What Do Vegans Eat?
“When I first started looking into vegetarianism and then veganism, I chose to explore a new type of cooking or a new type of food every week: Indian one week, recipes for this strange grain called ‘quinoa’ the next… Thai, seitan, Middle Eastern, nutritional yeast. Soon, I had a menu that far far exceeded my previous, omnivorous diet, in both diversity and taste.”
Many people believe that eliminating all animal products will greatly narrow their menus. But according to most vegans, quite the opposite happens. Once you start frequenting your local health/natural food stores and co-ops, perusing a few vegan cookbooks, or just following some of the suggestions in this guide, you’ll soon become familiar with the wide variety of options that weren’t a part of your previous diet. Over time, you’ll also discover you can follow almost any recipe – old or new – by substituting ingredients.
For those who prefer not to cook, vegan meals are usually offered at Chinese,
and other ethnic restaurants, as well as at many chains, such as Taco Bell and Johnny Rockets. Plus, there are lots of cruelty-free convenience foods to choose from: frozen dinners; canned and dehydrated soups, stews, and chilies; items of all sorts for quick and easy sandwiches like vegan dogs and burgers, deli slices, bacons, sausages, untuna and unchicken salads, and soy and rice cheeses; and delicious desserts including soy yogurts and ice creams. You may even find that your local health food store has its own deli counter, stocked with prepared foods.
The variety of vegan products is growing each year; and supermarkets are carrying more and more products that used to be found only in specialty stores. If meat and dairy substitutes aren’t plentiful locally, you can also order them through online catalogs, such as Pangea or the Mail Order Catalog.
Here are just a few examples.
Oatmeal or cold cereal with fruit and nondairy milk
Toast, bagel, or English muffin with fruit spread and peanut butter or vegan cream cheese
Tofu scramble with hash browns and veggie sausage
Fruit smoothie made with nondairy milk or soy yogurt
Pancakes or waffles (many brands of prepared mixes and a variety of Van’s frozen waffles are vegan)
Fruit-filled toaster pastry
Faux lunchmeat sandwich with chips
Falafel pita sandwich with hummus
Peanut butter and jelly
Faux meat with gravy and mashed potatoes
Vegetable tofu lasagna (see tofu ricotta recipe)
Right: Pasta and tomato sauce topped with Tofurky Italian Sausage (photo courtesy of Turtle Island Foods).
Vegan cookies, pie, cake, or pudding (see recipes)
Fresh or dried fruit
Nuts or seeds
Pretzels or popcorn
Chips and salsa
Energy bar (vegan Clif Bar)
Right: An assortment of delicious dairy-free desserts (photo courtesy of PETA). Keep in mind, though, many popular snacks and other convenience foods are also vegan – see “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!”