Today we are going to be talking about an Umami Bomb in the shape of a salad. : D
Ok, let’s start at the beginning. What is an Umami Bomb? Umami bombs are a term that chefs use to refer to a dish which has a combination of ingredients in which all add an umami flavor. The result is an umami bomb of a dish.
Which Foods Contain Umami
The umami taste present in certain foods is generally caused by glutamates within the foods. Monosodium glutamate is chemically manufactured to imitate the taste of naturally occurring glutamate, and artificially add umami flavors to food.
Not all foods contain glutamate and have an umami effect on the palate. The ones which do, are mostly foods which are notoriously flavorsome, often described as earthy, savory, hearty ect.
Some of the biggest ‘umami bringers’ are meats. Most meats contains umami flavors. This is often what vegans and vegetarians actually miss, when eradicating meat from their diet, not always the actual protein, as protein can be gotten from many plant based foods – not just from meat and dairy products.
Vegan Sources of Umami
Although meats are a primary source of umami flavors in traditional Western cooking, there are many plant based and vegan / vegetarian sources as well. Here are some examples of common plant based sources of umami flavors:
- Soya sauce and other fermented soya products such as tempeh
- Nutritional yeast
- Olives, particulary black olives
- Pickled or fermented vegetables
- Sea vegetables such as kelp, nori and kombu
Why Umami Bomb Recipes are Great in a Vegetarian / Vegan Diet / Low Meat Diet
Vegetarians and vegans do not consume meat or animal based products, and a conventional Western diet without these may end up having a flavor gap when it come to savoriness and the umami factor.
Making umami bomb dishes using plant based ingredients is a great way to fill this gap. Also, many of the umami yielding ingredients which are plant based tend to have high nutritional profiles and can play a valuable role in a plant based or vegetarian diet. Nutritional yeast for example is a source of B vitamins, which makes a great addition to a plant based diet.
Making a Umami Bomb
The concept behind making an umami bomb recipe is quite simple. Combine a number of umami giving ingredients together in the same dish, and you will have yourself an umami bomb!
For this salad, I used lacto fermented pickled onions (which are probiotic!), olives, nutritional yeast, and sundried tomatoes as the umami bomb components. If you want to mix it up and add in something like a sprinkling of kelp powder, some tempeh, mushrooms etc, go ahead and experiment. It is hard to go wrong when making umami bomb combos : )
Umami Bomb Salad (V)Print This
- 3 large green and crispy lettuce leaves
- 1 fistful of skinny leaved rocket / arugula
- 1 handful of black or kalamata olives
- 3 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes
- 4 pickled onions
- 2-3 tablespoons of sundried tomato infused olive oil - or regular olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried and powdered cilantro seeds
- Sprinkling of black pepper
- Salt to taste to sprinkle on before serving
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to sprinkle on before serving
- Optional: rocket flowers for garnishing
- Wash your lettuce and rocket and let drain.
- De-pip your olives.
- Chop the sundried tomato up into very thin slivers. They are difficult to chew, so the thinner the better.
- Quarter the pickled onions.
- Now chop up the lettuce roughly.
- Combine all ingredients into a medium sized salad bowl.
- Keep aside the vinegar and salt. You can add these right before serving, tossing to combine. If you add them earlier, the acidity and salinity can limpen the salad leaves.
- Serve and enjoy.