You’ll take a bite and say, “What in the world?!” Beyond Meat‘s vegan hamburger dupes are astonishingly convincing. They even “bleed” savory, pink juice. My favorite product of theirs that I’ve tried so far is their Beast Burger. Each box comes with two frozen patties. You just spray some oil in a non-stick pan, cook both sides of your patty, and slap it on a dressed bun.
It has all the flavor of smoky, grilled animal protein, but it is 100% plant-derived. The texture is unreal — like super tenderized meat. When you are attending a cook-out, bring this product along with you and you won’t feel like you are missing out at all.
Does Maybelline Approve? Yes! She thinks this is the real thing and when she smells this fake meat she comes galloping, her round little eyes bulging. I feed her teensy tiny pieces and she thinks I’m the best mommy — and the best hunter.
Meal delivery services are exploding right now, with Blue Apron and Hello Fresh leading the charge.
I was curious to see if there was a vegan meal service out there… and there is. I received three weeks of Purple Carrot for Christmas, and it basically tossed me out of my vegan rut. I had been eating the same things over and over again, struggling to find real creativity with my food. But Purple Carrot exposed me to new ingredients and recipes (that I never could have dreamed up) and made me realize that to get the most out of the vegan diet, you really need to bust out of your box.
Before I went vegan, I loved sour cream so much I could eat it with a spoon, plain. Vegan sour cream isn’t quite the same, but it is damn close. Tofutti “Better Than Sour Cream” Sour Cream leads the market. I put their sour cream in my mashed potatoes, over my vegan Mexican food, and plopped on top of soups.
I used to think mayonnaise was just for sandwiches. But, no. Purple Carrot helped me understand that it was made to become an aioli. You mix it with minced garlic and olive oil. You mix it with hot sauce. You even mix it with chopped capers — seriously! Drizzle it on top of your food to add another kick of flavor to your meal. Just Mayo is my favorite brand of vegan mayonnaise, beating out Vegenaise. It is slightly more creamy.
I have always wanted to love tofu and now I do, thanks to Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch. Before frying up your tofu, coat the pieces in potato starch. The starch will make a crisp and chewy coating and the tofu inside will become molten. So good. Thank you to Purple Carrot for teaching me this hack.
Sometimes a vegan can really suffer from nostalgia. But mac n’ cheese doesn’t have to be a part of that disease. There are tons of recipes out there for creamy, decadent vegan mac n’ cheese (I can’t wait to try out the coconut cream ones), but if you want to whip up something fast, Daiya Cheezy Mac is there for you.
Another food that is nostalgic for many is chicken nuggets. But I’m willing to bet you that no person feels nostalgic over the actual flesh of an animal. They miss the crispy, salty coating of those nuggets and the savory, meaty mash inside. They miss the warm, sepia-tinted memories. Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders isn’t an exact replica, but is certainly does the trick.
Almond Breeze, Milkadamia, Califia Farms… Whoever is making it, nut milks are indispensable. You can use them to cream-ify your coffee, make sauces, pour over your cereal… And they don’t come from the poor, ulcerated teat of a miserable, abused cow. Win!!!
They are honestly, totally boring, but rice cakes definitely help cut down on bread consumption. Instead of an open faced sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can put your ingredients on a rice cake. Luckily Quaker Oats makes some tastier rice cakes, like their Tomato and Basil ones.
Bakery on Main’s Almond Cranberry Maple Granola is the perfect breakfast treat. It is much more complex and flavorful than plain old cereal, but it still has an element of junk food. Their bean crisps are shaped like little cups and collect the smaller crisps, dried berries, and nuts inside them, along with your nut milk that you can pour on top. Only downside is that it’s expensive, but the flavor and crunch of this product is one of a kind.
For vegan baking, Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal is indispensable. The gooeyness of eggs help bind ingredients together, but that property can be replicated with wet flax meal. The slime is real! It really is like the albumen of an egg.
Okay, let’s get real. Nothing… NOTHING… can replace nutty, buttery Parmigiano-Reggiano. And that is sad. But what is sadder, perhaps, is animal exploitation. Go Veggie! Grated Parmesan Style Topping can’t hold a candle to the real thing, but it can do the trick when added to homemade pesto. Guys, pesto is EASY to make. Get a Ninja food processor and throw in fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Go Veggie! Fake Parm. Presto — perfect pesto!
Yeah, butter is nice, but we have a thing called margarine. And it is butter-flavored. Earth Balance Vegan Butter even has a line that is made without soy, for those who are sensitive to that allergen.
This product isn’t a dupe, but it is something that makes veganism easy because it is so tasty and and easy and helps to get those vitamins in! That’s Tasty Microgreens can be added to so many things. I put them on top of my guac on toast, in my tacos, in my sandwiches, on top of soups, in my spring rolls… they go everywhere! Eating them is like eating salad, but 1,000 times more fun.
Does Maybelline Approve? Nah. Maybelline think microgreens are nasty — firm proof that they are green and smell like cabbage.
My sister-in-law got me the America’s Test Kitchen: Vegan For Everybody cookbook for Christmas and it is so great. They really go into the fundamentals of vegan ingredients along with sharing some spectacular recipes.
What do you put on a sandwich besides deli meat and cheese? Lots of things, but my favorite is Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie Packs. These little pods of flavorful, thick guacamole are so handy to spread on two open faced sandwiches as the main attraction! And toppings stick to the guacamole spread so easily!
Lesser Evil’s Buddha Bowl Foods: Himalayan Gold Butter Flavored Coconut Oil Popcorn is my go-to for delicious popcorn that I sneak into the movies. Who needs movie theater butter when you have delectable coconut oil and pink salt?