Soy Sauce is one of the most versatile condiments to have in your kitchen. A splash here and dip there can make all the difference in a simple meal, or amp up a marinade or even be used as a dipping sauce. However, does it belong in a plant-based diet? The question we are tackling in this article is, “Is soy sauce vegan?”
What’s Inside ?
Soy sauce is a liquid condiment from East Asia that originated from China. It is believed to have been created around 2,200 years ago. It’s popularity spread from Asia to the rest of the world in a short amount of time because of its endless uses. The ingredients that go into making soy sauce include:
- Fermented soybean paste
- Aspergillus oryzae or kōji mold (a filamentous fungus in Japan for making alcoholic drinks as well as ferment soybeans)
Soy sauce is made through a process of fermentation or hydrolysis. Traditionally, it takes months for the sauce to be ready because of the six stages it has to go through:
- 1. Soaking and cooking
- 2. Koji culturing
- 3. Brewing
- 4. Pressing
- 5. Pasteurization
- 6. Storage
The flavor, aroma, and color of the soy sauce can vary. Differences depend on the amount of time it is left to ferment, the ratio of water, salt, and fermented soybeans as well as the addition of other ingredients. For this reason, soy sauce can come packaged as light or dark soy sauce, or even sodium-reduced soy sauce. All this is what gives it its rich umami flavor that adds a depth of flavor to any dish, or dipping sauce.
Manufacturers can add different flavorings to the final product of soy sauce, however, they all use the same four base ingredients. With that being said, is soy sauce vegan?
Is it Vegan?
Yes, soy sauce is 100% vegan.
The ingredients that go into the making of soy sauce are not from animal products. Some manufacturers might include sweeteners and artificial coloring in their soy sauce.
Soy sauce is irrefutably vegan, however, because it has soy which is a very common allergen, some people prefer to avoid it. Some vegans might even wish to opt for gluten-free substitutes or might just want other vegan alternatives. No need to fret though, because there are a few soy-free, as well as gluten-free alternatives.
The brewing is similar to the soy sauce, except it does not use wheat and is therefore gluten-free.
- Coconut aminos
The savory, liquid condiment is derived from fermenting coconut sap and sea salt. It is both gluten and soy-free. However, it is not as rich as traditional soy sauce, it has a more mild, and sweet taste.
For the most part, vegans can use soy sauce in their meals without worrying about anything. And for vegans looking for alternatives to soy sauce, there are both gluten and soy-free alternatives.