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Is Soy Sauce Vegan?

Last Updated on August 23, 2023

Is soy sauce vegan? Traditional soy sauce is a fermented soybean dressing used in many Asian dishes and culinary delights.

There are not many companies offering alternative soy sauce recipes. Let’s dive into more about soy sauce.

Is Soy Sauce Vegan?

Yes, soy sauce is vegan-friendly.

Most soy sauce made with ingredients like soybeans, wheat, and salt is vegan-friendly but may not be gluten-free.

However, some manufacturers use flavor enhancers derived from honey, fish, or meat that compromise soy sauce’s vegan status.

If you’re looking for a vegan soy sauce, make sure to check the label carefully. But Overall, soy sauce is a delicious and vegan-friendly condiment!

Soy Sauce, What Is It?

Soy sauce is a dark-colored dressing made of soybeans, grains, and mold, and has a strong umami flavor associated with it.

Originally from Asia, soy sauce accompanies many stir fries, soups, or rice-based dishes like sushi.

Dishes like Vegan Yakisoba, Yaki udon, and Pad See Ew use soy sauce as a base. Bitter Melon Soup and Vegan Pho use soy sauce in their broth.

Chop Suey, a tofu vegetable stir-fry, uses soy sauce in the stir-fry sauce and as a topping for deep-fried Puffed Tofu or Vegan Dumplings.

Soy sauce is a common dipping sauce in Asia.

An original soy sauce recipe uses a fermentation process. This fermentation process includes bringing the soybeans and mold mixture into a saltwater bath for an extended period.

The result is a sauce with a thick syrup-like consistency that intensifies the flavor in dishes like dumplings, sushi, and lo mein.

Brining is the process of soaking food items in a water bath. Brining is used to add and extract salts depending on the recipe.

For soy sauce, brining helps to add salt to the mixture which helps the fermentation process.

What is Soy Sauce Made Of?

Main soy sauce ingredients include soybeans, wheat, mold, and a brining process that involves a lot of salt and water.

Yes, you read that correctly, soy sauce made traditionally includes mold- Koji mold (the same fungus used in miso paste).

Many Asian plant-based meals and brews such as Sake use Koji mold. Koji mold is a fungus that helps soybeans ferment when breaking down into sauce form.

It is vegan-friendly as Koji mold is extracted from rice grains and has been used as far back as the mid-19th century.

Now, many modern-day soy sauces especially from larger manufacturers have a chemical base that involves acids like lactic acid and additional chemicals.

They help to extend shelf life and freshness. Although chemical use is up, many brands like Kikkoman and Yamasa use traditional recipes.

How Is It Made?

You make soy sauce by mixing soybeans and wheat and then adding mold, yeast, and salt to begin the fermentation process.

Traditionally, the mixture was naturally fermented in large urns and under the sun, which added to its flavor. As of today, incubation chambers are temperature-controlled and humidity-controlled.

The ingredients may ferment anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the soy sauce recipe.

In raw soy sauce, yeasts and molds are eliminated by heating and fine particulates can be removed by filtering. Thereafter, the soy sauce can be then aged or bottled directly for sale.

Different Types Of Soy Sauce

There are many different types of soy sauce available today, each with its own unique flavor profile.

Light or regular soy sauce is the most common type and has a milder flavor than other varieties.

Dark soy sauce is aged longer and has a richer flavor and darker color.

Sweet soy sauce is a sweeter variety that adds depth of flavor to dishes.

Tamari is a gluten-free version made without wheat and has a richer taste than traditional soy sauce.

Finally, low-sodium and gluten-free versions are also available for those looking to reduce their sodium intake while still enjoying the delicious flavor of this classic condiment.

Non-Vegan Ingredients In Soy Sauce

This dark sauce is a popular condiment used in many dishes, but unfortunately, not all soy sauce is vegan-friendly.

Soy sauce typically contains ingredients such as wheat, which is usually made with animal-derived enzymes; anchovies, which are fish; and other animal-based ingredients like bonito flakes. 

While most brands of soy sauce are vegan-friendly, it’s always important to read the label carefully to make sure that no animal products have been added.

Additionally, many vegans opt for tamari instead of soy sauce since it is made from fermented soybeans rather than wheat and does not contain any animal byproducts. 

Regardless of what type of soy sauce you decide to use, it’s important to remember that not all soy sauces are vegan-friendly and that you should always double-check the label before purchasing or consuming any product.

Vegan Soy Sauce Brands and Substitutes

There are a few vegan soy sauce brands on the market that are worth your time and money.

Lee Kum Kee

Lee Kum Kee is an international fan favorite amongst the plant-based community and offers a vegetarian stir-fry sauce that resembles traditional soy sauce and is delicious! It’s my favorite soy sauce for cooking.

Note: Lee Kum Kee’s Vegetarian Stir-Fry sauce has a mushroom flavor which is important to know for anyone suffering from mushroom allergies.

Kikkoman soy sauce

Kikkoman soy sauce is also a favorite among the vegan community as the sauce pairs well with sushi and wheat-based products.

Kikkoman also makes a light soy sauce for vegans or anyone watching their sodium intake.

Other alternatives are San-J Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce, ABC Sweet Soy Sauce, and Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos Teriyaki Sauce.

Coconut aminos is a soy-free substitute to traditional soy sauce as it resembles the original taste and texture very well.

Is there anything else you need to know more about? Comment below and let us know what you think.😊

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