Ghee is present in many Indian and Thai dishes. Is ghee something that vegans can enjoy? Is it actually considered dairy and thus on the list of banned vegan foods?
The Short Answer
No, ghee is not a vegan food.
The Long Answer
With its nutty flavor, there are many who believe that ghee can be an excellent addition to a vegan diet. However, those people would be wrong. While containing almost no traces of lactose, as we determined, ghee is still a form of clarified butter. Since butter is made from milk (usually by churning cream) it is an animal byproduct and thus not allowed on a vegan diet.
Vegans adhere to very specific dietary restrictions, the most important of which bans all animal products and byproducts. While this eliminates obvious foods like meat, it also extends to eggs and dairy, as they come from an animal.
Many vegans substitute canola oils or coconut oil for ghee when cooking. While these aren’t the same thing, and will lack ghee’s signature nutty flavoring, the consistency is similar and it is a passable replacement. If it’s the nutty flavor you’re craving, I would suggest taking some cashews and browning them over low heat, then grinding them up and adding them to your sauces.