Saffron is a spice that comes from a crocus flower commonly know as the “Saffron Crocus”, the flower contains bright crimson stigmas and styles, called threads, these are collected and then dried. Saffron is used primarily as a seasoning and colouring agent in food, and is one of the worlds most costly spices by weight.
Saffron is a popular ingredient in paella as it gives the dish is vibrant yellow colour.
Saffron compote consists of saffron strands that have been cooked in syrup and blended with sugar and spices.
Dried sage is more aromatic than fresh sage, and has a flavour that is similar to pine wood.
Roast potatoes and other veg in rosemary. Add to stews and soups or roast with butternut squash as they make a winning flavour combination.
Fresh sage is a herb that is commonly used in the winter and cooked into dishes. The leaves are thick, with a slight fuzzy texture. It can be grown in the UK and leaves should be fresh and green for best results.
Fry sage leaves to create a pretty garnish for dishes or use as you would dried sage.
This tan coloured root vegetable is similar in appearance to a long, thin parsnip, with creamy white flesh and a thick skin. In the same way as many root veggies, salsify can be boiled, mashed or used in soups and stews.
Salsify can be added to soups and stews or boiled and mashed like parsnips or potatoes, with a little soya cream, vegan butter, salt and pepper.
Salt is made from sea water that has been evaporated and crystallised. It is scientifically known as sodium chloride. It is used to flavour food, and traditionally it was used as a preservative.
The majority of recipes require you to add salt, but obviously the amount you use is down to preference and helps bring out the flavour in dishes. Don’t over do it with salt as it isn’t healthy to consume too much.
These are peanuts that have been shelled and had the skin removed, and coated in salt.
Use peanuts to garnish stir fry’s with for added protein or snack on them.
Salted popcorn is made from popped corn kernels, and coated in salt for a savoury flavour.
Popcorn is a great low calorie snack. Easily made at home.
Sour, with a crisp texture, this finely chopped fermented cabbage is yellow-beige in colour. Over the fermentation time, the veggies become soft, slightly pickled, tangy and very tasty. One of the many health benefits of sauerkraut includes its ability to increase your digestive health.
Add sauerkraut to sandwiches, salads or as a garnish to dishes such as Pierogi (Eastern European dumplings)
Scallions are another name for spring onions. They are a small onion that has been picked before the bulb forms. They are often used in salads and can be eaten raw because of their mild flavour.
Use as you would spring onions; add to stir fry’s, use as a garnish or in salads.
Scotch Bonnets are the hottest variety of chili peppers available to the public. On the Scoville scale they measure in at 100,000 – 400,000. They are also known as Caribbean red peppers, where it is usually found.
Use as you would other chilli peppers, just use sparingly as they are the hottest chilli peppers available.
The green veggie known by a variety of names including sea pickles, sea asparagus and pickleweed, grows on salt marshes and beaches. While sea beans can be eaten raw, they are very salty so they typically need to be cooked in water prior to consumption. The finished taste is said to resemble asparagus.
When you boil samphire, you can use it as a garnish to dishes, as a side dish or snack on it. A lot of wild samphire is protected though, so be careful if you are picking it yourself.
This is made from the evaporation of seat water, rather than being extracted from sedimentary deposits. It has bigger granules and is often bought as flakes. You can get refined or unrefined versions of sea salt, and unrefined sea salt may be greyer in colour due to residual clay and minerals on the salt.
Use as you would regular salt; The majority of recipes require you to add salt, but obviously the amount you use is down to preference and helps bring out the flavour in dishes. Don’t over do it with salt as it isn’t healthy to consume too much.
Sea vegetables, can be a welcomed contribution to our intake of essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium and selenium, as well as substantial antioxidant full of vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 edible forms of sea vegetables, each unique in colour, shape and size as well as texture.
Around the coastlines of the UK, there is a large number of green seaweeds such as kelp, sea kale, sea lettuces, seagrasses, samphire grasses and laver as well as purple-coloured dulse and Irish moss, this is just to name a few. Asia is famous for many seaweed-based dishes, a common sea vegetable that is used in eastern cuisine is brown seaweeds normally as a flavouring in soups and stews and of course nori which is used in sushi.
Edible seaweed provides one of the widest arrays of nutrients of any food group. It doesn’t have a strong flavour itself, but works as a ‘flavour intensifier’-meaning you can sub this for salt if you’re watching your intake. This unique sea vegetable is good in salads, soup, and smoothies-you can even use it within deserts.
This unique sea vegetable is good in salads, soup, and smoothies-you can even use it within deserts.
High in protein and low in fat, this seasoned wheat gluten works well as a replacement for all meat in traditional dishes. With a chewy and dense texture, seitan tastes great in a stroganoff or even ground up with herbs to form a hamburger.
Use in place of traditional meat dishes, you can marinade seitan, fry it, boil it or add it to stews. Shop bought seitan is now readily available and is good as a sandwich filler.
Self-raising flour is flour that already has a raising agent added in, helping baked goods rise. Baking powder is the ingredient that is usually added, and self-raising flour can be made at home using this ingredient.
You can use self raising flour for cake and bread making. You can also made dumplings with self raising flour. It contains raising agents so its perfect for baking with.
Semolina is the coarse and purified wheat middlings from duruam wheat, which is produced to make pasta. Semolina is also made from other grains, for example, rice and maize. It derives from the Italian word semola, meaning ‘bran’.
Use semolina to make semolina pudding, a smoother version of rice pudding and a classic, traditional dessert. Top with jam to add sweetness.
Sesame oil is a vegetable oil that has been made from sesame seeds. It adds a nutty flavour to food that is cooked in it and it is traditional to Asian and African cooking. It is available in most supermarkets.
Add sesame oil at the end of cooking a stir fry or Asian inspired dishes. Cooking with sesame oil causes it to lose its flavour, and it’s rich nutty taste is work savouring.
Sesame salt originates from Japan and is known as ‘gasimo’- a Japanese traditional condiment. As the salt is made from sesame seeds which hold nutritious oils, this type of salt is good for the macrobiotic diet.
Use sesame salt as a condiment to flavour dishes with or top salads and stir fry’s with.
Sesame seeds are a product of the pods from sesame plants. The phrase “Open Sesame” referring to the moment the seeds literally burst open releasing their seeds. Sesame seeds are rich and nutty in flavour, with one of the highest oil contents of any seed. Sesame seeds are consumed in cuisines all across the world, being used in many recipes and baked goods. It is important to remember that like other nuts and foods, sesame seeds can sometimes trigger allergic reactions in certain people.
Toast the seeds and sprinkle over stir fry’s, salads or stir through rice for added texture and nuttiness as well as a healthy and nutritious boost.
Shallots are in the onion family, and are used in cooking the same as onions are used. It has a milder flavour than onions, and is sweeter. It can be used in dishes raw because it has a milder flavour.
Use as a sweeter version of an onion in a multitude of dishes.
Sherry vinegar is made from sherry and it is widely used in French and Spanish cuisine.
Use in the same way you would white and red wine vinegar; in sauces, dressings and vinaigrette’s.
The translation for this spice mix – seven flavour chilli pepper – rolls off the tongue a little more easily than its Japanese name. It typically includes coarsely ground red chilli pepper, ground Szechuan pepper, roasted orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, ground ginger and nori seaweed.
Shichimi Togarashi ia used to flavour Asian noodle dishes, soups or can be used in marinades.
Shiitake mushrooms are a type of fungus that are also referred to as black mushrooms, golden oak mushrooms and dried winter mushrooms. Dried shiitake mushrooms have an intense flavour are usually preferred to fresh shiitake mushrooms.
Rehydrate shiitake mushrooms in water and reserve the water to make a great base for a mushroom stock. Add shittake mushrooms to Asian inspired dishes such as stir fry’s.
Short grained rice is smaller in size to other varieties, however there are many different types of short grain rice. When cooked it can have a chewier and stickier texture than some other types of rice. The packets usually say what if it is a short grain or long grain rice.
Similar to aborio rice and pudding rice; use it to make rice pudding or risottos with.
Shredded coconut is the white flesh of the coconut that has been shredded. Similar to desiccated coconut but far moister, with the individual shreds of coconut usually longer than desiccated.
Silken tofu is available in different levels of firmness. It is often used in salad dressings, sauces and desserts. Recipes will list silken tofu specifically if this type is required.
Silken tofu is often used in salad dressings, sauces and desserts. It makes a fantastic base for cheesecakes and creamy based desserts.
Slivered almonds are almonds hat have been sliced into small sticks. Unlike sliced almonds, they are not thin and are instead more cuboid in their shape.
Decorate desserts such as a trifle or ice cream with flaked almonds.
Smoke paprika is made from pimiento peppers that are smoked over an oak fire. The peppers are then ground into a powder as smoked paprika.
Use smoked paprika to add robustness to a dish, added to soups, stews and sauces, it creates a ‘meaty’, smokey and satisfying flavour.
Smoked tofu is often smoked using tea leaves and it gives it a smoky flavour and often colours the outside of the tofu. You can purchase it from some brands in the UK.
Smoked tofu is delicious on top of salads, in stir fry’s or cooked and used in sandwiches. Use as you would regular firm tofu as it is a great meat substitute.
Snap peas are also known as sugar snap peas, and they are a cross between snow peas and garden peas. Usually the whole pod is eaten this has a crunchy texture with a very sweet and subtle flavour. Snap peas can be eaten either cooked or raw. Often they may have a tough string at the seams of the pods that are normally removed before being eaten, but string-less varieties are also available to buy now.
Soft brown sugar is made with some of the molasses left in the product. It is used for cakes, cookies, pickles and chutneys, as well as some other dishes.
Use soft brown sugar when baking. It is ideal when making caramel sauces as it adds a touch of extra flavor. Common uses for soft brown sugar include sweetening baked goods, beverages, sauces, and marinades
Sweet, softly textured and mild tasting, Sorghum flour is an excellent high-fibre, gluten-free flour alternative. This flour adapts well to whatever it is cooked with and can be used in place of ordinary flour in a variety of recipes.
Use in place of flour as a gluten free alternative in baking and other recipes.
Sorrel is a member of the dock family, and it has arrow shaped leaves. It is commonly used in salads and cooking, and has an acidic flavour.
Use sorrel leaves to make soups and sauces or to cook with vegetables.
Sourdough bread is made from the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli bacteria and yeast. Sourdough bread has a slight sour taste which is not existent in breads made with baker’s yeast. Sour dough has better inherent keeping qualities than other breads, this is due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
Use sourdough as an alternative bread in dishes such as bruschetta or toast them to make croutons for salad.
Alternatively, just spread with your favourite toast topping (for example, peanut butter)
Derived from soy, lecithin is available in capsule, liquid or granule form. Used primarily as an emulsifier, you will find it in everything from salad dressings to tea bags. This unique ingredient works great in eggless baking, where it can replace the naturally occurring lecithin in egg yolks.
This unique ingredient works great in eggless baking, where it can replace the naturally occurring lecithin in egg yolks.
Soy sauce is made from fermented soya beans. It is most popular in Chinese and Japanese cooking.
Use soy sauce in marinades, sauces or in a stir fry. It is salty in taste and is often used in Asian dishes instead of salt.
Soya cream is an alternative to dairy cream and made from soya. There are several brands on the UK market that make soya cream.
Use in place of non vegan cream to make sauces and soups creamier and richer.
Soy milk is made from soybeans that have been soaked and ground. It is widely available as sweetened or unsweetened varieties.
Use in place of non vegan milk; use in sauces, soups and other recipes.
Soya mince is made from soy flour and is usually used as a substitute for meat based mince. It is easily available in all UK supermarkets under own brand labels.
Use in place of mince in dishes. It works the same as mince but takes a shorter amount of time to cook.
Soya-based yogurt is made with soya milk and has yogurt bacteria added. Sometimes flavourings are added and sweeteners to the ingredients. It is often lower in fat than dairy yogurt.
Use in place of non vegan/dairy yogurt or use as a healthier option to non dairy cream in dishes; add to curries, soups and stews to add creaminess but with less fat than non dairy cream.
Spaghetti, is a type of pasta that has been formed into long, thin, round strands, made from a dough mixture of semolina and water. It is most commonly found in it’s dry form which is known as dried spaghetti.
Add a shop bought or homemade tomato sauce to pasta for a quick and easy meal.
Sparkling water is water with added carbon dioxide to make it fizz.
Use sparkling water in batters to make them lighter (particularly tempura batters) or just drink as a refreshing beverage with a slice of lemon or lime.
Spelt is a cereal grain from the wheat family, but is not wheat (same genus, different species), looking very similar to wheat in appearance. Spelt has a much harder outer shell before it has been milled. Once turned into flour it has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour, very similar to whole wheat flour.
Use as you would regular flour when making things such as pastry crusts to create a more dense version of regular pastry.
Spiced rum is a different variety of rum that has added spices and fruit for extra flavour. Rum is made from sugarcane byproducts including molasses and fermented and distilled.
Use spiced in desserts: make a caramel and rum sauce out of rum and drizzle over ice cream, fruit or cakes. You can also use in baking to add spice to banana bread or rum or ginger cakes.
Spinach is a plant that is of Asian origin. It is used as a vegetable in salads and included in many dishes. It is known for having a high iron content, along with other leafy green vegetables.
Use spinach as a leafy green or steam, boil or fry to add to dishes as 1 of you 5 a day, or use as a side dish.
Spinach puree is used as a sauce in many different dishes, and it is frequently used in Indian cooking. It can be bought in tins or made easily at home.
Used a lot in Indian cooking for dishes such as tofu saag paneer or saag aloo.
Spirulina is a blue/green coloured algae which are normally consumed in a powder form or as a supplement. Spirulina is full to the brim of vitamins, including Vitamin A, C, E and B as well as a range of minerals such as zinc, selenium, calcium and magnesium.
This type of lentil forms a puree-like texture when cooked, and is used as a thickener in soups and casseroles.Split red lentils have had the skin removed and this naturally allows the lentil to split in half. Lentils originate from Asia and North Africa.
Lentils are a quick, cheap and easy way to make a lentil dahl. Ideal as a tasty side dish or as a main meal.
Spring onions are a type of onion that are grown and taken from the ground before a bulb forms. They have long green leaves and they are otherwise known as scallions.
Add spring onions to stir fry’s, use as a garnish or in salads.
Spring Roll sheets are extremely thin wraps. Made with wheat flour, they are used to make fried Spring Rolls.
Make your own spring rolls and filled them with vegetables, noodles and tofu to make a homemade vegan version of a Chinese takeaway classic.
Spring roll wrappers are made from wheat flour and are used to make spring rolls with and are very thin. You can purchase them ready made or make them at home.
Try making your own spring rolls at home or be creative and add different fillings.
While most people are familiar with pumpkin, not so many know of its oil, which is made from the seeds. It has a low smoking point which means it is best used cold, as a dressing in salads, for example though some people also enjoy it in sweet dishes – including drizzled over ice-cream. It is also tasty made into vinaigrette. It has a nutty, unusual flavour which makes it an interesting addition to your culinary repertoire.
Use squash seed oil in dressing in salads or enjoy it in sweet dishes – including drizzled over ice-cream. It is also tasty made into vinaigrette.
Sriracha is a sauce made from red chillis and garlic. It is used in Vietnamese and Thai food, and has become popular with Western culture.
Use sriracha to pep up stir fry dishes, add a spice to soups and stews or add to rice and other grains to give them a kick. Mix with vegan mayonnaise to make a spicy dip.
Star anise originates from Vietnam and Southwest China. It is a star shapes fruit with a seed in each section. It carries a distinct aniseed flavour and is often used unripe in Asian cooking.
Use as a spice in Asian inspired cuisine.
Stock cubes are used in dishes to add flavour and it is made using a selection of vegetables. It can be made at home or purchased in supermarkets.
Mix with water and use as a stock to boil rice, pasta etc to give it depth. Alternatively you can crumble a stock cube or powder into dishes whilst cooking to add flavour.
Stock powder is used in dishes to add flavour and it is made using a selection of vegetables. It can be made at home or purchased in supermarkets.
Mix with water and use as a stock to boil rice, pasta etc to give it depth. Alternatively you can crumble a stock cube or powder into dishes whilst cooking to add flavour.
Stout is a dark beer which is made up of roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. A well known stout is Guinness.
Use stout in a pie with vegan beef strips to make a vegan version of a steak and Guinness pie.
Strawberries are widely appreciated for their distinctive aroma, bright red color, and juicy sweet taste. Strawberries can be consumed in large quantities, either fresh or prepared foods such as jam, cakes and ice-creams.
Strawberries are a soft fruit that is in season during the Summer. It has white flowers before the fruit develops, and the fruit is covered in yellow seeds.
Strawberries are so versatile so be creative. Eat for breakfast, with ice cream, with cream, turn into jam etc.
Strawberry sauce is easily made at home using strawberries, sugar and water. Recipes are available online. You can also purchase strawberry sauce that is usually made as a dessert ice cream and has a high sugar content.
Serve strawberry sauce over ice cream, swirl into custard, porridge, rice pudding and yogurt.
Strong white bread flour has a high gluten content, making it ideal to use for bread making. The gluten content allows for there to be elasticity in the dough and for the bread to rise.
Experiment with strong white bread flour and make various breads, pitta bread, pizza bases etc.
Sugar is a crystalised substance that comes from sugar beet or sugarcane. It is available in different varieties, such as granulated, caster, muscavado and other brown sugars that contain some of the residual molasses from the process.
Use sugar in baking, to add sweetness to acidic tomato dishes, in sauces or dressings.
Sugar snap peas are a variety of pea that are available to buy in the pod and can be eaten immediately. The pod can be eaten and they have a sweet flavour and crunchy texture.
Steam or boil sugar snap peas and eat as a side dish to a meal, eat as a healthy dinner with other veg, eat raw dipped in humus or in a salad.
Sugar syrup is commonly used in cocktails and it is used as a substitute for raw sugar. As it is a liquid it makes it easier to dissolve rather than granulated sugar. It is simple to make at home using a two parts sugar to one part water ratio for a thicker syrup, for example. This type of syrup requires less of it being used in the drink.
Sugar syrup is commonly used in cocktails and it is used as a substitute for raw sugar.
Sultanas are dehydrated seedless grapes that are used in cooking, puddings and cakes. They are sometimes referred to as golden raisins, as they don’t darken in colour during the drying process unlike raisins. Sultanas easily absorb moisture and are sweeter than raisins.
Similar to raisins, but plumper, you can add sultanas to cakes, breads, desserts, porridge, rice pudding or make homemade energy bars.
Sumac is a spice and was long used in Europe to add tartness to many dishes until the Romans introduced lemons to the area.
The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. While it’s less common, the berries may also be sold whole.
Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor, although more balanced and less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish.
Use sumac in our recipe for our Vegan Calamari
Sun-dried tomatoes are traditional to Italian cuisine. They are left in the sun to remove all of the water content and the tomatoes then develop a richer flavour, and become more concentrated in vitamins and minerals. They are often sold in jars of oil and used in a range of dishes.
Add depth to dishes with sun dried tomatoes particularly tomato based sauces. Mix chopped up sun dried tomatoes into couscous.
Sun-dried tomato oil is the oil that is leftover from the jar containing sun-dried tomatoes. It carries the flavour of the tomatoes and is sometimes used as a seasoning oil.
Drizzle sun dried tomato oil over salads, vegetables, pasta, stir into pasta sauces or use as a dip for bread.
Sun-dried tomato paste is a cooking paste made from tomatoes and adds an intense flavour to sauces, stews, casseroles and soups. Seasonings such as salt and pepper and garlic are added to the product.
Add depth to dishes with sun dried tomato paste particularly tomato based sauces and pasta.
Sun-dried tomato pesto is made from tomatoes that have been left out in the sun for an average of seven days to intensify their flavour. It is then blended with other ingredients such as basil and pine nuts. Pesto is used for a range of dishes, including pasta, tartlets and pizza.
Use red pesto in the same way you would green pesto; Use up left over pesto by mixing into vegan mayonnaise and use as a tasty salad dressing, drizzle over a homemade pizza to add flavour or just add to pasta and pasta sauces for a delicious and simple meal. Make sure you find a dairy free version though because regular pesto contains cheese, so it isn’t vegan.
Edible sunflower seeds are actually not seeds at all, botanically they are refereed to as sunflower kernels! Sunflower kernels are a off green gray colour and should have a hard texture. These little kernels are packed full of vitamins like B1 and B6 as well as copper, selenium, magnesium, iron and are an excellent source of fiber!
Sunflower oil is made from pressed sunflower seeds. It is a non-volatile oil that is used for frying and in cosmetic formulations.
Use sunflower oil in the same way you would any other neutral sauces such as vegetable oil; it is great for shallow frying vegan burgers or for frying in general.
Sunflower seeds are the fruit of sunflowers that are sold as hulled seeds for human consumption. There are three types of sunflower seeds that are commonly used: linoleic, high oleic and NuSun which are grown for sunflower oil production.
Sunflower seeds are a great, healthy snack. Alternatively sprinkle over salads and soups to add bite, or use as an attractive garnish on dishes.
Sushi nori is edible seaweed pieces and is mainly used with with sushi rolls. It is made from the red algae Porphyra. You can purchase it it in sheets to use for sushi making, and some brands sell it as thin dried sheets made for snacking.
Nori with its ‘fishy’ taste lends itself well to being used as a fish alternative in dishes.
Sushi rice is a rice that has been dressed with a seasoned vinegar, and is an extremely important component of a variety of sushi dishes such as sushi nori.
Make your own sushi nori by wrapping sushi rice and vegetables in a nori paper.
Sushi vinegar is very similar to rice vinegar and can easily be made at home by mixing rice vinegar, salt and sugar.
Sweet chili garlic sauce is a variety of sweet chili sauce made with garlic as an added ingredient.
Use sweet chilli garlic sauce as a dressing, a condiment, a marinade or as a flavour boost in rice and noodles dishes.
Sweet chili sauce is commonly made with red chilli peppers, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and a sweetener such as fruit or refined sugar. Many varieties are suitable for vegans, however it is advised to check the product before purchase.
Use sweet chilli sauce as a dressing, a condiment, a marinade or as a flavour boost in rice and noodles dishes.
Sweet paprika originates from Hungary and is made from peppers that are harvested and then sorted, toasted, and blended to create different varieties. All Hungarian paprika’s have some degree of rich, sweet red pepper flavor, but they range in pungency and heat.
Sweet paprika is useful for the deep colour it gives food as much as the subtle sweet flavour.
Sweet pointed peppers are sweeter than other peppers in the sweet pepper family. They have a thinner skin than other varieties and are usually found as red or yellow vegetables. They can be eaten cooked or raw. They are in season from March to November.
Use sweet pointed peppers the same way you would bell peppers. Stuff them with couscous, lentils or rice. Cut them up and serve in salads, roast them or fry them.
Sweet potatoes originate from Central and Southern America, and are a different shape and texture to potatoes most commonly found in the UK and Europe. They have orange flesh and a softer texture when compared to other varieties of potato.
Roast sweet potatoes to increase the sweetness. You can also make them into a tasty alternative to fries, chips or wedges. They are also very good for dogs.
Sweetcorn is a vegetable with a high sugar content, and is otherwise known as corn on the cob. It is easily grown in the UK, and it can be purchased in UK supermarkets tinned, frozen or on the cob as a fresh item of produce.
Sweetcorn can be used in so many dishes. Stir into rice, pasta, noodles, use in stir fry’s, in salads, or as a snack alone.
Often used in Mediterranean cooking, this leafy green vegetable is highly nutritious. Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads, mature chard leaves are typically cooked. Their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavour which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach.
Cook and use swiss chard in the same way you would spinach.