How to Garnish Every Vegan Dish

March 19, 2019

How to Garnish Every Vegan Dish

Cutting to the chase...

A garnish is more than a cherry on top! The right garnish boosts your recipe’s flavor, enhances its aroma, and makes everything prettier. And when it comes to vegan dishes, there are endless ways to garnish your favorite recipes. From toasted seeds and fresh herbs to grated beets and shelled edamame, you’ve can garnish your way through the plant-based rainbow. Keep reading for 16 of our favorite vegan garnish ideas.

Digging Deeper…

When most folks hear the word “garnish” they think of the mysterious drizzle added to their expensive dish at a fancy restaurant. Pretty but not always that flavorful. Here at MamaSezz, we believe a garnish should be more than eye candy! A good garnish brings out the natural flavors and aromas of your dish while making it more visually appealing. (We do, after all, eat with our eyes first.)

So how can you garnish your favorite vegan dishes? We’re glad you asked...

Our 19 Favorite Ways to Garnish Every Vegan Dish

These No B.S. (Bad Suff) garnishes can be added to almost any vegetarian main dish! Better yet, you can whip ‘em up in advance and keep in your fridge or pantry until you’re ready to jazz up that plant-based recipe.

  • 1. Toasted and roasted seeds

    We love using toasted or roasted seeds to garnish a big bowl of soup, salad, or even a bowl of non-dairy ice cream! Don’t forget to add some of our favorite salt-free seasonings before you pop them in the oven.

    2. Minced chives

    Easy peasy and oh-so-versatile, minced chives go well in everything! Try with pasta dishes, hummus toast, dairy-free mashed potatoes, burrito bowls, summer salads. Our favorite dish to garnish with chives? MamaSezz Corn Chowdah! (Pro tip: Mince delicate chives right before you want to use as they last longer in the fridge when intact.)

  • 3. Fresh herbs

  • Fresh herbs are a great last-minute garnish idea for the home chef on the fly. Play around with mint, basil, parsley, cilantro (great for Mexican dishes!), rosemary, sage.

    4. Cheezy creamy Mama’s Mac Sauce

    Is there anything our dairy-free cheese sauce can’t make better? We’re going to go ahead and say no! A drizzle of our Mama’s Mac Sauce transforms any dish. Try it on burrito bowls, veggie burgers, and roasted veggies for a creamy, dreamy, flavor boost.

    5. Roasted veggies

    A healthy way to add a pop of color to your plate. When it comes to roasting veggies, any variety is up for grabs but these are some of our go-tos for garnishing: asparagus, beets, red onion, carrots. Place your roasted veggies on top of mashed cauliflower or potato and sprinkle with your favorite herb (that’s right -- garnish your garnish!).

  • 6. Popcorn

    Yes, popcorn as a garnish. What a world! It pairs beautifully with creamy soups. We recommend topping your favorite vegan butternut squash or our MamaSezz dairy-free Corn Chowdah.

    7. Toasted coconut

    Sweet tooth? Add toasted coconut to your favorite whole food plant-based desserts, like this refined sugar-free fudge brownie! Or even start your day on a sweet note by sprinkling toasted coconut on your oatmeal.

    8. Carrot curls

    One of our favorite ways to jazz up a salad? Spiralize some carrots to make pretty curls! And for those trying to up their hydration game, carrot curls are also a great way to add flavor (and vitamins) to your H20.

    9. Grated beet

    Another great addition to your favorite salad: grated beets. Or look beyond greens and pile on top of a veggie burger. Beets aren’t just eye-catching, this delicious root vegetable is high in heart-healthy dietary nitrates which can boost athletic performance and blood flow.

    10. Lemon rings, lemon peel, lemon wedge

    Add zip to your table with lemons. Whether you’re making rings, using the peel, or tossing in a whole wedge, the acidity of lemon is perfect for sharpening the flavors of your favorite beverages, sweet sauces, and savory soups. Pro tip: with lemon zest, grate at the last minute to prevent the shreds from drying out.

    11. Oranges, rings, peels, and wedges

    While we’re on the subject, don’t be afraid to explore the world of citrus fruit! Oranges pair well with sweet or savory. Add new life to soups by spritzing fresh orange juice just before serving. Freshen up your salad with orange slices. And of course, pair orange with chocolate for a tasty dessert combo.

    12. Olives, sliced green or black olives, or whole.

    Go Mediterranean and add olives. Top off your vegan burrito bowl with minced kalamata olives. Use sliced green olives to spruce up your cashew cream cheese toast. Toss any variety in your pasta salad. Layer Kalamatas with peppers, mushrooms, and artichoke on 100% whole grain dough for dairy-free pizza night.


    12. Paprika

    So much more than the red sprinkle on potato salad. Made from peppers (bell peppers or sometimes hot peppers!), there are many varieties of paprika. Experiment with mild, sweet, spicy, and smoked. Good with just about any savory dish, we love to pair it with roasted cauliflower or our dairy-free Hungarian Mushroom Soup.

    13. Green peas 

    Green peas are high in protein and as all kiddos know, the perfect companion to dairy-free mac and cheese. But you can also think outside the box with your green peas! Toss in your favorite stir-fry. Use as a salad topper. Add to Asian noodle soup. Mash and mix with mint, green onions, and date syrup for a new take on your morning toast spread.

  • 14. Edamame

    Edamame (AKA whole soybeans) is a protein-packed add-on to any salad, stir-fry, soup, even mashed potatoes! You can find in-the-shell and shelled varieties at the grocery store in the freezer aisle.

  • 15. Avocado

    Last but certainly not least, avocados are the MVPs of the plant-based garnish world. This buttery fruit (yep, it’s a fruit!) can spruce up soups, salads, hummus toast, rice bowls, tacos, sandwiches, and more.

  • Let’s get garnishing… 

    We like a pretty plate as much as anybody but the perfect garnish takes your vegan dish recipe up a notch on so many levels beyond aesthetics! Look for garnishes that:
    • Make your dish more beautiful by adding color and texture.
    • Complement the natural flavors of the dish.
    • Bring out and enhance the dish’s aromas.
    • Are fun to eat!