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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.”

Erik Marcus, author of Meat Market and
Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating

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, Indian, Italian, Thai, and other ethnic restaurants, as well as at several nationwide chains, such as Denny’s, Subway, Johnny Rockets, Little Caesars, Papa John’s, Chevys, Taco Bell, Chipotle and many other southwest grills and taquerias. 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. To check out the vegan options in your area, please see VegGuide.org. Meat and dairy substitutes can also be ordered through online catalogs, such as Pangea or the Mail Order Catalog.

 

Simple Meal Ideas

Here are just a few examples.

Breakfast

Vegan breakfast foods

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 (such as Amy’s toaster pops)

 

Lunch

Veggie burgerVeggie burger or dog with fries

Faux lunchmeat sandwich with chips

Veggie pizza

Bean burrito

Falafel pita sandwich with hummus

Peanut butter and jelly

 

Dinner

Tofurky Italian sausage

Pasta with faux meat sauce, faux meatballs, or faux sausage

Veggie chili

Faux meat tacos, burritos, or enchiladas (click here for cooking tips on vegan tacos and chili)

Stir-fry with tofu, tempeh, or faux meat (see tips)

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).

 

Snacks or Dessert

Vegan desserts

Nondairy ice cream or frozen soy yogurt

Vegan cookies, pie, cake, or pudding (see recipes)

Fresh or dried fruit

Nuts or seeds

Trail mix

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!”

 

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