Vegan Natural Food Coloring From Plants | PETA


Published by Rebecca Maness.

Want to recreate the rainbow food trend at home but not sure how to do it? You might be surprised at how far you can get with just good ol’ fruits and veggies. Brands such as Rawnice and Just Blends—which sell natural food coloring powders—are making it super-easy to tint your food vibrant hues without using ingredients that harm animals. Some foods are typically dyed with animal-derived ingredients, such as squid ink, which is obtained by killing a sensitive squid or other cephalopod and extracting the ink from inside their body. Ditch those cruelly obtained ingredients—instead, try these plant-based options that will help you color your smoothies, baked goods, and other foods some of the dreamiest shades.

Reds and Pinks

  • Pitaya powder: This vibrant superfood is made from pitaya—also known as dragon fruit—a yummy fruit known for its neon-pink skin and adorable black-and-white polka-dotted flesh and seeds. It’s the secret ingredient in that viral “pink sauce,” so why not give it a try with this bee-friendly version of the recipe from Thee Burger Dude?
  • Beets: Anyone who’s cooked a beet—or even just eaten one—knows how very magenta they are and how easily they can stain your skin. You can use puréed beets or beet juice to color foods any shade from a true red to a light pink. Beetroot powder makes it even easier. Just add a bit to your cake batter or pasta dough and watch the magic happen!
  • Hibiscus powder: The powdered version of this beautiful edible flower can be mixed into muffins, cupcakes, frostings, and even sauces in order to create a deep red color.

Purples

  • Red cabbage: This is one of the basic yet magical ingredients in unicorn noodles, which are about to become your latest obsession—if they’re not already.
  • Butterfly pea flower powder: This magically color-changing powder goes from blue to purple, so it’s in both categories. Find out all about it below.
  • Ube powder: Often used in Filipino dishes, ube powder is made from dried purple yams that have a lovely, slightly vanilla taste perfect for desserts.

Blues

  • Butterfly pea flower powder: Yes, it’s made from a flower, ’cause we’re just a bunch of unicorn fairies over here and that’s what we dye our food with. Butterfly pea flowers are usually made into a tea, but the powder made from them turns food a brilliant blue and transforms into purple if you add something acidic, like lime or lemon.
  • Blue spirulina: Spirulina—it’s fun to say and even more fun for dyeing foods. This powder, derived from blue-green–colored algae, is a powerful antioxidant—as if the power to rainbow-ify your food weren’t reason enough to use it.

Greens

  • Matcha green tea powder: Matcha is energizing and full of antioxidants. Add it to smoothies or other foods to achieve a rich, pastel-green hue.
  • Spirulina: This is the regular version of the vividly colored algae, which will give a beautiful green hue—plus a health boost—to your nice cream or other foods.

Yellows

  • Turmeric powder: You probably have some sitting in your spice cabinet right now. This super-healthy root has an intensely bright yellow color and has been used as a dye for centuries.
  • Mango: If you’re looking for a richly colored yellow smoothie that tastes like a creamy tropical dream, look no further than mango!

Blacks and Grays

  • Activated charcoal: Sick of all these rainbows and ready to embrace your dark side? Activated charcoal is a super-detoxifying supplement that can turn your foods into every anti-rainbow shade of gray and black. We get it—full-time unicorn life isn’t for everyone.
  • Black sesame: Available as a paste, a powder, or whole seeds, this ingredient has a nutty taste that can be used in savory or sweet dishes and gives them a rich black color.

Make life more colorful—while making it kinder for animals—by going vegan today! You’ll make a huge impact on the lives of cows, pigs, chickens, fish, and all others who are used for experimentation, food, fashion, entertainment, and more.

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