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The only thing I really miss since I started the whole rampant vegetarian thing is the taste of Worcester sauce in all sorts of dishes. Is there a way to get close to the flavour without doing anything rude to any anchovies?

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10 Answers 10

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I have found a few recipes on the web:

There are also a few hard to find ready-made vegan Worcestershire sauces on the market, such as Annie's.

When I read these recipes (which I have never made) I can tell that their flavor profile is missing some key aromas present in the original Worcestershire sauce. As strange as it may sound these sauces could use some of the aromas found in Parmigiano-Reggiano and in broccoli.  Whichever recipe works out, someone should write a blog post on this topic.

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I'm going to try both of these. On the other hand, I'm also going to see if I can get Henderson's Relish shipped to me somehow. I'll post results, but it might be a few weeks. –  Carmi Jul 25 '10 at 18:43
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I suggested the Parmigiano because it shares aromas with anchovies and fish sauce, but I have no idea how to make it liquid. I'm very curious how it works out. Please let us know. –  papin Jul 25 '10 at 22:39
    
+1: agreed completely! I’m a not-terribly-strict vegetarian, so I keep the vegan Worcestershire at home but often have the real thing when eating out, and there is definitely a difference along the lines you describe. Agreed that an investigation into replicating this would be fascinating. On the other hand, in some recipes that call for it, I think the veggie one actually works better — often it’s just the salty-fruity-sweetness that’s really wanted, not the anchovy aromas. –  PLL Jan 14 '11 at 19:34

You can get Vegetarian Oyster sauce which doesn't replicate the full Worcestershire sauce experience but does give some of it.

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I have had Oyster sauce that is assured to be completely vegetarian. It wasn't easy to find and I have no idea what is used as a substitute. –  Ian Turner Jul 21 '10 at 10:04

you can try to make the original recipe without any fish sauce added, and even replace that perhaps with pommegrenate paste or something similar

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as the anchovies contain umami, maybe you could try miso mixed with paremesan as an alternative. I've not tried this, I'm just making an off-the-top of my head suggestion.

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Parmesan? Strange, but I'd try it. –  hobodave Jul 22 '10 at 23:24

Try Hoisin sauce mixed with Soy sauce and a bit of vinegar. That'll get you close.

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If there is a Trader Joe's near you, I've found a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce there and it has been pretty good.

Also a quick Google search finds a few other options.

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You could try experimenting with vinegar, sugar and tamarind, you should get a close approximation.

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I had to do the same last year when I was making an egg-mayonaise salad, and found out too late we didn't have any Worcestersauce anymore.

What worked nicely for me was combining HP brown sauce (bought while on holiday in the UK) with a smoke-flavoured barbecue sauce. It was two teaspoons of one (probably HP, but I'm not sure anymore) and one of the other.

While the mixture itself seemed to resemble Worcestersauce only approximately, there wasn't any way to make out the difference in the finished dish. I did ask people who knew the recipe if they thought it was any different than usual, and nobody did.

HP Brown Sauce Heinz Barbecue Sauce

Both ingredients say "suitable for vegetarians" on the bottle, so I guess this should do...

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If you can find it, Henderson's Relish is an excellent vegetarian substitute.

Henderson's Relish bottle

Sadly it is only well-known in a small area around Sheffield where it is made, and it is difficult to find it once you get some distance away.

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+1 Thanks for this ... something I need to buy when I'm passing through Sheffield next year ... –  takrl Jun 6 '13 at 14:56

I use miso as a substitute. It adds some of the same type of depth that worcestershire sauce adds.

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