Risotto and vegetarian onion soup mixes

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After watching an episode of Regina’s Vegetarian Table yesterday, I was inspired to make her New England Risotto recipe. Risotto, of course, is a traditional Italian recipe that uses the unique Arborio rice. Regina gave it a little New England twist. I liked the taste of the apples mixed in with the sage and smoked gouda. I probably could have let it cook a little longer, and it wasn’t as fluffy as I would have liked, but it made a nice, hot dinner and worked well for lunch leftovers.

One thing I encountered worth noting is that it called for “dry onion soup mix.” I was going to use Lipton Recipe Secrets onion soup mix, but held off because it listed the ever-questionable “natural flavors” in the ingredients. As you may know, the only difference between natural and artificial flavors are the source. Artificial flavors are made in the lab while natural flavors simply derive from a “natural” source (which may include animals). An artificial flavor and a natural flavor can be exactly the same, chemcially, but must be labeled differently based on the source. It’s important for vegetarians to remember that “natural flavors” can mean beef powder or chicken brother as easily as it can mean vegetable powder. This was best illustrated by the McDonald’s french fries debacle, where the company caused an uproar by not specifiying that their natural flavor came from beef-derived flavoring.

I checked a few other brands of dry onion soup and noticed that Knorr’s uses both beef and chicken-derived flavoring, which was enough of a hint for me to stay away from Lipton’s. I did find, though that the store brand onion soup mix did not have any animal derived flavoring (though it did contain MSG). I have written to Lipton’s to find out if their dry onion soup mix is vegetarian-safe.

5 Responses to “Risotto and vegetarian onion soup mixes”

  1. Jason Ronallo

    Please let us know what Lipton says! I always thought it would be interesting to have a database of which product’s “natural” flavorings were vegetarian. This could be a nice push for right-to-know campaigns. Well, maybe I’ll get around to it some day.

  2. pat

    what did they say? I just ate some and got sick!!!

  3. Krystal

    PETA has Lipton Onion Soup Mix on it’s “I can’t believe it’s vegan” list. http://www.peta.org/accidentallyVegan/VeganShoppingQS-Staples.asp?Category=Staples

  4. Amanda

    I’m guessing it is NOT vegan. Two of the ingredients; Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate are listed on wikipedia as being found mostly from pigs and cows or something.

  5. Amanda

    I called Lipton/Unilever, 1-877-995-4490, and was told it is NOT a vegetarian product, that the flavorings are from animal products. Also, it is no longer on PETA’s good list.

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