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Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan? Explore Its Ingredients & Find Out The Answer In 2024
If you’re a fan of Chinese and Vietnamese cooking, you’ve probably encountered a thick, fragrant condiment called hoisin sauce. With its salty, sweet flavor, hoisin sauce can be used in stir-fries, as a veggie marinade, or as a dipping sauce. But if you’re following a vegan diet, you may wonder: Is hoisin sauce vegan?
The good news is, in most cases — yes. However, it’s important to carefully read product labels as some hoisin sauces contain animal ingredients.
This article discusses everything you need to know about hoisin sauce, including its vegan status and ingredients. It also provides tips on how to choose a vegan-friendly hoisin sauce.
Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan Friendly?
Yes. Most of the hoisin sauces you will find at your local supermarket are indeed vegan-friendly.
However, some varieties contain honey, oyster sauce, and other animal products. They may also contain artificial colorings that have been tested on animals.
When in doubt, choose a hoisin sauce labeled vegan.
Is Hoisin Sauce Considered Vegan?
So, is hoisin vegan?
Interestingly, hoisin is Chinese for seafood. This understandably leads some people to believe it contains fish or seafood. However, it typically doesn’t contain any animal ingredients.
So, if you’re following a vegan diet, you’ll be happy to learn that hoisin sauce is considered a vegan food. It’s made with a fermented soybean paste, garlic, vinegar, and other plant-based ingredients.
Note that hoisin sauce should not be confused with fish sauce, which contains fish and therefore is not vegan.
Furthermore, some hoisin sauces may contain oyster sauce and other animal ingredients which are not compliant with a vegan diet.
To ensure your product is vegan-friendly, closely check the product label and choose a hoisin sauce labeled “vegan.” You can also read the ingredient label or contact the manufacturer if you’re unsure. Ask your server if their hoisin sauce contains animal ingredients when dining out.
What Is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin sauce, also known as Chinese barbecue sauce, is a reddish brown sauce used in Asian cuisine. It’s commonly used as a marinade or a dipping sauce for spring rolls, lettuce wraps, and dumplings. Many people also use hoisin sauce in stir-fries or as a glaze over meat.
Hoisin sauce has a salty, slightly sweet flavor that some consider a saltier version of American barbeque sauce. It looks similar to dark brown ketchup but with a thicker consistency.
Hoisin Sauce Ingredients
Hoisin sauce typically contains a combination of plant-based ingredients, including:
- Soybeans or miso.
- Sesame oil.
- Chili peppers or chili paste.
- Sugar or another sweetener.
- Corn or tapioca starch.
- Xanthan gum.
- Artificial coloring and preservatives.
The exact ingredients will vary by brand and recipe, but these main ingredients contribute to the hoisin sauce’s tangy, sweet flavor.
Controversy Around Ingredients In Hoisin Sauce
Although hoisin sauce doesn’t typically contain animal ingredients, many brands of hoisin sauce contain artificial colors.
Some artificial colors are commonly tested on animals. As such, many vegans choose to avoid artificial colors.
You can avoid artificial colors in hoisin sauce by carefully reading the ingredient label or making your own homemade sauce.
Lastly, some varieties of hoisin sauce are sweetened with honey. Because honey comes from an animal, it is not considered vegan-friendly.
Homemade Hoisin Sauce Recipe
You can easily make your own homemade vegan hoisin sauce using a few simple ingredients, including:
- Four to five large Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of miso paste
- ½ tablespoon of peanut butter
- 1 minced garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon of chili hot sauce
- ¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- Add Medjool dates to a bowl of hot water, allowing the dates to soak until softened. Use a blender or food processor to blend the dates until a paste forms.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until the lumps are gone and a thick paste forms.
Make your hoisin sauce gluten-free by substituting tamari sauce for soy sauce or using gluten-free soy sauce.
You can store hoisin sauce in the fridge for up to one month.
How To Use Vegan Hoisin Sauce
You can substitute vegan hoisin sauce in most dishes that call for barbeque sauce. It can also be incorporated into many other healthy dishes, including:
- Noodles: Add two tablespoons of hoisin sauce to noodles and greens for a flavorful side dish. Pair with a vegan meal replacement bar for a complete meal.
- Stir-fry: Create a vegetable stir-fry rich in vitamins and minerals. Add a tablespoon or two of vegan hoisin sauce to cooked broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, and baby corn.
- Grilled veggie skewers: Thread onion, bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, and mushrooms onto skewers. Cook on a preheated grill until veggies are tender. Brush with hoisin sauce before serving.
- Veggie wraps: Make veggie wraps by brushing grilled veggies with hoisin sauce and rolling them up in a toasted tortilla.
- Tofu: Make a healthy vegan meal by roasting tofu cubes in a pan. Stir in hoisin sauce and cook for a few extra minutes.
If you follow a vegan diet, you may be happy to learn that hoisin sauce is vegan-friendly. However, some varieties contain honey and oyster sauce, which are not compliant with a vegan diet. In addition, some contain artificial colors that have been tested on animals.
So if you’re concerned about whether a “vegan-friendly” hoisin sauce is truly vegan, the best thing to do is to check the ingredient list or buy one with a vegan label.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most hoisin sauces are vegan as they do not contain any animal ingredients. However, some varieties contain honey and food colorings that have been tested on animals.
Most of the time, hoisin sauce is vegan. However, some varieties are prepared with honey, oyster sauce, and other animal-based ingredients. Always carefully read the product label to ensure your hoisin sauce complies with a vegan diet.
Hoisin sauce typically has a soybean base, vinegar, garlic, and other plant-based ingredients.
Generally speaking, soy sauce is vegan-friendly and contains no animal products. However, some manufacturers add ingredients derived from seafood to enhance the flavor of soy sauce. Carefully read the ingredient list to ensure your soy sauce is vegan-friendly.
+ 3 sources
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