A form of vanilla flavoring that is made from vanilla extract and vanilla bean powder (sometimes it’s what’s left over from producing the extract and sometimes fresh vanilla bean seeds), mixed with a binder such as sugar syrup, corn syrup, or in commercial preparations, xanthan gum. It has the consistency of a paste and an intense, distinctly vanilla flavor, and can be used in place of vanilla extract; however, they are not interchangeable unless it is 1 teaspoon or less.

Here is the exchange rule (yes, it’s a rule!):

1 teaspoon vanilla extract = 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste = vanilla bean seeds from one pod  + 1 teaspoon corn syrup, cane syrup, or mild agave nectar


Vanilla pods, or beans, a staple flavoring throughout the world, come from orchids and are grown in many regions. Like wine grapes, they have distinct characteristics. Unlike wine, however, they have actual grades. Vanilla extract is made from grade B beans, not grade A. Unlike maple syrup, where cooking with grade B is better, grade B vanilla beans are more brittle, thinner, and have fewer  seeds inside.

  • Vanilla beans grown in Madagascar (yes, like the animated movie) are also called Madagascar Bourbon; these are robust, commonly used beans that come in two grades.

  • Tahitian beans are as warm yet refreshing as a vacation in Tahiti. They are plump and juicy and have many flavor overtones and undertones that make them complex and extra delicious. They are usually the most expensive.

  • Mexican beans come in two grades and are strongly flavored, with a little bit of smoke. They are a cost-wise option.

  • Not as easily available, but worth seeking out, are vanilla beans from Tonga (very costly and highly prized), Uganda (very richly flavored), and Indonesia (also a distinct flavor).


Our vegan recipes contain no animal products or animal-derived products. They do not include eggs, animal milks, or honey. Some products, like gelatin (marshmallows!), chocolate chips, or Worcestershire sauce are now available vegan.


Vegan mayonnaise is mayonnaise that is made without eggs or other animal products. Traditional mayonnaise is an emulsion of egg yolks, vegetable oil, and lemon juice or vinegar. Vegan mayonnaise typically substitutes soy milk or tofu (also a soy product) for the egg yolks. You can make it yourself, but there are several commercial brands on the market. If you are allergic to soy, good news! There is even soy-free vegan mayo commercially available. Read the labels and seek out one that is made from pea protein or other egg-free, soy-free ingredients.


Vegetable oil is often made from soybean or rapeseed, as well as other crops. It is frequently used for deep frying. Vegetable oil can be bought at major supermarkets or online. For more information on vegetable oil, click here.


Recipes that contain no animal products, but may contain eggs, dairy products, or honey. We do not use products that contain animals, like conventional gelatin or Worcestershire sauce, unless there is a vegetarian version available. For more information on different types of vegetarianism, click here.


Verjus, also spelled verjuice, is a tart juice made by pressing unripe grapes. It is prized by cooks who need a mild acidic note in their recipes, but not as much of a kick as regular vinegar would supply. Verjus, a French word that means green (vert) juice, was a staple during Medieval times, but fell out of favor in the West and was not widely used, until it was rediscovered by contemporary chefs. A similar product is used widely in Middle Eastern and Central Asian cuisines.


Vermicelli is a thin noodle. The vermicelli made from wheat is popular in Italy and Latin America (where it is called fidelos). Vermicelli made from rice is very popular in Asia and throughout the Indian subcontinent and into Central Asia and Iran. The noodles are often broken up and toasted oil or clarified butter and then rice is added along with stock  and cooked. This dish, called pilaf or pilaw, is the basis for the packaged brand, Rice a Roni, and has endless variations.