, not sold in many high street shops in the UK but you can mail order it from The Flourbin or Low Carb Megastore. American recipe books tend to be quite keen on seitan recipes.

Sosmix (now "Granose meat-free sausage mix")

Sosmix is a vegan dried sausage mix which is made up by adding cold water and can be used to make sausages or as a filling for sausage rolls. After being taken over by another company, Sosmix was rebranded "Granose meat-free sausage mix" and for reasons best known to themselves the new manufacturers decided to add cow's milk to the mixture, which is not the best move in the world if the majority of your customers are vegans, so after a fair bit of protesting (and presumably a pretty big drop in sales) it is now appearing in shops minus the cow's milk. Find it in Holland and Barrett and wholefoods shops.


Japanese wheat-free dark soy sauce. Generally contains fewer additives than Chinese soy sauce.

Tamarind paste

Sweet-sour paste made from the pulp of the tamarind fruit. Used to add sharpness and sourness to some South-East Asian dishes.


My favourite brand of frozen soya mince, made by RealEat and commonly available in supermarkets and Holland and Barrett. Morrisons and Tesco also do a vegan own-brand frozen soya mince. Beware other brands as they may not be vegan. You can also get dried soya mince, or TVP, but personally I prefer the frozen ones. Dried soya mince doesn't behave exactly the same as frozen, so be careful if substituting one for the other in recipes.