When cooking vegetarian and vegan food, it is really important to find ways to pack your dishes with flavour. Here are a few simple ways to do this.
Using fresh or dried herbs can really lift recipes. It’s down to personal taste, but essentially, you need aromatic and woody herbs on hand. You can either grow your own, on a windowsill or outdoors, buy bunches of herbs and keep in the fridge or freezer, or buy pots of dried herbs.
I find that fresh herbs pack a better punch, but I won’t disown you for using dried!
My favourite herbs to use are:
Basil – aromatic, with a slight anise flavour
Coriander – aromatic and peppery
Mint – aromatic, good for digestion, makes great tea too!
Rosemary – woody and deep, great with mushrooms
Thyme – woody but light
Spices come in powdered, fresh and seed form. A little goes a long way as they pack a punch. Here are a few that I use regularly.
Cinnamon – I tend to use ground cinnamon or sticks, which I leave to infuse in the pan.
Cumin – I use this in curries, in ground form. You can also buy the seeds.
Ginger – I buy fresh root, break it into inches and keep it in the freezer. I also use ground.
Turmeric – Great in curries, a bright yellow colour.
Chillies – store in the freezer to keep them fresh. The heat is in the membrane.
Aromatics give food a lift, season and help to balance flavours. I’ve included general seasonings in this category too.
Citrus – Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit all add acid and balance out creaminess
Soy Sauce – adds a salty flavour, comes in dark and light forms
Honey – Adds sweetness
Agave Nectar – a vegan alternative to honey