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).