Vegan Food Terms

By Gayot Editors

Know Your Vegan Food Terms

Don’t know your tempeh from your seitan? Don’t worry, we got you. As a result of veganism’s increasing popularity, thanks to its many health benefits, you’ll certainly want to learn the basics of vegan food terminology.

Whether you’re a newbie, a flexitarian (semi-vegetarian who occasionally eats meat), or simply want to navigate your way around a vegan menu, our glossary of vegan food terms will help you uncover their meanings.

Simple Vegan Pasta Recipe
• Los Angeles vegan restaurants
New York City vegan restaurants
San Francisco vegan restaurants


Carob: sourced from carob trees, the pods are dried, roasted and ground into carob powder or chips. Carob is used as an entirely plant-based, caffeine-free substitute for chocolate and contains a nuttier, roasted flavor.


Gardein: brand of plant-based meat substitutes often found in the supermarket freezer section. These foods range from “chicken tenders” to “meatballs,” often made from ingredients such as soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and grains including quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut.


Nut cheese: non-dairy cheese made from nuts such as almonds, macadamia, cashew, hazelnut or pistachio often found in spreadable versions (similar to cream cheese), sandwich slices, solid blocks, or grated.
Nut milk:milk-like beverage made from any number of nuts including almond, macadamia, cashew, hazelnut or any combination thereof.


Seitan: cooked wheat gluten that mimics the chewy texture and consistency of meat and contains a high amount of protein.
Soy: protein derived from soybeans used as a replacement for animal protein.


Tempeh: originally from Indonesia, these fermented soybeans are typically offered in block form that can be minced, diced, or cut into strips (similar to bacon); used as a protein source for vegans.
Tofu: high-protein, almost tasteless and versatile curd made from mashed soybeans; used as a staple ingredient in mainly Asian and vegan/vegetarian cooking and takes on the flavor of the spices and seasonings used in preparing the dish.