I'd have a hard time going vegan, mainly because I'm not a fan of many vegetables. But I have a friend who is vegan, which has made me more interested in the lifestyle overall. Going out to eat with my vegan friend can be tricky, so when we find a place that suits both of our needs it's golden. While enjoying dinner at a vegan restaurant in Berkeley, one of the dishes came out with mustard drizzled on top. I was totally shook, because I thought mustard contained animal products. I frantically googled 'is mustard vegan' to double check that it was safe for my friend to eat. As it turns out, I worried for nothing.

What Is Mustard?

juice, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup
Bernard Wen

Mustard is truly "the spice of the nations" because it's been cultivated around the world for centuries. Americans primarily identify mustard as the yellow substance they squeeze onto their food, but there are so many more varieties of mustard you can enjoy. 

Making mustard is one of the easiest DIYs, like ever. Its base ingredients are mustard seeds, water, sugar, and some sort of acid (such as beer or wine). Once combined, you let it soak for two days, blend it, and that's it! You made mustard. Depending on whether you want to make brown or yellow mustard, the acid base and spices you use will vary. 

Is Mustard Vegan?

Apart from Dijon and honey mustard, yes, mustard is vegan. With simple ingredients like vinegar, salt, spices, and mustard seeds, it's very hard for it not to be vegan. Even xanthan gum, a thickener found in some mustards, isn't derived from animal products.

Dijon and honey mustard are exceptions because honey might not be considered vegan, and Dijon mustard is made with white wine. White wine itself is vegan, but during the production process wine is filtered using animal-based fining agents such as casein, albumin, gelatin, and isinglass

#SpoonTip: Although most mustards are made without sugar, some are processed with added sugars that are refined with bone char, meaning that they are not vegan. Do your research ahead of time to find a mustard that's 100% vegan.

Vegan Mustard Recipes

Now that you've gained some new knowledge on this versatile condiment, are you ready to try it out? Not only is this vegan potato salad with mustard dressing curated by a chef, but it's also extremely Instagrammable. Not into potato salad? Check out this creamy, vegan Dijon mustard cauliflower salad that's also gluten-free. As previously mentioned, not eating meat is hard work for me, but I can easily be fooled into eating this lentil burger with mustard sauce. It looks like a regular burger, but it's secretly vegan.

As one of the pickiest eaters in my family, I like to eat most of my foods plain, but lately I've really been expanding my taste palate more than my younger self would've ever imagined. Going to that vegan restaurant with my friend really blew my mind that vegetables could taste like other foods when cooked and seasoned the right way. I just might have to incorporate mustard into more of my cooking.