I’ve only accidently bought one non-vegan product since going vegan – worcestershire sauce.
I didn’t look at the ingredients close enough and missed the anchovies.
Since then I’ve learned that anchovies are a staple ingredient in most worcestershire sauces.
However, there are alternatives for us vegans.
Typical Ingredients in Worcestershire Sauce
If you want to understand what makes a good substitute, you need to know which ingredients we’re trying to mimic.
In a typical worcestershire sauce, the ingredients are:
- Barley malt vinegar
- Spirit vinegar
- Tamarind extract
- Onions (originally shallots)
Other than the anchovies, all the other ingredients are plant-based. Simply by omitting the anchovies, you can still achieve a very similar flavor.
There are some brands you can find in stores, like Annie’s, that are vegan-friendly. Just check the ingredients very carefully before buying one.
If you can’t find one, there are a few other solutions involves substituting other ingredients or making your own sauce.
1. See if You Can Find Henderson’s Relish
This “relish” isn’t like the normal relish made from pickles.
Instead it’s a spicy condiment made by a company in England. It looks and tastes pretty similar to worcestershire sauce, so it’s a good direct replacement if you can find it.
It’s also gluten free if that matters to you.
2. Make Your Own and Skip Anchovies
Depending on where you live, you may not be able to easily find a vegan-friendly brand of worcestershire sauce.
But it’s not too hard to make your own. Here is one of many vegan-friendly worcestershire sauce recipes.
Alternatively, find a “normal” worcestershire sauce recipe and skip the anchovies, it should be about the same.
What you’ll see is that the bulk of worcestershire sauce is just soy sauce and apple cider vinegar.
Even if you don’t have all the other ingredients, you can just use those 2 main ingredients in a pinch.
3. Marmite Can Give You a Similar Flavor
The reason that anchovies are even in worcestershire sauce in the first place is to add umami flavor.
But you can get umami from other foods that happen to be vegan like marmite.
Note that marmite has a stronger flavor than most worcestershire sauces, so only add a bit.
Taste your food as you add the marmite in small increments until you get a flavor you’re happy with.