Naturally Coloured Frosting (Crowded Kitchen)
Did you know that many conventional foods are coloured with animal products? Many pink and red foods (and cosmetics) use carmine/cochineal, which comes from dead red insects? Sometimes black foods use endangered caviar. And most food dyes are also tested on animals. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of natural food dyes from nature. The main ones are:
- Turmeric – a tiny pinch is often used to turn vegan omelettes and scrambles yellow, and it’s also used in ‘golden milk’ recipes to give colour, as well as taste.
- Matcha powder is often used to make cakes and desserts and drinks green. It’s a superfood too.
- You can make foods blue using acai berry powder, which is a superfood. Try blueberries although the colour won’t be as vibrant.
- Beets are often used to turn foods and cakes red. Think of American red devil cake ( a blend of beets and chocolate). It can also be used to sweeten up drinks and turn them pink.
- Your Daily Vegan has a great post with simple recipes to make your own vegan food dyes. This blogger uses cabbage to turn foods blue and purple.
Annatto Oil (Full of Plants) is a natural food dye made from small red seeds from the achiote tree, which release a natural colour, once fried in oil. It’s often used in Latin America, Vietnam and The Philippines to dye dishes orange. Garlic is recommended to hide the overpowering aroma!
St Patrick’s official robes and shoes were blue, so it’s a mystery why most ‘St Patrick’s Day recipes’ are green, but there you go! If you want to dye your recipes green or blue for the feast, Crowded Kitchen has a good post on how to make your own natural vegan food dyes. For green, they recommend matcha powder (Purechimp makes good matcha powder, with profits helping apes rescued from zoos, circuses and vivisection labs).
Beets Turn Your Food (and pee) Pink!
You can make red food dye (Rainbow Nourishments) with beetroot powder. You can buy natural food dyes for your sprinkles from Suncore, which offers naturally coloured food dyes made from ingredients like:
- Cabbage (red)
- Beets (red)
- Radish (red)
- Blueberry (indigo)
- Carrot (orange)
- Pitaya (pink)
- Sweet Potato (purple)
- Grape (violet)
Blue & Green Dyes from Spirulina
Spirulina is a superfood powder, which simply means that it packs a nutrient punch into a tiny amount of powder. Rich in vitamins and omega acids, superfoods are good to mix into smoothies. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is very easy to digest, which is rich in chlorophyll and also is a complete protein and iron, so ideal for vegans. Avoid spirulina if you take blood thinners or have an auto-immune disease or bleeding disorder or PKU. The easiest way to add spirulina to your diet is in smoothies, but you can also use the lovely blue colour to dye your vegan cakes and bakes.
Make Your Own Vegan Sprinkles
If you are a fan of making sprinkles to top birthday cakes etc, know that many sold in shops contain shellac, a resin that is excreted by female Asian beetles, who eat tree bark. Other sprinkle packs may contain colourings from animals, and others may have chemicals that you likely don’t want. You can find a good recipe to make your own vegan sprinkles at Simple Green Recipes. Try this Vegan Funfetti Cake (Crowded Kitchen).
Eat Your Food Colours (naturally!)
Many foods these days contain artificial dyes (carmine/cochineal is from insects). And we all know about weird colourings that are found in foods like Sunny Delight or the substances that turn children hyperactive or their tongues blue! If you want to colour cakes and bakes, see the post on how to make your own natural food dyes. Try this Baked Vegan Blueberry Pancake (Rainbow Nourishments).
This post simplifies the benefits of eating several different fruits and vegetables, to take advantage of natural phytochemicals. You know this stuff: red/orange vegetables have beta-carotene, blue/purple produce have antioxidants etc. So which foods have what, and what are the benefits? In this post find out!
Just a quick note: if you take heart or blood pressure medication, check the paper inserts, as some people are best not guzzling lots of green vegetables (or grapefruit juice) as it could affect you. Not to say you can never eat broccoli – just you may not be able to chug down 10 smoothies a day, or it could interact with your medicine.
Blueberry Baked Oatmeal (Crowded Kitchen)
Blue & purple produce contain anthocyanins. These are powerful antioxidants that are good for your heart and blood pressure, as they help prevent bad clotting. They are also good to prevent cancer and your brain. They are also good for your urinary system. Find them in:
- Blackberries & blueberries
- Plums & prunes
- Grapes & raisins
Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Pasta (Cupful of Kale).
Green produce contains chlorophyll (the lack of this is what makes tree leaves turn brown in autumn). These are good for your eyes in particular, helping to prevent macular degeneration. They are also all-round good for everything, helping to prevent cancer and also high in vitamins (particularly vitamin K, which is why people on medication need to avoid too much, if they interact). Find them in:
- All dark leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale etc)
- Brussels sprouts
- Green peppers & peas
- Cucumber & celery
Strawberry Mango Smoothie (Crowded Kitchen)
Red produce contains lycopene, which is good for your heart and helps to prevent cancer (especially prostate cancer). They also contain flavenoids that can reduce inflammation (arthritis etc) although some people may find tomatoes have the opposite effect. Find them in:
- Strawberries & raspberries
- Red cabbage
- Rhubarb (not for stomach/kidney issues. Don’t compost rhubarb leaves as they contain a toxin that can harm garden friends – just bin where they will naturally biodegrade.
- Red grapes
- Pink grapefruit (not for heart medication in some cases)
Spaghetti Squash Soup (Crowded Kitchen)
Yellow/orange produce contains carotenoids (beta-carotene) that can make vitamin A in your body, without need for animal foods. This is good for your immune system, bones, eyes and immunity. They are also high in viamins and folate (folic acid, good to prevent birth defects, although most doctors recommend a supplement for safety). Find them in:
- Carrots & pumpkin
- Sweet potatoes
- Peaches & nectarines
- Pears & yellow apples
- Oranges & tangerines
- Cantaloupe melon (store separate, can contain salmonella)
- Butternut squash
Cauliflower Leek Soup (Crowded Kitchen)
White produce contains anthoxanthins, and allicin, which is good for your heart and blood pressure, and may help to prevent cancer. They also are good for your kidneys. Find them in:
- Potatoes & cauliflower
- Parsnips & turnips
- Onions, garlic & ginger