If you are not familiar with Marmite, it's a thick, black, yeast-based spread with a very strong taste, and as the saying goes, "You either love it or hate it."
For vegans that love it, it's a great choice, as it is a source of vitamin B12, and an added advantage is its diversity. Whilst I grew up thinking of it solely as a sandwich spread, when I ended up with three full jars in the cupboard last year, I started to research and experiment, and stumbled upon a few surprising but satisfying recipes.
In addition to my long-time favourite of Marmite on toast topped with baked beans, the good-old black stuff can be used for:
* Roast potatoes: Before mixing oil into a dish of chopped raw potatoes, pour it into a bowl and stir in a tablespoon of Marmite. Given the latter's viscosity, you'll need to mix quite vigorously! Apply the mixture to the 'spuds' and roast as normal.
* Cheese and Marmite strudel: Spread Marmite onto home-made or pre-rolled pastry, then top with dairy-free cheese, roll-up and bake. If you like mushrooms, adding some chopped champignons before forming the strudel works well too, as do these ingredients in a toasted sandwich.
*A drink: I'm not a fan of this myself, but my partner enjoys drinking a teaspoon of Marmite stirred into a mug of boiling water.
* Pasta: Whilst cooking (unflavoured) pasta as usual, melt some margarine in a pan and stir in Marmite and water over a low heat, changing quantities as needed until a paste forms. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then mix it into the paste before serving, with vegan 'Parmesan' if desired.
* Onion rings: As oil is heating ready for deep frying, chop white onions into circles. Mix Marmite vigorously with boiling water and then add oil and whisk in flour to make a batter. Dip the onion circles into the batter and drop them into the oil until crispy. The batter can also be used to coat and shallow fry vegan sausages, but make sure that you use it all and consume the final products in one sitting, as the batter mix does not keep well.
* As a glaze: Melt margarine on the hob, and over a low heat, stir in a spoon or so of Marmite. When fully mixed, use it to coat (popped) popcorn or unsalted nuts, and then bake the nibbles for around 5 minutes at 150°C/300°F.
I've been deliberately vague with the quantities, as how much to use depends not only on the desired portion sizes but also on the degree to which you love Marmite. A little of the spread will offer a slightly salty and spicy tang, whilst a lot may dominate so that other seasonings and flavours are no longer noticeable. Why not experiment a bit and see what works for you?
Photograph courtesy of Stewart Black, used unchanged under the terms of the Creative Commons license.