Vegan Sources of Umami

Good cooks will all instinctively know about balancing the tastes; sweet, sour, salty and bitter, but there’s a very important 5th taste, umami, that is trickier to describe. The Japanese translation of ‘umami’ is a delicious savouriness – but how is that different from salty?

I would describe it as a sort of humming background flavour, rich and rounded, associated with broths and meat, but it is also very prevalent in plants. Umami is found in foods that contain a high level of glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid. Although many of these foods are animal products, it does occur in plant based foods too, so no one needs to miss out on the 5th taste. Here are some plant based ways to get more umami in your life.

Seasoning, Spices & Herbs

Use spices like smoked paprika, cumin and coriander seeds to impart a smokey, meaty umami to many dishes. Toast the spices before adding them to your dish to release the oils and make the most of all that flavour.

Green tea (and black tea) is umami rich, add it as a secret ingredient in your brothy soups and stews for an extra layer of flavour. Try brewing an umami rich broth of green tea, dried mushrooms and dried seaweed. Drain, stir in some miso paste and enjoy with vegetables, silken tofu and noodles.

Nutritional yeast brings umami in a cheesy form, it’s a great replacement for parmesan cheese. Use it to sprinkle over popcorn, risotto, soups or pasta, or whisk it into a vegan cheese sauce.

Mustard, miso, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil…all make brilliant seasonings or marinades to add umami to your vegetables.


Mushrooms, seaweed, tomatoes, onions, garlic, broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, celery and more are all naturally high in delicious glutamates.

Dried vegetables have an even more concentrated supply so think about adding dried mushrooms, tomatoes and seaweed into your dishes for an extra layer of flavour. Tomato puree is another way to get a concentrated dose of umami.

Fermenting or cooking your vegetables in certain ways adds even more umami deliciousness! Read more about that below.

Fermented Foods

Fermented vegetables go far beyond sauerkraut and kimchi. Think about adding miso, soy sauce, wine, dark vinegars, beer, kombucha, mustard, olives, chocolate, coffee, capers…to your cooking. All these mouthwatering fermented foods are mouthwatering for a reason.

Cooking Techniques

The way you prepare a vegetable can markedly affect its flavour. Think about the difference between a boiled Brussels sprout and a roasted one. Roasting, grilling, pan frying, charring, smoking, barbecuing, caramelising…all these techniques will increase that essential umami flavour in your dish.

Toasted or caramelised flavours are so good! Add toasted sesame oil and toasted seeds to your meals for an instant savoury hit.

A Green Earth Christmas

I think it’s safe to say that this Christmas we are all in need of a little extra cheer. So we have put together some really lovely gift ideas for you and hope to take a little of the stress out of your Christmas shopping.

Buy yourself a treat or get us to deliver a box of goodness to a loved one. We deliver nation wide. You could even get us to deliver to wherever you’ll be over the holidays. Get preordering now here and do bear in mind that, as Christmas day falls on a Friday this year, there will be some changes to your usual delivery days – so please get organised for that now. We would hate to disappoint any of our wonderful customers so please do get in touch with any amendments, delivery address changes, add-ons and more sooner rather than later.

All the details can be found on our X-mas tab.

As well as beautiful boxes of festive fruit and vegetables which, if you preorder, will arrive on the week of the 21st December, you can also order a carefully curated hamper from us. We have put together a few selections to suit you. And as an added bonus, all our hampers come in one of our beautiful tote bags. How about this popular chocolate and wine hamper?

Or a vegan hamper filled with our favourite plant based products? That fermented cashew-cheese has to be tasted to be believed!

For the localvore in your life we have an Irish hamper. That Achill Island sea salt is award winning, flakey perfection and we love that it comes in a cute glass jar! So may ways to re-use it.

Are you after some special pantry products for the discerning foodie in your life? Try our pantry eco hamper. The Olvia Greek olive oil is so delicious and goes perfectly with the balsamic vinegar for a simple-but-sophisticated salad dressing.

And there are many more easy options on our X-mas tab. We also offer gift vouchers if you would like to introduce someone to us or to pay for their next delivery.

From all of us here at Green Earth Organics, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to us.