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Vegan Dashi Recipe – A Japanese Cuisine

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Let’s dive into the savory world of our Vegan Dashi Recipe! This umami-rich broth is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and now you can make it vegan-friendly. Simply simmer dried kombu seaweed and shiitake mushrooms in water until fragrant and flavorful.

Strain and your homemade dashi are ready to use as a base for soups, stews, and other delicious dishes. It’s a simple yet essential recipe for any plant-based kitchen!

WHY IT WORKS?

  • Acts as a versatile base, enhancing subtle flavor in various vegan recipes, from soups to sauces.
  • Simple to prepare, making it an accessible option for home cooks aiming for gourmet tastes.
  • Supports a plant-based diet, aligning with sustainable and ethical eating practices.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Finding the perfect base for vegan dishes can often feel like a quest for the elusive. Traditional broths often rely on animal products, leaving plant-based enthusiasts bound. Enter the solution: a vegan dashi recipe that promises to revolutionize your cooking. 

In my journey to embrace a vegan lifestyle, the challenge of replicating the deep, savory flavors found in traditional Japanese cooking without compromising my values led me to this discovery.

This vegan dashi, made from simple, wholesome ingredients like kombu and shiitake mushrooms, offers a rich, umami-packed base that’s not just a substitute but a standout in its own right. It’s a game-changer for anyone looking to elevate their vegan culinary creations.

Vegan Dashi Recipe

What Is Vegan Dashi? 

Vegan dashi is a plant-based version of the traditional Japanese dashi broth, which is pivotal in many Japanese dishes for its deep umami flavor.

Instead of fish flakes and other animal products, vegan dashi relies on additional ingredients like kombu (dried kelp) and dried shiitake mushrooms. These elements infuse the broth with a rich, savory taste without using any animal derivatives.

Vegan dashi serves as an essential foundation for soups, stews, and sauces, offering a complex flavor profile that enhances the best taste buds of vegan and vegetarian dishes. It’s a cornerstone for cooking tips that prioritizes health and ethical dietary choices.

Quick Fact – Kombu, a key ingredient in vegan dashi, contains glutamic acid, a natural source of umami, making it a staple in Japanese cooking for its flavor-enhancing properties.

Vegan Dashi Recipe

Recipe Directions

To Cold Brew the Vegan Dashi (Mizudashi)

  • Place 1 piece of kombu and 2 dried shiitake mushrooms in a large bottle.
  • Add 4 cups of water.
  • Seal the bottle with a cap. Let it steep on the counter for at least 30 minutes to extract the flavors. For enhanced extraction, let it steep for 2–3 hours in the summer or 4–5 hours in the winter. Optionally, cold brew overnight in the refrigerator.
  • After steeping, the cold brew Vegan Dashi is ready. You may remove the kombu and shiitake now or proceed to the next step to extract more flavor.

To Extract More Flavor

  • Transfer the cold brew Vegan Dashi, kombu, and shiitake to a medium pot.
  • Heat on medium-low, bringing it to a bare simmer over 10 minutes. Skim any foam from the surface with a fine-mesh skimmer.
  • Remove the kombu and shiitake just before the dashi starts boiling to avoid becoming slimy and bitter.
  • Strain the dashi through a fine-mesh sieve. Your Vegan Dashi is now ready to use.

To Store

  • If not used immediately, store the Vegan Dashi in a bottle or airtight container in the refrigerator for 4–5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Use sooner for the best flavor.
  • To Use the Spent Kombu and Shiitake
  • Store spent kombu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for a month. Use it to make Simmered Kombu (Kombu Tsukudani) or Homemade Furikake (Rice Seasoning).
  • Remove the tough stems and use the rehydrated mushrooms as fresh shiitake in your recipes for the spent shiitake.

Vegan Dashi Recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Variations

  • Shōyu Dashi: Add a splash of soy sauce to the finished dashi for a deeper flavor and a hint of saltiness.
  • Mirin Dashi: Incorporate a small amount of mirin (sweet rice wine) to introduce a subtle sweetness and complexity.
  • Miso Dashi: Stir in miso paste after removing the dashi from the heat for a rich, fermented undertone. Avoid boiling the dashi after adding miso to preserve its probiotics and flavor.

Add-Ons

  • Seaweed: In addition to kombu, you can add other types of seaweed, like wakame or nori, after the dashi is prepared for added minerals and textures.
  • Fresh Vegetables: Thinly sliced scallions, mushrooms (other than shiitake), or carrots can be added for additional flavors and nutrients.
  • Tofu: Soft or silken tofu cubes make a great addition, providing protein and making the broth more substantial.
  • Grains: Cooked rice, barley, or quinoa can be added to the good dashi to create a hearty soup or stew.

Vegan Dashi Recipe

Toppings

  • Herbs: Chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or dill can freshen up the dish and add color.
  • Sesame Seeds: A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds on top of dishes prepared with vegan dashi stock adds a nutty flavor and crunch.
  • Chili Oil or Flakes: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, chili oil or red pepper flakes make an excellent garnish.
  • Lemon Zest: A touch of lemon zest can brighten the flavors and add a refreshing citrus note.

Vegan Dashi Recipe

Vegetable Substitutions

  • Mushrooms (especially Portobello and Shiitake) – Great for replacing beef or pork due to their meaty texture and umami flavor.
  • Jackfruit (young, green) – Works well as a substitute for shredded chicken or pork, particularly in tacos or sandwiches.
  • Eggplant – Can mimic the texture of fish when sliced and seasoned, perfect for vegan fish dishes.
  • Cauliflower – A versatile substitute that can replace chicken in many recipes, also great for making vegan buffalo wings.
  • Lentils – Ideal for ground beef, especially in sauces, stews, and as a filling for tacos or wraps.
  • Chickpeas – Can replace tuna flakes in salads or chicken in curries, adding protein and texture.
  • Tofu and Tempeh – Excellent for replacing meat in almost any dish, offering a high-protein content and the ability to absorb flavors well.
  • Beets – Their earthy flavor and texture make them a good substitute for red meat, especially in burgers.
  • Carrots (pulled or shredded) – Can mimic the texture of pulled pork or chicken when cooked with the right seasonings.

Quick Tip – For a richer flavor in vegan dishes, roast vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers before adding them to soups or sauces. This enhances their sweetness and depth.

Vegetable Substitutions

Best Side Dishes

  1. Steamed Rice A staple in Japanese cuisine, it perfectly absorbs the flavors of dashi-based dishes.
  2. Sautéed Greens Spinach, kale, or Swiss chard sautéed with garlic adds a nutritious and flavorful touch.
  3. Tempura Vegetables Lightly battered and fried vegetables like sweet potato, broccoli, and zucchini offer a delightful crunch.
  4. Miso Soup A small bowl of miso soup, using vegan dashi as the base, complements the main dish with its umami richness.
  5. Pickled Vegetables (Tsukemono) Japanese pickles such as radish, cucumber, or eggplant cleanse the palate and add a tangy contrast.
  6. Tofu Salad Soft tofu topped with soy sauce, scallions, and sesame seeds, providing a refreshing and protein-rich side.
  7. Edamame Boiled young soybeans with a sprinkle of salt make for a simple, healthy snack or side dish.
  8. Soba Noodles Cold soba noodles with a dipping sauce made from vegan dashi is a light, refreshing side, especially in warmer weather.
  9. Japanese Potato Salad A creamy, slightly tangy salad with cooked carrots, cucumbers, and potatoes.
  10. Seaweed Salad A mix of seaweeds dressed in a light, sesame-flavored vinaigrette, offering a burst of oceanic flavors.

Best Side Dishes

How To Serve?

  • As a Soup Base: Use it as the foundational broth for miso soup, adding tofu, wakame, and green onions for a classic dish.
  • In Noodle Soups: Pour hot vegan dashi over soba, udon, or ramen noodle dishes and garnish with vegetables, nori, and sesame seeds.
  • For Simmering Vegetables: Simmer seasonal vegetables in vegan dashi until tender, a technique known as “nimono,” to infuse them with umami.
  • In Risottos and Grains: Cook grains like rice or quinoa in vegan dashi instead of cold water to impart a rich flavor.
  • For Making Sauces: Reduce it on the stove with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to create a flavorful sauce for tofu, tempeh, or vegetable dishes.
  • As a Steam Cooking Liquid: Steam vegetables or dumplings over vegan dashi to subtly flavor them during cooking.
  • In Dressings and Marinades: Mix it with vinegar, oil, and seasonings to create unique dressings or marinades for salads or proteins.
  • For Hot Pot (Shabu-Shabu): Serve it as the broth in a vegan hot pot, allowing guests to cook their vegetables and tofu at the table.
  • As a Tea (Ochazuke): Pour warm vegan dashi over cooked rice dishes, adding pickles, seaweed, or sesame seeds for a simple, comforting dish.
  • In Braising Liquid: Braise tofu, jackfruit, or seitan in simple vegan dashi to create flavorful, tender main dishes.

Quick Tip – To deepen the umami in vegan dishes, incorporate a splash of tamari or soy sauce into your vegan dashi. This adds complexity and richness effortlessly.

How To Serve?

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Storage: Store vegan dashi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, ensuring freshness and convenience.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare a large batch of vegan dashi and store it as outlined. This strategy saves time and simplifies meal preparation, giving you a flavorful base for soups, sauces, and other dishes.

Fact – The term “dashi” traditionally refers to a Japanese vegetable broth, yet vegan dashi uniquely substitutes fish tuna bonito flakes with kombu and shiitake mushrooms, preserving umami without animal products.

Ingredients List

Time-Saving Tips

  1. Batch Preparation: Make a large quantity of vegan dashi and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. This ensures you have a flavorful base ready for various dishes without starting from scratch each time.
  2. Cold Brew Method: Utilize the cold brew technique by soaking kombu and shiitake mushrooms in water overnight. This hot water method requires minimal active preparation time and extracts a deep flavor by the next day.
  3. Pre-cut Ingredients: Purchase pre-cut kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms if available. This saves time on preparation and ensures consistent flavor extraction.
  4. Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker: For a faster extraction process, use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker to reduce the steeping time significantly while still extracting full flavors from the kombu and hydrated shiitake mushrooms.
  5. Freeze in Ice Cube Trays: Freeze the vegan dashi in ice cube trays for easy portion control. You can quickly thaw or drop a dashi cube into your cooking, saving time on measuring and thawing.
  6. Simplify Cleaning: To minimize cleanup, prepare and store the dashi in the same container, if possible. Using a bottle or jar for cold brewing directly in the refrigerator can reduce the number of dishes used.

Vegan Dashi Recipe - A Japanese Cuisine

Vegan Dashi Recipe – A Japanese Cuisine

Recipe by Julia

Vegan dashi, a plant-based broth, is essential in Japanese cuisine. It offers a rich umami flavor without using animal products. Made from kombu (dried kelp) and dried shiitake mushrooms, it is a versatile base for soups, stews, and sauces. Its simplicity and depth of flavor make it a favorite among those following a vegan or vegetarian daily diet.

Course: soup
0 from 0 votes
Servings

4

servings
Prep Time

5

minutes
Cooking Time

10

minutes
Calories

5

kcal
Rest Time

30

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 1 piece 1 Kombu (dried kelp)

  • 2 pieces 2 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

  • 4 cups 4 Water

Directions

  • To Cold Brew the Vegan Dashi (Mizudashi)
  • Place Ingredients: Put 1 piece of kombu and 2 dried shiitake mushrooms into a large bottle.
  • Add Water: Pour 4 cups of water into the bottle.
  • Seal and Steep: Seal the bottle with a cap and allow it to steep on the counter for a minimum of 30 minutes. Let it steep for a more potent flavor for 2–3 hours in the summer or 4–5 hours in the winter. You may also cold brew it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Ready to Use: Your cold brew Vegan Dashi is ready after steeping. You can remove the kombu and shiitake at this point or proceed to extract more extra flavor.Vegan Dashi Recipe
  • To Extract More Flavor
  • Transfer to Pot: Move the cold brew Vegan Dashi, kombu, and shiitake to a medium pot.
  • Heat: Warm on medium-low, bringing it to a bare simmer for about 10 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  • Remove Ingredients: Before the dashi, remove the kombu and shiitake to prevent the broth from becoming slimy or bitter.
  • Strain: Pour the dashi through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any remaining solids. Now, the Vegan Dashi is prepared for use.Vegan Dashi Recipe
  • To Store
  • Storing the Dashi: If not using immediately, pour the Vegan Dashi into a bottle or airtight container and refrigerate for 4–5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. It’s best used sooner for optimal flavor.
  • To Use the Spent Kombu and Shiitake
  • Store Spent Kombu: Keep the used kombu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for up to a month. It can make Simmered Kombu (Kombu Tsukudani) or Homemade Furikake (Rice Seasoning).
  • Prepare Spent Shiitake: Trim the tough stems from the spent fresh shiitake mushrooms and use the rehydrated mushrooms as you would fresh shiitake in your recipes.Vegan Dashi Recipe
  • Equipments List
  • Large bottle or jar
  • Medium pot
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Fine-mesh skimmer
  • Pastry brush (optional for cleaning mushrooms)
  • Knife (for cutting spent shiitake mushrooms)
  • Cutting board (optional for preparing spent shiitake mushrooms)
  • Airtight container (for storage)

Notes

  • Cold Brew vs. Hot Brew: Cold brewing extracts flavors gently, ideal for delicate umami; hot brewing intensifies flavors quickly.
  • Seasonal Steeping: Longer steeping in winter captures deeper flavors due to colder temperatures; adjust steeping time based on the season.
  • Utilize Spent Ingredients: Don’t discard kombu and shiitake; repurpose them in other dishes for zero-waste cooking.
  • Storage: Label stored dashi with dates to track freshness.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality kombu and shiitake for the best flavor outcome.
  • Avoid Boiling: Remove the kombu before boiling to prevent bitterness and sliminess in the dashi.

Nutrition Table

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Vegan Dashi?

Vegan dashi is a plant-based version of the traditional Japanese broth known for its deep umami flavor. Unlike traditional dashi, which uses fish flakes (bonito), vegan dashi is made from kombu (dried kelp) and dried shiitake mushrooms.

These ingredients impart a rich, savory taste without animal products, making them essential in vegan Japanese cooking for soups, stews, and sauces.

Can I Make Vegan Dashi Without Shiitake Mushrooms?

Yes, you can make vegan dashi without shiitake mushrooms, though they contribute significantly to the broth’s umami depth.

If you’re avoiding shiitake, try using other umami-rich vegetables like dried tomatoes or a small amount of soy sauce or white miso paste. However, remember these substitutions may alter the final taste profile of your dashi.

vegan dashi recipe

How Long Can I Store Vegan Dashi?

Vegan dashi can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. For longer storage, freeze it in ice cube trays or small containers for 2-3 months.

Thaw or directly use the frozen dashi cubes in your cooking as needed. Always label your storage containers with the date to keep track of freshness.

Is Vegan Dashi Healthy?

Vegan dashi is considered healthy due to its low calorie and fat content. It’s a great source of minerals like iodine from kombu and offers various antioxidants from shiitake mushrooms.

Additionally, it’s free from cholesterol and high in vitamins, making it a heart-healthy option for those on a vegan healthy diet or looking to reduce animal products in their meals.

Can I Use Vegan Dashi As A Substitute For Other Broths?

Absolutely. Vegan dashi is a versatile broth that can be substituted for chicken, beef, or vegetable broths in many recipes. Its umami quality enhances soups, stews, and sauces without overpowering the dish.

When substituting, consider the flavor profile of your recipe, as vegan dashi brings a distinct, savory note that might differ from traditional broths.

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VIE DE LA VEGAN!

Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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