If you follow a vegan diet, can you add horseradish to your food? Does this common condiment have any kind of animal byproduct in it?
The Short Answer:
Prepared horseradish and horseradish root are perfect for a vegan diet, but horseradish sauce is not.
The Long Answer:
If you’re a vegan, you’re often looking for safe condiments that can help you accentuate the flavors of your food. Horseradish is a powerful accent to most meals, and great news, it’s a vegetable.
That’s right, horseradish contains no horse, so don’t worry on that front, vegans.
Horseradish is a root vegetable, like a beet or a carrot. That means the edible part of the plant is found in its root. If you picked a horseradish and held it up to your nose, you would not smell anything. That’s surprising given the powerful aroma that is associated with this plant.
That’s because the kick that we know and love so well in horseradish products is a defense mechanism of the plant. It’s like a skunk. Normally, a skunk doesn’t have that powerful smell that it’s known for. But if another animal threatens it, the skunk releases its smell to drive the creature away.
Horseradish contains a solution within that creates a strong smell and taste. This is meant to drive herbivores away after they take a bite out of it. So, while smelling the plant won’t yield that signature flavor, cutting into it or grating it would.
Because that flavor only intensifies with time, humans have taken to mixing grated horseradish root with salt, sugar, and vinegar to create what we know as prepared horseradish. This can be a condiment on its own or used as an ingredient in other recipes. And what’s more, it’s perfectly in line with a vegan diet.
Horseradish sauce, however, is not.
Horseradish sauce is prepared horseradish mixed with a number of other ingredients, which create a creamy dressing. One common ingredient in horseradish sauce is egg yolk, which as an animal product is 100% not allowed on a vegan diet.
So, while vegans are free to enjoy the wonders of prepared horseradish, they have to steer clear of horseradish sauce. As always, it’s important to check out the labels on anything that you buy before eating it to ensure that the food companies are not sneaking in animal byproducts.
What is your favorite vegan recipe containing horseradish? How do you use it most? Comment below and let us know!