Mustard, an often vegan condiment, tastes great with all sorts of vegan cuisine such as veg-burgers, sweet potato wedges, wraps, mashed chickpea, salad, and so on. With the rising mass-production culture in the food market, more complicated procedures are implemented in manufacturing mustard. The procedures aim to compose consistent products to attract mass appeal for a brand value, which ultimately drives us far from how we know traditional mustard.
Therefore, it always gets controversial around answering- is mustard vegan? While mostly we should answer with a yes, the tunnel may not end there. Is dijon mustard vegan and is honey mustard vegan? Would leave us wavering between a may-be or may-be not status. The texture of some mustard being smooth and some being gritty does problematize our understanding of ingredients, and some may even question- does mustard have dairy or something? But don’t worry! We’ll clarify it all in this article.
What is a Mustard Sauce made of? – Typical Ingredients
Generally, mustard comes from one of three families of mustard plants identified as black mustard, white/yellow mustard, or brown mustard. Irrespective of the seed used, they are steeped in liquid and then grounded or blended to prepare the paste. Mustard is traditionally made with mustard seeds, vinegar (check vegan status), salt, and spices.
There is a wide range of flavors to experiment with. By balancing the proportion of ingredients in the paste, you can savor a wide range of flavors from spicy to sweet and every combination in between. It also comes in different textures, from smooth to gritty, to whole grain, depending upon the seeds and ingredients used.
While regular mustard is 100% plant-based, not all variants of Mustard are. The reason for it is simple- the process of filtering or extracting certain ingredients, if not the ingredient itself, or cross-contamination might turn this plant-based condiment non-vegan. Here’s a small list for you to get an idea of the variety of mustard available commercially and their status:
- Dijon Mustard: May or may not be Vegan
- Brown Mustard: Vegan
- Stone Ground Mustard: Vegan
- English Mustard: Vegan
- Horseradish Mustard: Vegan
- Honey Mustard: Not Vegan explicitly
- French’s Mustard: Vegan
- Beer Mustard: May or may not be Vegan
- Heinz Mustard: Vegan
- Chinese Hot Mustard: Vegan
- McDonald’s Mustard: May or may not be Vegan
- Grey Poupon Mustard: Vegan
- Subway Spicy Mustard: Vegan
What is Dijon Mustard?
Dijon mustard dawned across the globe from Dijon’s town, capital of the Burgundy region of France. Wines are of regional significance to Burgundy. So making its presence quite prominent in the savor of the region, wines also made their way into mustard. One of Dijon Mustard’s key ingredients is verjuice, which is an acidic liquid made from unripe grapes or sour fruits like apples. Verjuice makes the mustard taste more pungent with a premium spicy boost. So, is Dijon mustard vegan like the regular mustard? Well, no! You must have guessed the culprit we are going to stress upon- it’s the verjuice.
Dijon Mustard vs Regular Mustard
While the verjuice used in mustard preparation is technically made of grape-juice, a vegan-friendly ingredient, the end-product is non-vegan due to the filtering process. The filtering of verjuice is carried out using animal by-products such as casein (milk derivative which is not vegan), albumin (egg whites), isinglass (fish bladder protein), or gelatin (animal protein).
Dijon mustard’s commercial brands mustard in the market may have direct animal products such as egg yolks or honey for consistency and taste. On the other hand, several brands, such as Grey Poupon have replaced verjuice with either white wine or vinegar, which makes the mustard safe for vegans to consume.
Potential non-vegan ingredients in Mustard Sauce
Let’s not bash verjuice alone for being the lone culprit. There are various additives and other unnecessary inclusions that might stand equally at risk of being non-vegan as does verjuice.
Heavily processed mustards may include additives with a number preceded by E, for instance, E415. Many mustards utilize xanthan gum as a stabilizer instead of E numbers which is a thumbs up for vegans.
Also Read: Is E631 Flavor-Enhancer Vegan Food Additive?
Those who know how sugar gets that shiny white color would better clarify how it mostly passes through bone char, derived from cattle. Unless the manufacturer clarifies transparently that the refined sugar is vegan, there are high chances that it is not!
This is the most obvious non-vegan ingredient found in mustard-based dressings, sauces, or condiments. Such ingredients are quite visible on the label; therefore, it is advisable to scrutinize the label before purchase.
4. Cross Contaminations
Some websites that sell mustard do mention that the products listed on their page are uncontroversially vegan. However, the manufacturer may have a different statement about it. Unless the manufacturer could guarantee that their product is suitable for vegans, with no risk of cross-contamination across their non-vegan to vegan product lines, it’s problematic to declare that the mustard is truly vegan.
100% Vegan-friendly Dijon Mustard sauce recipe
100% Vegan-friendly Dijon Mustard sauce recipe
- 1/4 cup Yellow mustard seeds (I omitted these)
- 1/4 cup Brown or black mustard seeds
- 3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 6 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup Water
- 1-1/2 tsp Raw Agave Nectar
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- Soak mustard seeds in water and lemon juice for 24 – 36 hours. Make sure the seeds are well covered with the liquid.
- Combine mustard seeds and liquid with remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender.
- Add water to desired consistency and turmeric for color
- Store in a refrigerator inside an air-tight container for up to 3 weeks
To put it simply, Mustard is a mixture of two important components- mustard seeds and spicy liquid. The commercial pace of food manufacturing indeed puts tremendous pressure on the manufacturers to opt for large scale production, leading to the addition of non-natural materials for longer shelf-life and economical branding. Yet, there is a possibility that not many brands tweak plant-based sauce or condiments into non-vegan dishes.
Perhaps the safest bet is to check directly with the manufacturer of your favorite mustard. Incorporation of vinegar instead of verjuice, replacing E numbers with xanthan gum, and many simple steps are signs of commercial brands trying to present vegan-friendly foods to the customer.
Yet, it is always a safe shot to prepare vegan condiments at home. Not only is it cheaper but it is healthier and reliable. We hope you prepare the vegan mustard recipe at home and find it worth a try!