Food Substitutions



Rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk. There are so many flavors and brands, it's mind boggling! Don't give up! Just keep trying them until you find one you like, and talk to your friends about recommendations. I am partial to the Califa and Oatly brand, but also like Rice Dream or Almond Dream for something lighter. The newest products are mixing types, such as cashew-almond milk etc. -- they are highly delicious and have inspired me to mix together a few of my favorite brands into a single glass. :D

Margarine and butter
Earth Balance spread (or other vegetable-based spread)

Nutella Spread
Almond butter, peanut butter.

Here's a epic list of vegan cheeses. In my personal opinion vegan cheese is tricky and can sometimes taste questionably. I advise you to try things out in small quantities and to keep an open mind about vegan cheese in general even if you try one that you dislike.

Scheese and Daiya vegan cheeses have recently gained popularity, but in my opinion they will be surpassed by the newest better evolutions of vegan cheeses. My latest favorites are Treeline vegan spreadable cheeses and Chao sliced cheeses. Also, this vegan mozzarella is amazing and very hard to stop eating (however I'm not a fan at all of the cheddar version of the same product). Tofutti sliced vegan cheese is a great one for sandwiches, and Wayfare Cheddar Spread is my one of my favorites for crackers. This is also a good place to reemphasize amazingly delicious homemade vegan mac and cheeze. Until recently I would never have recommended buying store bought vegan mac and cheese, but I just found the new Earth Balance mac and cheese and it's great! In case you are set on homemade, this recipe using a blended nutritional yeast, earth balance, mustard, cashew, miso, etc. mix as cheese is simply amazing and addicting.

Here are some recipes I tell myself I will have time to try one day:
Raw Almond Cheeze
Raw Walnut Cheddar Cheeze
Macadamia Nut Cheeze
Vegan Goat Cheeze
Cashew Cheeze
Any Nut Cheeze
Also, here's a vegan cheese recipe book that looks interesting.

Cream Cheese
Vegan cream cheese is a safe bet regarding deliciousness. I have never been disappointed.
I've tried this one and that one.

Sour Cream
Vegan sour cream! Yup, it's that simple! Just take your favorite dip recipe and use this stuff instead of dairy sour cream. This product is so good, no one will ever know the difference and it can be an eye opening experience about how good and creamy food can be without needing animal products.

Veganaise! Again, I find this stuff amazing and it's the type of product that can fool the non-vegan with it's amazing deliciousness.

I enjoy coconut milk yogurt, but soy yogurt and other analogous products also exist.

Here's a quick overnight pudding recipe made from seeds and coconut milk. You can also buy at the grocery store various vegan items such as chocolate pudding or vanilla. Look for coconut-based products like this one.

Ice cream
The variety of products offered by SoDelicious and Tofutti grows exponentially, it's exciting! I just discovered a brand called Cashewtopia and they have vegan pistachio! In recent years Ben and Jerry's took the plunge into the plant based market, who can resist?

Breakfast eggs
Mash up firm tofu then saute with oil and whatever spices and veggies you can find. I like mushroom and spinach with tumeric and paprika.

2019 UPDATE: New vegan egg products are shaking up the industry!
Check out my vegan egg reviews page!

Egg sandwich
Marinade a slice of firm tofu in miso and soy sauce then fry it up with nutritional yeast and put it on a (vegan) bagel. Did I mention Veganaise (mayo substitute) and vegan sliced american cheese? These can be found at your local Stop 'n Shop. Tempeh bacon is a great addition too.

Eggs for baking
Ener-g Egg Replacer Powder, applesauce, milk substitutes or some combination of these.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Amy's vegan soups (check labels)

Bacon and hot dogs
Vegan bacon and vegan hot dogs: again, these can be found at your local Stop 'n Shop! Also, marinaded tempeh that is ready-to-fry is another yummy bacon substitute.


Vegan burger. Unfortunately you need to read ingredients or ask questions at a food establishment since not all vegetarian burgers are vegan (also, some restaurant workers will not know what vegan means, so be prepared for a possibly unproductive or unfriendly conversation if you choose to ask). The good news is that there are plenty of vegan burger recipes online and frozen vegan burgers like Boca and Sunshine in your grocery store.

Boring salad with no dressing

Quinoa salad, Potato salad, Tabouleh, and/or Salad with some subset of the following ingredients: fried tempeh strips, tofu, hummus or baba ganoush, avocado, pine nut, walnut, sunflower seeds, almond slices, cranberry, apple slices, etc.. A few vegan salad dressings are tahini dressings, various vinnaigrette dressings, (non-creamy) italian dressing, oil and vinegar etc..

Meat and potatoes
Rice and veg

Other Meats & Seafood
Meat substitutes get a bad rep because they take practice to cook skillfully, but what delicious steak or salmon or turkey doesn't also take skill and practice? The most reliable places to try out perfectly prepared, amazing vegan mock meats are at designated vegan or vegetarian asian restaurants. A few examples in the Boston area are My Thai Vegan Cafe on Beacon St. or The Grasshopper Restaurant in Allston. Great vegan meat substitutes are everywhere, though. You'll be surprised what you find if you keep your eyes open. In addition to various products available at grocery stores, you can try out tempting products like Hungry Planet!

Vegan Lasagne, best if made with veggie protein (fake ground beef) and Tofutti vegan ricotta cheese

Soy cheeze pizza, no cheeze pizza, no cheese veggie lovers' pizza from your local pizza establishment, or very awesome fully blown vegan cheeze and veggie pizza from somewhat rare places like this.

Ramen noodles
Noodle bowls such as these from Thai Kitchen, or those from McDougall's. Once on a plane ride where they had no vegan food I was handed a cup of these noodles from Nongshim, I loved them!
In recent years I have switched my noodle game to Crystal Noodles or Miracle Noodles.

White/brown sugar
My understanding is that traditionally produced white sugars are made white by adding a bone char, and that brown sugar = white sugar + molasses. This may not be the case for all white and brown sugars, but really being sure about the details takes research. For sure, cane sugar and raw sugar are vegan. I do very much like my coffee regularly so; if raw or cane sugar is not available and I am feeling like unsweetened coffee will make me feel a little grumpy; I do often conceed and have a little sugar. We all have our vices! :) More recently I have switched to coconut sugar or monk fruit sugar!

Since honey is a bee byproduct it is not vegan. Another argument that vegans make is that the traditional practice of clipping the queen's wings to prevent the bees from swarming (i.e. flying away) does not constitute ethical treatment of bees. Some beekeepers do not clip wings, and hence let the bees fly away as they please. I think that in this latter case the beekeeper must purchase a queen after the bees depart of their own free will. This seems equally problematic in terms of a coherent scheme for vegan morality since my understanding is that the queen is purchased and comes in the mail in a box! The reality is that each vegan makes their own personal choice regarding whether or not to eat honey from the latter, arguably more ethical, beekeeper. Honey is not so important to me, so my personal choice is to just omit it by default. One can easily find vegan substitutes for baking or for adding sweetness to your tea. Some examples of vegan sweeteners include maple syrup, agave, or brown rice syrup.

Milk or White Chocolate
Dark chocolate or other dairy free chocolate. It doesn't have to be (and often isn't) labeled as specifically vegan. Just read the ingredients! I am tempted to google "vegan chocolate" to aggregate some links, but if you like chocolate you're probably excited enough about chocolate to do that yourself. Another snacking alternative is carob coated rice cakes: they are pretty intriguing and delicious. I found them at my local health food store.

The most popular and easy to find vegan cookies are made by Boston Cookies and the Alternative Baking Company -- both have a wide array of vegan cookies that will amaze you. Newman Organics is not a strictly vegan company but they make vegan analogues to popular cookies like oreos and fig newtons, and I am keen on their ginger cookies. Recently I discovered quinoa cookies made by Andean Dream. Vegan baked goods are one of the most popular niche foods, so make sure to check around your local area! I'm sure you will find something!

Vegan cupcakes. Seriously, google it, make it, or find it at your local bakery. Everyone loves vegan cupcakes.

Banana cream pie
Vegan banana cream pie

Most people agree that the most nutritious and tasty foods are whole and unprocessed foods.
For example, a handcrafted nut or lentil burger beats a frozen Boca burger any day!
Also, I have read many warnings about consuming an excess of soy products so
I try to save tofu, soy milk, Tofutti ice cream or vegan hot dogs as a treat for special occasions.

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