• Becky Berberich

Top Taste Tested Replacements for Animal Foods

Everyone has something they think will be impossible to find when going vegan, and usually they're wrong. While there might be some fake foods out there that are terrible tasting, I luckily have many many years of taste testing, throwing out, and re-buying to help you with your quest. I give you the top replacements for things you're worried you might miss.

1) Chao cheese by Field Roast

I dare say this is MUCH better than traditional processed cheese slices. If you like grilled cheese, or cheese in your wraps or salads, these bitches get it done. Classic original is like a mild American cheese; super versatile and good with many flavor combinations. The tomato cayenne slices have a little kick and elevate your grill cheese and soup, melt onto your nachos, or pep up some mac and cheese. The coconut and herb are delicious on their own, and blend nicely into sandwiches.

2) Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages by Field Roast

The taste of these is out of this world. They are so solid in texture and flavor. I also love sausage and syrup so the maple flavor these have I quite enjoy. They work well in tofu scrambles, breakfast wraps or straight out of the package... as I usually end up eating them. My friend's very rugged Canadian husband had these one day because it was all that was in the house and even he remarked that they were spot on in texture and damn tasty.

**Thought! These, with chao cheese, in crescent roll pig in a blanket style dipped in syrup would be AMAZING; not exactly healthy, but amazing**

**follow up thought, I made this for brunch today and they were eaten in 0.5 seconds. I made a dipping sauce that was equal parts spicy mustard and maple syrup and I'm still dreaming about it

3) VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart

There are tons of great egg replacers I use on the regular in baking. If I'm doing something like cookies or pancakes I often go for smashed bananas or soaked chia seeds (depending on if I want that delicious subtle banana flavor) but neither of those would bet me scrambled eggs or an omelette worth anything. In fact a banana omelette makes me want to kinda puke. This powdered egg substitute can be thrown in the blender with some ice cold water and blended to eggy perfection. In fact it smells so close to egg it can kind of be off putting when you first open the blender lid. But it works so well for omelettes, quiches, and any egg bakes you might want to try.

4) Gardein meatless meatballs

I'm gonna be honest, I don't even really care about meatballs. They never cross my mind to make or buy or eat. So it was not by my own volition that I tried these again back in December at camp New Years (I think I had bought about a year and a half a go and let it get freezer burned). "Here's the vegan option," I was told with a small wave of the hand to a tray of brown balls. I tried one because why not. And I was legit worried I had mistaken his subtle gesture and eaten real meatballs. They taste like meat. Really. As my friend Lauren would say, "they have the technology"

They make great meatball subs, appetizer, or just snacks when you're hungry. I highly recommend them.

5) Cream Cheese by Kite Hill (especially chive)

Admittedly I use avocado on my bagels and toast 95% of the time, but the 5% that I want cream cheese I ONLY want kite hill. I've tried Daiya (too sweet), Trader Joes (to oily/thick), and Tofutii (not terrible but over processed feeling) and Kite Hill is by far the winner. It's more on the whipped cream cheese feel but it has a much better flavor and it's ingredients are basically almonds, enzymes and natural thickeners. I'm really into the chive flavor. The jalapeño and plain are good too, I'm just into the chive.

6) Soft Cheese by Treeline

This has a stronger flavor than the Kite Hill cream cheese and to me, this makes a great spread for bread or, better yet, a fabulous substitute for goat cheese because it gets the same crumbly texture and has a similar acidic bite that is a good contrast to sweet notes like chutneys or dried fruit.

*Runner up is their hard cheese which is good but like a lot of things on this list will cost you quite a few bucks and I never feel like its worth buying for how many calories it is. But if you're dying for some cheese on your crackers I imagine this will help you fight through the tears.

7) Smoked Apple Sage Sausage by Field Roast

Maybe I'm learning about myself that I like sweet meats. Because while I love all of Field Roasts sausages this one is my favorite. It goes so well in salads and pasta dishes and casseroles and anything you'd want it for. It's flavor is subtle and it's texture isn't dry. At 220 calories a sausage it doesn't kill a calorie budget and it really enhances a dish

Looking at this dish I now feel like some sausage and rice is in my future. So much good food to make!

One glaring omission I know is not on this list is a plant based milk. I honestly don't use soy/almond/hemp/whatever milk often. So when I need it I just make as much as I need in my vitamix. If you have one you'd love to share I'd very much enjoy hearing about it in the comments section below.

Happy plant eating!

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