TOP 10 Favorite Vegan Foods (kitchen and pantry staples you can find at a grocery store—no particular order)

Little Miss Vegan Foodie over here has eaten, sampled, devoured, and tasted (but spit out right after) countless vegan food products, whether they are alternatives to animal products or standalone. Below are my top 10 must-haves in any food storage facility–no particular order, just whatever came to mind first. This plethora of items was inspired by Unnatural Vegan’s video “My Top 10 Vegan Foods” but specifies more in on fun items that would benefit any kitchen and pantry cupboard. My favorites change on a regular basis, thus it was incredibly challenging to select ten products that are enduring, multi-purpose, convenient, delicious, nutritious, or an amalgamation of more than one of these qualities. Thus far, these items are what I have been loving to borderline obsessed with.

1. Smart Sweets Berry Fish: if you haven’t snagged a packet of Smart Sweets candy, you live a mediocre life. In fact, your life is BELOW mediocre. Let me explain: Smart Sweets is a Canadian-based company that manufactures completely gluten free, low sugar, and high fiber candy products derived from natural ingredients while showcasing that taste does not have to be sacrificed in the process. I’ve even gotten my family hooked on the gummy bears. All their plant-based products snatch, but my personal favorite variety has to be their berry fish. It is insanely resemblant of a gummy fish—not quite as rubbery as Swedish fish—with a popping cherry flavor! Each bag is 80 calories, 28 grams of fiber, and only 3 grams of sugar. Not to sound insane, but I would tackle a group of bystanders to grab more of the vegan-friendly Smart Sweets candies to snack on (though they are useful as toppings for desserts such as ice cream sundaes). Try them at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Erewhon, Bristol Farms, Ralphs, Amazon, or their website.

2. Eat Nuttzo Power Fuel Paleo Nut Butter: I have tasted more nut and seed butters than the most selective bride tries on wedding dresses. Not that I am viciously particular about what I like, but I enjoy immersing myself in the art of perfecting a nut and seed-based spread, including some legumes like peanuts and soybeans. Truthfully, it seemed impossible to find a number one nut and/or seed spread, but here it is! I am OBSESSED with Eat Nuttzo’s Power Fuel Paleo nut butter. It is comprised of four of the most nutrient-dense tree nuts, three power-packed seeds, and a little Celtic sea salt. The flavor is just remarkably exquisite—nutty, salty, and savory with a sweet undertone from the cashews. You can enjoy it on toast, bagels, with fruit, celery sticks, chocolate, breakfast foods, with dessert, in a mean Paleo-friendly peanut sauce recipe, or, if you’re a self-professed crazy girl like me, straight out of the jar. PSA, PSA, PSA: get the crunchy spread! The quality of crunchy spreads are pivotal in comparison to a uniform consistency.

3. Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce: What if I told you that one ingredient could transform ALL your meals into glorious dishes that Chinese takeout could NEVER? Okay, the Chinese takeout is definitely an exaggeration as you can’t replicate every specific Chinese menu item with a single item, but you can most certainly whip up a killer stir-fry without ordering a takeaway dish. This stir-fry sauce doesn’t have that pungently off-putting aroma as oyster sauce, but still lends a lovely savory flavor and mouthfeel to anything you cook with. Toss it with sautéed onions and garlic with various vegetables and protein, serve alongside rice or noodles, and thank me later. For a lower sodium hack, mix one part of sauce with two parts vegetable broth before integrating into the rest of the ingredients.

4. Trader Joe’s Raw and Crunchy Unsalted Almond Butter: While I already mentioned a product that stands as, hands down, the holy grail of all nut and seed-based spreads, the raw and crunchy unsalted almond butter from Trader Joe’s is a massively close second. In fact, I consume this product more often than Eat Nuttzo’s Power Fuel Paleo crunchy nut butter! I treat the latter as more of a luxury since it’s very expensive, but this almond butter is SUCH a steal for so many reasons. It’s raw, only $5.99 a jar in stores—an unthinkable cost for almond butter, which is typically $11.99, or $7.99 on the low end—and it’s just made with almonds (though there is a salted variety)! Again, my recommendations of consumption include as an accompaniment with fruits, starchy vegetables, breakfast foods, desserts, grains and grain-based products, or just as a stand-alone enjoyment! NOTE: do not purchase online as it is much more expensive there.

5. Lakanto Pancake and Waffle Mix: Thanks to this masterpiece, I will embark on phases where I eat so many waffles and pancakes that it’s a bewilderment how I don’t turn into one or the other. Lakanto’s Pancake and Waffle Mix has the most magnificent nutritional profile, food composition, and culinary execution. It works with vegan egg replacers, egg whites, whole eggs, with oil, without oil, with oil substitutes, with extra sweetener, and sans any! This isn’t to say you should eat the dry mix straight up (in fact, DO NOT). It’s a multi-faceted gem that works as pancakes, waffles, mug cakes, cookies, donuts, and so much more. Enjoy with Lakanto’s monkfruit sweetened maple syrup, raspberries, Trader Joe’s almond butter or crunchy Power Fuel Nuttzo, and you’ll be insanely satisfied. Never miss a discount using my code “superfitbabe20” on your next purchase!

6. Good Karma Foods unsweetened flax milk: It is hard to detect a specific non-dairy milk substitute I dislike, but I have tasted a massive assortment of vegan milk alternatives: almond, oat, soy, hemp, flax, cashew, walnut, rice, pea, and the list goes on. Whenever I can find Good Karma Foods unsweetened flax milk at a good price, it always makes it in my collection of grocery purchases. I adore this flax milk because it has more than enough milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids in one cup, doesn’t taste too strongly like flax, is fortified, and has a lovely consistency. It’s fantastic on its own but I mostly love to whip this up in smoothies, protein shakes, cereal, or to dip vegan Christmas cookies in!

7. By Chloe Beet Ketchup: Since my senior project blueberry ketchup is not yet sold in retail locations, I might as well present the product in second place, which by the way, is still a damn awesome item! Of course, By Chloe’s Beet Ketchup—when I first visited By Chloe in Silver Lake, the first thing I did after my meal was take five hundred containers of beet ketchup to go. Okay, not five hundred, but enough to look like a borderline hoarder. I left with a bottle after the following visit. It is just phenomenally flavorful with a fabulous consistency that doesn’t separate its water and paste base in the bottle. This sauce is splendid with By Chloe’s roasted sweet potato fries, air-fried carrots, kabocha squash, anything you love with ketchup! When I visit next time, I definitely will purchase another bottle and accompany it with a bunless vegan burger!

8. Lesser Evil Himalayan Gold popcorn: In my late middle school and early high school days, I was the movie theater popcorn QUEEN. If there was a large tub of popcorn sitting anywhere in the theater, it probably belonged to me. Once I began eliminating dairy from my diet, I cut out the butter cold turkey and turned to lightly salted popcorn and kettle corn as options. At my last fancy health foods store trip (either Lassens or Erewhon), I swayed myself to give the Himalayan Gold popcorn a chance instead of my go-to Himalayan Sweetness or Avocado Licious. My only regret? Not trying this flavor sooner! Unexpectedly, it looks very pale in color, no heavily saturated sunny lemon yellow here! Despite this, the flavor punches you in the face with moderately salted butter in every crunchy kernel. It was super hard to not finish the bag in one night! Don’t share this with friends and family because they just might polish it off for you!

9. Nature’s Path Organics Kamut puffs: If you’re scratching your head thinking about why I’d include a product that is quite airy, bland, and visually sub-par, let me explain: these traits are exactly why this item belongs on this list. Want cinnamon-flavored cereal? Toss in a cup or two of these puffs and mix with cinnamon and Stevia or monkfruit. Chocolate cereal? Incorporate unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder. How about cereal that tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios? Take vegan honey and gently stir it into the puffs, then pour in dairy free milk to not eat a giant ball of sticky Kamut. Truth is, a lot of breakfast cereals have animal-based derivatives for their vitamins and minerals and contain a ridiculous amount of sugar. I love Kamut puffs because they only contain 50 calories a cup and adopt any flavor you want. Since they are not fortified, make sure you nourish accordingly via food or supplements.

10. Follow Your Heart vegan egg: Before you poke me with your spears and pitchforks in retaliation since this is technically not perceived as a healthy food, the Follow Your Heart vegan egg serves its purpose. Remember the Lakanto Pancake and Waffle mix I mentioned previously as well as the Lakanto Brownie Mix? If you love both, you NEED this vegan egg substitute. I’ve tried both mixes with flax and chia seeds–the pancake and waffle mix consistency and binding assembly is fine, whereas the brownie batch does not solidify with either of these binders. On the other hand, the Follow Your Heart vegan egg works like magic! You only need one to two tablespoons for a batch of pancakes and an entire bag of brownie mix, plus it’s not terrible in terms of its nutritional profile. To clarify, it may not be a nutritional powerhouse, but a moderate amount of this substitute goes a long way. However, it works very well if you use it as a base for a frittata, scramble, or an omelet!

You mayyyyy or may not see a second list in the future because I could elaborate ON and ON about a massive abundance of vegan products I enjoy! Thus far, these are the primary food favorites that come to mind. Let me know what your favorite food products are!

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