Delicious Vegan Substitutes
Some people have a negative view of veganism solely based on the food. I'll admit that I had the same view until I opened my mind (and my mouth - yum!).
Our society has some death grip on things slathered in cheese and greasy meat, and so the thought of giving that up sends them into a panic.
Thankfully, no panic necessary. Companies are hearing the demand for faux meats and cheeses, and the market isn't what it used to be - it's much, much better!
Vegan substitutes were once known as being bland and tasteless, sponge-y and slime-y, and it was all us poor vegans could eat to get enough protein not to die! Well, you know that last part isn't true (and the first part isn't necessarily true, either) - vegan substitutes have always been about eating the things we have always eaten, but in a compassionate and cruelty-free way. While I admit that some of the first things I tried as a vegan were lackluster (to put it nicely), that is simply because I didn't know the amazing array of foods that were out there. Not to mention as time has gone on, and veganism has become more of a household name, products are becoming more widely available. Even the local grocery store in my tiny, rural town has started selling low-end vegan meats and even some good dairy milk alternatives! Times are certainly changing.
However, if you're going vegan expecting that there is going to be an assortment of substitutes available to you at every store you go to, and that every substitute you come across is going to be delicious, well, you're going to be disappointed to say the least. Keep in mind that when you go to the grocery store to pick up burgers or cheese, you tend not to buy the cheaper products, especially when you're looking for quality. Just as you know there are brands of burgers and chicken and sour cream you don't like, there are also brands in vegan substitutes that won't tickle your tastebuds.
Veganism is just now growing, and some of the quality products are not yet widely available. For instance, there are only 1-2 specialty stores in my town that carry anything of real value when it comes to vegan substitutes. With that being said, it's always worth making an extra stop!
To avoid you falling victim to terrible faux meats and other vegan substitutes I've compiled a handy list of foods that I have tried and truly loved. I hope you love them, too! It’s always a good day when you can add a vegan twist to your old favourites. Hopefully this list will make any transition to veganism easy-peasy. No more excuses. This stuff all tastes great, & you can’t say you could never give something up because there is always - always - a substitute!
The hunger for fake meat — or meatless meat — is getting bigger. So much so that the latest sales numbers of plant-based meat alternatives reached $553 million in 2012, representing a growth spurt of 8% from 2010. “We are doubling the business annually,” said Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat.
Some people will condemn processed foods and tell you that you should ONLY be eating whole foods – but I say they’re just peanut butter & jelly of you for enjoying all the deliciousness that the vegan food kingdom has to offer. Yes, some of these foods are high in sodium and some of them probably have the nutritional quality of cardboard, but can’t the same be said of most of their non vegan counterparts? Most of these foods are lower in saturated fat, & have been fortified with nutrients so some of them are very healthy meal supplements! Plus, many of us didn’t go vegan for our health, & since no animals were harmed in the making of these delicious foods, who gives a hoot? Of course eating a mostly whole foods diet is very important for your health, but food like this is what makes becoming vegan so, so easy in today’s day & age of junk food and fast food. If you want to cut back on it after a while, all the power to you! But until then, these foods will make the transition as smooth as a mango.
*Please note that I will add to this list as I try new things. This list is by no means complete or exhaustive, only things I have tried and truly enjoyed and can therefore suggest you try!
**Updated on November 22nd, 2015
Gardein turk'y cutlet (great for a low-key dinner)
Gardein Holiday Roast (so flipping delightful)
Tofurky Vegetarian Feast
Simulated bacon bits (for Caesar salad) Sweet Earth Hickory & Sage smoked seitan bacon (perfect for BLT, breakfast, wraps, burgers)
Gardein Beefless ground (the do-it-all ground round – perfect for EVERYTHING) Yves Veggie Cuisine Mexican Veggie Ground Round (great for tacos & nachos) Gardein Beefless Tips (Philly Cheese Steak, kebabs)
Beef jerky substitutes
Primal Strips meatless jerky – hickory, BBQ
Gardein Beefless Burgers
Gardein Black Bean Burgers
Gardein Ultimate Veggie Burgers Yves Veggie Cuisine The Good Veggie Burger Hot Dang Grain Burger Big Tex
Earth Balance organic whipped buttery spread (better than butter for toast) Earth Balance Original Buttery Flavour Spread (for baking)
Becel Vegan Margarine
Daiya cheddar cheese slices (yummy on grilled cheese)
Sheese Cheddar Slices (great for nachos, or grilled cheese) Field Roast Chao cheese (creamy original, tomato cayenne) – perfect for eating with crackers, melted, etc. Follow Your Heart mozzarella/cheddar/shreds (great on pizza)
Follow Your Heart Provolone-Style slices (so good on sandwiches or with vegan deli meats - see below) Parma Veg vegan parmesan (for pasta)
Gardein Marinara Chick’n Filets (makes a great chicken Parmesan) Gardein Chick’n Strips (good in a stir fry or wrap) Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders (like heaven in your mouth) Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Tenders
Daiya New York Cheezecake (delicious with some added cherry topping)
Daiya Key Lime Cheezecake (quite possibly the best cheesecake I have ever had - EVER)
Daiya Chocolate Cheezecake (it's good, but not as good as the others)
Sweets From The Earth Espresso Cheesecake (don't get me started)
Hot chocolate substitutes
Castle Kitchen Double Dutch Hot Chocolate
Castle Kitchen Marvelous Mint Dark Chocolate (so good I bought a bunch to give away as gifts!)
Chicken burger substitutes
Yves Veggie Cuisine Veggie Chicken Burger
Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders (aligned on a burger, seriously my family's favourite thing)
Enjoy Life chocolate chips Any dark chocolate
Coffee creamer substitutes
Silk French Vanilla Soy coffee creamer
Cream cheese substitutes
Sheese Herb and Garlic
Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
Creamy salad dressing substitutes
Follow Your Heart Cesar dressing
Deli meat substitutes
Yves Veggie Cuisine Veggie Ham (our favourite) Yves Veggie Cuisine Veggie Salami Yves Veggie Cuisine Veggie Bologna
Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg
Extra firm tofu (scrambled egg replacer) Chickpeas (egg salad sandwich replacer) Flax seeds + water (in recipes)
Frozen pizza substitutes
Daiya Fire Roasted Vegetable Daiya Margherita Daiya Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire Roasted Veggie
Gummy snack substitutes
Agave bears (Whole Foods) JuJubes (most are free of gelatin!) Maynard’s Fuzzy Peaches, Swedish Berries, Cabbage Patch Kids
Hot dog substitutes
Field Roast Frankfurters (quite possibly the best frank out there)
Ice cream substitutes
Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Cookie Dough
So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig Zag So Delicious Chocolate Coconut ice cream So Delicious Chocolate Velvet Soy ice cream So Delicious Mint Chip Coconut ice cream
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise (better than mayo!)
Silk dark chocolate soy milk (tastes like the original) So Nice unsweetened organic soy (tastes most like dairy milk)
Pizza pocket substitutes
Gardein BBQ Pulled Porkless Shreds Pockets Tofurky Pepperoni Pizza Pockets
Field Roast Celebration Roast
Field Roast Apple Sage Smoked Sausage Field Roast Italian Sausage Field Roast Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages (these are ridiculously good) Tofurky Italian Sausages
Gardein Golden Fishless Filet Match Vegan Ground Crab Meat Vegetarian Plus Vegan Shrimp May Wah Vegan Tuna
Sour cream substitutes
Tofutti Sour Supreme
So Delicious cultured coconut milk – strawberry, raspberry, mango, plain, vanilla