You might think it’s vegetarian

There are many products that people think are vegetarian and they are not. Some of these situations occur because of lack of knowledge or individuals like the Flexitarians who confuse people by saying they are part-time vegetarians.

Throughout the years of being vegetarian I have bumped into many things that seem to be vegetarian and I am going to create a list of options which are not vegetarian and you might think they are.

Caesar Salad

Most people think vegetarian and offer a salad same reason I am not a fan of eating salads or having it suggested to me as an option. Worcestershire Sauce has an ingredient that is not vegetarian/vegan friendly and that is anchovies.

Ingredients: romaine or cos lettuce , olive oil, fresh crushed garlic – often in olive oil, salt to taste, fresh-ground black pepper. wine vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice – fresh squeezed, Worcestershire sauce, raw or coddled egg yolks, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, freshly prepared croutons

Cheez wiz

One of my favorite spreads as a kid and even as an adult. Finding out that this was not vegetarian was not good news. I still see it in the supermarket and I ask myself why do they add worchestershire sauce (which contains anchovies) to the recipe.

Ingredients: Whey, canola oil, milk protein concentrate, maltodextrin, sodium phosphate, contains less than 2% of whey protein concentrate, salt, lactic acid, sodium alginate, mustard flour, worchestershire sauce, (vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices, tamarind, natural flavor), sorbic acid as a preservative, milkfat, cheese culture, oleoresin paprika (color), annatto (color), natural flavor, enzymes.


Obviously this is not a healthy option but I remember I picked one up about a year ago and looked at the ingredients what I found funny was that it said it had “Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening” in other words they where not even sure if the animal byproduct in or left it out. This was a huge flag for me and I did find A Visual of Twinkies 37 ingredient with the following photograph by Dwight Eschliman of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Flour, Reduced Iron, B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid)], Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat), Whole Eggs, Dextrose. Contains 2% or Less of: Modified Corn Starch, Glucose, Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sweet Dairy Whey, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Cornstarch, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Yellow 5, Red 40.

Some Bagels

Everytime I see a bagel with L-Cysteine I picture myself with Duck Feathers in my mouth.

L-Cysteine is a minor constituent of the bagel base. It is commonly and widely used in the baking industry as a dough conditioner.  It is an amino acid obtained from a number of sources by means of hydrolysis (a lengthy refining process).  The end product is extremely remote from its natural or synthetic origin. The non vegan and also the non vegetarian forms are most commonly made from duck feathers.


As much as I Loved them I think may of us forget that any ingredient with gelatin is not vegetarian friendly. The marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar or corn syrup, water, gelatin that has been softened in hot water, dextrose, and flavorings, whipped to a spongy consistency

These items I mentioned are clearly not vegetarian but if you don’t read the ingredients on the label you might think it is free of meat and it really is not. If you have doubts on what you are eating it might not be a bad idea to have an app on your smart phone that helps you identify ingredients that are difficult to pronounce.

Do you know of any other products or meal options that look vegetarian and they are not?

photo credit by John-Morgan



  1. AnaNo Gravatar on June 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    It’s also important to know this for people who have specific food allergies. My mother is allergic to all things from the sea and she’s had a couple of scares with Caesar dressing. Didn’t know Cheese Whiz also contained it, thanks for the head’s up.

  2. Raul ColonNo Gravatar on June 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Yes it does contain it. The one most people don’t know about are the bagels…. 

  3. Ivan Cao-Berg on June 3, 2011 at 1:37 am

    there is a specific kind of vegan worchestershire sauce that can be used as a replacement. don’t forget my mistake. some miso soups don’t contain fish stock, but some do. so ask first. 🙂

Leave a Comment