There are a handful of condiments that you are likely to find in most Americans’ fridges. Near the top of this shortlist is mustard—the perfect vinegary, zesty, yellow addition to salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and dips.
But, if you’re following a vegan diet, you may hesitate before adding this standby to your meal. Given how often seemingly animal-free foods end up being not suitable for vegans, this hesitance is warranted.
So, is mustard vegan? Yes, plain mustard is vegan, as are most other varieties with the exceptions of honey mustard and, sometimes, Dijon.
Below, we’ll tell you more about these exceptions, share some of our favorite mustard-centric vegan dishes, and give you our exclusive homemade vegan mustard recipe.
What Is Mustard?
The central ingredient to any bottle of mustard is mustard seed. This pungent, bitter seed comes from mustard plants, which include many closely related species in the family Brassicaceae. Originally found in Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, these plants are now cultivated around the world and have been found growing as far north as Greenland.
Mustard the condiment is made by mixing whole, ground, or smashed mustard seed with vinegar, lemon juice, or sometimes wine, and other spices. The first evidence of mustard seed cultivation goes back to the Indus Valley around 1850 BC. The first recorded recipe for mustard came from the Romans around the fourth century.
Is Mustard Vegan?
Most mustard is made of a handful of simple ingredients in addition to mustard seeds. These usually include vinegar or another acidic liquid, salt, and spices. Traditional yellow mustard, brown mustard, spicy mustard, and most other varieties follow this basic formulation and are all vegan.
Honey mustard is the most obvious exception to this. For those who follow a strict no-animal-products diet, honey is considered non-vegan, which means mustard containing honey should be avoided.
The other possible exception is Dijon mustard. This is the one variety that is most often made using wine as the acidic liquid base. Most wine is not vegan because it is processed using animal-based fining agents like bone char.
While you can find certified vegan wines, these aren’t likely to be the brands that went into making your Dijon mustard. So, it is best to forego the Dijon and honey varieties if you follow a vegan diet.
Our Favorite Mustard-Centric Vegan Recipes
Excited to learn that most mustard is vegan? Looking for a way to celebrate with some mustardy vegan recipes? We’ve got you covered.
Here are 5 of our favorite vegan recipes where mustard plays a starring role.
- Vegan Egg Salad – This vegan take on classic egg salad uses tofu in place of eggs. But we all know the real star is the tangy yellow mustard.
- Easy Carrot Bacon – Substitute some maple syrup for the honey and certified vegan Dijon for the mustard, and you’ve got insanely good vegan carrot bacon.
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich – This awesome chickpea sandwich recipe says that mustard is optional, but we’d highly recommend it. In fact, feel free to keep things interesting by trying different varieties like spicy and whole grain.
- Vegan Potato Salad – Vegan mayo may be the most abundant condiment in this potato salad, but it’s the mustard that adds the zest.
- Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Soup – You won’t be able to taste the mustard in this soup, but it really does make all the difference in that final tangy, umami flavor. This is another recipe where you’ll want to make sure you use certified vegan Dijon.
Homemade Vegan Mustard
- ¾ cup ground mustard powder
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. The mustard should be much thicker. Continue simmering until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in a jar or other sealable container and refrigerate. Mustard will last in the fridge for up to a year, but it may begin to separate and require a quick stir before using.
About the Author
Sara Seitz is a freelance writer living with type 1 diabetes. Her search for better health and better control of her blood sugars led her to a plant-based diet. When she isn’t experimenting with new vegan recipes, she’s helping spread the word about how plant-based is better for people and the planet. More articles by Sara.