19 vegan spices that are better than the real ones

What makes a sandwich, burger, sausage, or party spread? spices. It’s the secret sauce, sour cream, and ranch dressing that really makes your taste buds sing and tempts you to come back for another bite. While these traditional dips, dressings, and spreads often contain sneaky animal ingredients, we’ve found exceptional store-bought, vegan options for each one. From authentic Vegenaise to fish-free peanut sauce, here are 19 great vegan spices that are better than the real thing.

follow your heart

1 Follow your heart Vegenaise

Vegetarians have the self-proclaimed hippie founders of Follow Your Heart Café to thank for creating the original vegan condiment: Vegenaise. Developed in 1970 for the café’s avocado, tomato, and sprout sandwich, it’s a vegan offering of mayonnaise for customers who quickly ordered it from the jar. While other brands have produced their own vegan mayonnaise in the 50 years since its inception, Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise remains the beloved original.
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Vegetarian NewsPrayers

2 Dairy Free Mustard Flavored Sauce

Given the burgeoning vegan chicken, it’s only appropriate to keep a bottle of vegan honey mustard on hand. This sauce is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sweetness and kick. Dip into your favorite vegan chicken nuggets, sprinkle them over home baked potatoes, or pour over a huge salad for a signature honey-mustard taste.
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Vegetarian News Banchanbanchan

3 The original Japanese barbecue sauce from Banchan

Depending on where you grew up and where you live now, you likely have an association with a particular style of barbecue sauce. Many store-bought versions are mistakenly vegan, and there’s a good chance the brand you love is animal-free, but some sauces contain non-vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and/or honey. Check the label of your favorite brand or try this balanced blend from Banchan.
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Vegetablesprimitive kitchen

4 Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise with Rosemary and Garlic (Aioli)

What is the difference between mayonnaise and aioli? $3 at a restaurant. Garlic mayonnaise and mayonnaise, vegetarian aioli easily. Check out the Primal Kitchen brand or mix some garlic paste into any bowl of vegan mayonnaise you buy at the store.
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5 Trader Joe’s Vigan Kale, Cashew Nuts, and Basil Pesto

Pesto has to be vegan, but brands and chefs often can’t help but put Parmesan cheese where it doesn’t belong. TJ’s Pesto version is a safe, plant-based product for when you don’t want to step out of the food processor to make your own. For us, that is most days.

Vegetarian NewsMono-origin foods

6 hot honey

This sweet and spicy condiment is on-trend. Famous for the fried chicken craze, pizzaiolos soon sipped hot honey to accentuate their spicy pepperoni pies. Admittedly, we haven’t yet found a store-bought vegan version, but one can successfully recreate it at home by whisking vegan honey together (try Un-Honey) with a teaspoon or two of hot sauce. Test the spice level as you go!
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vegetables.  good karmaGood behavior

7 Good French Onion Sauce Karma

If you use anything other than potato chips to get this spread, you’re doing the French onion dipping wrong. The fried and crunchy variety is the only chip strong enough to stand up to that strong, thick dip. No chips? Sturdy raw vegetables and vegetable wings are enough bowls to transport this onion-roasted dip from tub to mouth.
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vegetarian.  vegan farmHidden Valley Ranch

8 Hidden Valley Planet Power Ranch

Whether you sprinkle it on top of a vegan pizza or reserve it exclusively for salads, this herbal condiment is a botanical victory. There are countless iterations of quality vegan farmhouse seasonings and dips, but we have to highlight the brand that got us hooked in the first place: Hidden Valley. Yes, they have made a vegan farm now. It’s 2021, after all.
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Vegetarian Newsforage project

9 vegan fodder sour cream

Sour cream is like country music – people have strong opinions about it. It’s love or hate some kind of spice, but if you’re Team Sour Cream, this vegan product totally gets it. Would you rather buy it in the store? Follow Your Heart and Forager offer excellent dairy-free renderings for this thick, refreshing dip.
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Botanical News.  NobelNoble made

10 Buffalo sauce made from Noble

When it comes to chicken wings, the most important thing is not what the wings are actually made of, but the sauce they are dipped in. Serve carnivorous fried tofu or a store-bought vegan chicken wing drizzled with fire, a tangy buffalo sauce and none of it would be wiser.
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vegetablesraw mother

11 Caesar Dressing & Raw Organic Mother’s Day Dressing

Once you know that traditional Caesar dressing is made with whole, blended anchovies, it’s hard to enjoy, even if you’re not a vegetarian. Liquefied fish is just a bit unconvincing for most people. Fortunately, a variety of vegan brands have nailed the creamy umami essence to this popular sauce—no need to mix the fish. Brands like Mother Raw replicate that salty flavor with capers and lock in texture with an emulsion of olive oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar.
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vegetable vegetablesHLTHPUNK

12 HLTHPUNK’s UFO Vegan Burger Sauce (Secret Sauce)

Spoiler alert: That secret sauce that’s so good you lick it off your forearm as you roll it down? It’s not a secret at all. It’s basically Thousand Island sauce with pickle juice and sweeteners. It’s possible to make your own, but in a pinch, we get to this store-bought tube of awesome every burger night.
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Vegetarian NewsKate Hill

13 Tzatziki

It’s hard to spell, it’s easy to become a vegetarian. This yogurt sauce is made with almond milk, cucumber, garlic, dill, and lemon juice. Try it drizzled over pita sandwiches, falafel, and Mediterranean-style gravy.
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Vegetarian Newsand cherry

14 Watcharee Thai Peanut Sauce

Let’s make one thing clear: Peanut sauce is not softened peanut butter. The best complex peanut sauces. It’s nutty, salty, sour, sweet, and a whisper of umami. Most bottled varieties achieve this flavor profile with honey and fish sauce, but Watcharee does it differently. The flavor consists of peanut butter, coconut milk, lemon juice, tamarind, coconut sugar, curry paste, and a blend of other spices for a peanut sauce that rivals any animal-based competitor.
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Vegetarian Newsfollow your heart

15th Follow your heart’s tartar sauce

Tartar sauce is like mayonnaise—it’s deceptively dairy-free, but it does have an annoying egg ingredient. When dipping fish sticks made with tofu, try reaching for a jar of tartar sauce to follow your heart (or make your own). Pro tip: This big dip is also exceptional with vegan pups, which are basically fried cornbread on the go.
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Vegetarian NewsEarth Balance

16 Earth Balance Butter

Except for our failed homemade attempt, there was no margarine we never liked. There are a plethora of options—salted and unsalted, palm oil-free, cashew-based, and oat-based—but when it comes to everyday butter, we know we can find it at almost any grocery store, it’s Earth Balance. No matter what brand you go for, put it on thick, because it’s bound to be good.
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Vegetables, micos, cream, cheeseCreamery in Myoko

17 Miyoko cashew milk cream cheese

For a thick, velvety cream cheese that sticks to your teeth, reach for a myoko tub. This cashew-based spread is for those who measure thickness in centimeters, or dare we say half an inch? It’s for the one who licks the knife after greasing it, subtly avoiding the serrated edge while collecting every last piece of cream cheese from the pot. The brand offers flavor for everyone including Classic Plain, Savory Scallion, Everything, Fish-Free Lox, and Cinnamon Raisin.
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18 wild korean kimchi

Wildbrine is known for its gut-friendly products and kraut, and showcases its brewing prowess. The brand makes three different types of kimchi, but this Korean style is the most realistic with pickled napa cabbage in fish sauce that we grew to love in the pre-vegetarian days. Radish lovers, pick up the horseradish kimchi miso – just be prepared, one bite will clear your sinuses.
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vegetarianLuca foods

19 LOCA Queso

It’s hard to find even a good dairy-based queso, but LOCA shows off this addictive spicy cheese, and does it with the humble potato. Don’t ask how, just have fun. Get your vegan nachos, tacos and tortilla chips ready!
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For more essential plant products, read:
25 Unintentionally Vegan Snacks You Can Find At Almost Any Convenience Store
The essential botanical guide to pantry staples
Over 70 Essential Products at Trader Joes

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