We’ve all heard it before, omnivores saying “I would starve if I went vegan!” It’s a common misconception that all vegans eat is “rabbit food.” We actually eat a huge variety of extremely tasty and exciting foods that even those skeptical meat eaters would love.
Here are my Top 10 delicious vegan products that are great, hearty, and satisfying high-protein substitutes to use in already existing recipes. You won’t miss the meat or dairy – I promise!
1. Seitan – this is made from wheat gluten and is a fantastic substitute for beef or pork in recipes like sandwiches, cheesesteaks, casseroles, stir frys and more. More protein per pound than beef and free of saturated fat, seitan is a healthy meat alternative. Try a BBQ seitan sandwich or Asian fried rice with seitan and pineapple, the possibilities are endless! My favorite brand is Sweet Earth Natural Foods, they have the best seitan I have ever tasted by far. http://www.sweetearthfoods.com/
2. Tempeh – awesome as a substitute for bacon, chicken salads, tuna salads or even chili meat. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, so it’s a probiotic food that’s great for digestion and super high in protein. Because tempeh uses the entire bean it is also a great source of fiber. My choice for tempeh is definitely the Tofurkey brand. It comes in a variety of flavors that can accommodate a plethora of recipes.
3. Chickpeas – super easy way to add protein and fiber (just 2 cups contain your entire daily requirement!) to your diet. Great in salads, dressings, soups or dips like hummus. Slightly firmer than most legumes with a mild, nutty flavor chickpeas offer a satisfying mouth feel and they help you to feel fuller faster.
4. Veggie Burgers – no longer resembling lawn clippings, veggie burgers have come a long way baby! In the last few years they’ve developed a fantastic taste, meaty texture and great nutritional profile. My two favorite brands are Sweet Earth Natural Foods Teriyaki Burgers and Hilary’s Eat Well Root Veggie Burger. http://www.sweetearthfoods.com/
5. Black Beans – another great and simple way to add extra protein and satisfying density to rice, quinoa, Mexican dishes, etc. Black beans are nutritional powerhouses and can aid in blood sugar regulation, lowering blood cholesterol levels and reducing risk of cancer.
6. Mock Chicken – another product that has come a long way, fake chicken is a great way to transition from eating regular chicken. Same amazing flavor and protein, without the cholesterol, fat and concerns about salmonella. You can substitute these in any recipe that calls for chicken and you really won’t know the difference! The best brands out there by far are Beyond Meat and Gardein. http://beyondmeat.com/
7. Vegan Cheeses – the Holy Grail of vegan products has finally been perfected! These vegan cheeses taste great and actually melt now! They can help you kick your addiction to the dreaded casomorphins in cheese. In cow milk, the protein casein is thought to break into casomorphins when it is digested, resulting in opiate effects. Don’t be an addict – just eat vegan cheese. Favorite brands are Daiya and Go Veggie! http://us.daiyafoods.com/ http://www.goveggiefoods.com/
8. Protein Shakes – on the go protein shakes have not had many healthy options, until now. Vegan, superfood protein shakes are now available thanks to Kate Farms with a whopping 21 superfoods in each shake (like acai, kale, mangosteen and turmeric to name a few)! These shakes are soy free, dairy free, gluten free and non GMO. Easy, delicious, convenient option when you’re on the run and don’t have a blender handy. http://www.katefarms.com/
9. Vegan Seafood – I never thought the day would come when vegan seafood would hit the market. Well, that day has come. It’s also soy-free and gluten-free! Best choices in terms of flavor and texture are from Sophie’s Kitchen. My faves are the vegan shrimp (awesome with cocktail sauce) and the vegan crab cakes. Light, flavorful and awesome mouth feel! http://sophieskitchen.net/
10. Ground Vegan Beef – this is my favorite product from the Natural Products Expo East 2013. It’s called Neat – and it’s the first soy-free, gluten-free ground beef product that I’ve seen on the market. It’s made from a blend of walnuts and spices. The taste will make you do a double take… and a double taste. Super easy to mix and make with your favorite recipes. http://www.eatneat.com/
As you can see vegan products are exploding right now and they just keep getting better and better. All of my top 10 are a great start for someone hesitant to give up their meat and dairy because they definitely aren’t “rabbit food”!
What are some of your favorite vegan products that would make an omnivore second guess their dietary choices?