July 5, 2017
  •  By: Jason Sani

Umami 101: The flavor of delicious

What if there was a magic sauce that you could pour over anything that you ate, such as vegetables and it would automatically make them delicious? This flavor sauce exists and you have the power to customize and add it to whatever you need.

What you need wrapped up in something yummy
Great taste and great nutrition can—and should—joyfully coexist at the dinner table. We crave flavor and with a little effort, we can use flavor to crave “healthy”.

You are probably familiar with this 5th flavor called, umami from common foods such as: sea vegetables like kelp, fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso.


Umami (pronounced oo-MAH-mee) is derived from the Japanese term for “deliciousness.” It’s been dubbed the “fifth taste” (the other four being sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). It’s been hailed as savory, delicious, dimensional, and mouth-watering.

Parmesan cheese, broth, curry sauce, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, caramelized vegetables, anchovies, tomatoes, tomato paste, asparagus, and mushrooms are foods said to have umami.

Using Umami to increase palatability
Umami enhances the perception of thickness and complexity while improving the overall palatability of some foods and beverages. It has become an increasingly important tool for balancing the five basic tastes, aromas, and textures in product formulation and recipe development.

Umami as a tool to crave more of what we need
Research consistently shows that the taste is the primary driver behind food choices. By enhancing the flavor of your foods, the experience will take vegetables from tolerable to craveable.

If you desire savory foods, you’re probably craving umami and there are plenty of ways to get that appetizing, mouthwatering taste.

One of the most popular ingredients among plant-based eaters is nutritional yeast. It adds a cheesy, salty taste to food as well as a bunch of important vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12. Nutritional yeast adds richness and complexity to most savory dishes. Take, for example, True food’s own umami sauce. You can find this sauce smothered over burgers, salmon or frequent veggie dishes. Find this recipe below:

True Food’s Umami sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons tamari
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
8 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Blend or puree ingredients.Keep a jar of it in the refrigerator and use it on everything from steamed vegetables to burgers, or salmon. It’s great on salads.

Jason Sani is the author of Making Healthy Taste Good. He is a trained and licensed Culinary Nutritionist that has worked in the athletics and sports medicine industry for over 10 years. Jason practices what he preaches and leads an energetic lifestyle by example. His focus is Nutrition and training towards the active population. Jason is a resource of inspiration while spreading energy in and out of the mind and body. Follow him on Instagram: @jasonsani




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