A couple decades ago, it was hard being a vegetarian. Few substitutes existed for meat; about the best an herbivore could expect was a mealy soy burger or a rubbery tofu dog. And for vegans, the culinary landscape was even bleaker.
Times have definitely changed. Now, meatless eaters can enjoy an enormous variety of foods, ranging from ersatz pepperoni to Philly steak slices and rich, smooth, like-the-real-thing ice cream. Where shelves once sported a meager selection, the varieties are now nearly overwhelming. To illustrate the enormous number of options, we've compiled a list of 15 great products. And really, these are just the tip of the modern, meat-free iceberg.
1| Sunshine Burger
In a land of soy- and gluten-based burgers, the Sunshine Burger stands alone. It's made with sunflower seeds, brown rice, and vegetables-a tough-to-beat combo for nutrition. And it's free of soy and wheat, so people with allergies can enjoy burgers again.
2| Luna & Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss
Made from coconut milk, and sweetened with agave, Coconut Bliss is one of the best, creamiest versions of ice cream that you'll find. For vegans and dairy-eaters alike.
3| Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
A vegan favorite for years, this egg- and dairy-free mayo has become a culinary classic. It's as smooth and creamy as the real thing, and adds a rich flavor to coleslaw, potato salad, and sandwiches of every kind.
4| Turtle Island SmokyMaple Bacon Marinated Tempeh
With a sweet-smoky flavor like the real thing, this traditional tempeh is perfect on a TLT (the vegan version of a BLT). Toast whole-grain bread, smear with mayo or Vegenaise, and layer on tomatoes, lettuce, marinated tempeh, and slices of avocado.
5| Soy Kaas Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese
Serve it with whole-grain crackers or pumpernickel bread, or add a schmear to your favorite bagel.
6| Gardein Chick'n Scallopini
Pre-seasoned and ready to sauté. Pair with a garden salad and a side of cooked quinoa for a fast evening meal. In the freezer section.
7 | Boca Meatless Ground Crumbles
Add them to black bean chili with loads of vegetables, use them to stuff tri-color bell peppers, or concoct a fragrant sloppy Joe mix.
8| Health is Wealth Chicken Free Nuggets
Breaded with rice starch and spices, these savory bites are gluten-free. Serve them with ranch dressing for dipping, or as a quick kids' meal. Find them in the freezer section.
9|Tofurky Peppered Deli Slices
Layer them between rye bread with (dairy or non-dairy) Swiss cheese, thick slices of tomato, crisp lettuce, and a spicy brown mustard for an authentic-tasting version of a deli classic.
10| Helen's Kitchen The Original Garden Steak
They're not breaded, so you can slice them and add to stir-fry dishes. Or marinate in a simple mixture of tamari, garlic, and ginger, and sauté in sesame oil with snow peas and red peppers.
11| Road's End Organics Dairy Free Mac & Cheese
In a box like the "real" packaged thing, this vegan mac 'n' cheese makes a fast meal for kids. Add frozen green peas for color and extra nutrition.
12| Pacific Natural Foods Hazelnut Non-Dairy Beverage
Made from roasted hazelnuts-and sweetened with brown rice syrup-this milk alternative is light enough to pour over cereal and creamy enough to serve in coffee. A delicious soy-free alternative, especially for kids.
13| Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
This heart-healthy alternative to margarine and butter is low in saturated fat and dairy-free. Also available with olive oil, which provides healthy monounsaturated fats. Use it on toast, in baking, on cooked vegetables, and anywhere else you'd use butter.
14| Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Grated Parmesan Flavor Topping
This soy-based version of grated parm is perfect for pasta or pizza. Look for other Galaxy vegan cheese products in soy-free, rice-based versions.
15| Melissa's Soyrizo
This sausage substitute is spicy enough to resemble authentic ground chorizo, and it's quick and easy to cook. Add to black beans or scrambled eggs for a breakfast burrito.