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Jul 15, 2005 02:49 PM

How to cut the sweetness in vegetarian recipes?

  • b

I'm enjoying casseroles of tomato and eggplant, etc., but finding that they tend to end up a little too sweet. What can I throw in to remedy that? I'm thinking maybe worcestershire, tamari, oregano, black pepper, onion salt.

Other ideas?

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  1. I assume these have no sweetener, just the inherent sugar in the ingredients?

    You might try lemon juice or vinegar as well as something salty, or a combination of them. Which specific thing you use would really depend on the particular dish. Basically you want to trigger the sour/acid and salt responding taste buds to a level closer to the sweetness receptors. But there's only so much you can do without making it taste funny. Black pepper, chiles or other herbs and spices probably won't much affect the basic perception of sweetness - you'll just end up with a more heavily seasoned sweet tasting dish.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MikeG

      Right -- just the natural ingredients. Thanks.

      As I think of vinegar as a possibility, it occurs to me that maybe sweetness isn't strictly how I should have described that -- it's a certain "tang" of sweetness and acidity (all those tomatoes) that vinegar would probably add to. I should probably just pop a cube or two of beef bouillon in -- it's not a vegetarian recipe for any moral reasons.

      Or, hey, maybe some bitter melon!

      1. re: BW

        Hehe, bitter melon...I dare you!

        Seriously though, I suggest some sort of grated cheese like mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, or pecorino romano. You don't need much, just a dusting btwn. layers to cut through the acidity and monotony. Fresh basil is also great right now.