A Vegan Substitute for Anchovies
Here’s a plant-based way to boost the deep umami flavors in everything from braises to soups.
Anchovies have long been used in Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines to boost savory flavor. We routinely add a small amount to everything from braises and soups to dips and dressings, where they deepen flavor without contributing overt fishiness. We wanted to find a similar umami powerhouse for vegan cooks. After a little experimentation, we landed on a potent combination: miso blended with ground toasted nori (toasting brings out the seaweed’s nutty flavor). Salty, fermented miso is loaded with glutamates, while nori has both glutamates and ribonucleotides (including some of the same ones that are in anchovies). Together, these two types of molecules can dramatically boost savory flavor, enhancing a dish’s overall complexity. (Note: While our Miso-Nori Paste is an excellent sub for anchovies when they’re used to amplify umami, it won’t work in applications where the cured fish is one of the defining flavors.)