I tried all the vegan meat and dairy alternatives at the store so you wouldn’t have to, here they are! Rounded up by categories, if you care about some over others.
Best Vegan Meat Options
Okay I’ll be honest, most of the fake meat I’ve tried has been pretty good!
Beyond meat is great, and the first time I had their sausages I asked the waiter if they were really vegetarian (spoiler alert, they are)! Everything Gardein makes is amazing – like – truly amazing. If Gardein were a god, I wouldn’t be an atheist.
Trader Joe’s vegan meat subs are really great, and generally less expensive than their counterparts.
Other ones that I generally like what I’ve tried are Lightlife, Field Roast, and Sweet Earth. Light Life substitutes taste good, but if they’re on your plate you’re not being tricked that you’re eating real meat. It tastes like a substitute, but a great tasting one.
Last, but certainly not least, are Simple Truth (the Kroger/Pick N Save brand) meat alternatives. Lately they’ve been stepping up across the board with vegan alternative options! They taste great and have the texture of the real thing.
Best Vegan Cheese Alternatives
Violife, I love you. Violife is by far the best vegan cheese alternative. It tastes like real cheese, melts like real cheese, and has the texture of real cheese.
Daiya and Follow Your Heart taste like real cheese, but something about the texture of them as vegan cheese alternatives makes them a little sticky. If you get too much in your mouth, you’re like a dog with peanut butter trying to get it out.
Myokos vegan cheese swaps and Chao (made by Field Roast) vegan cheese are a little on the sweeter side, but their texture is great and both melt like real cheese in recipes.
Best Vegan Milk Alternatives
Basically, when it comes to choosing the best vegan milk, the difference is the water ratio. Almond Breeze and Trader Joe’s brand almond milk haven’t quite nailed it, and they’re a little too watery. Ripple brand milk alternatives are pea-based, and they taste like it. So, sorry to be a buzz kill, but it’s bad, and you shouldn’t drink it.
Oatly is the best vegan milk that I’ve found, they have great branding, different options, and oat milk generally has the lowest carbon footprint of milk alternatives.
Some of the other brands that have milk alternatives that I like are Silk, Califa Farms, Simple Truth, and Chobani! They’re all great, and froth well if you’re making lattes, or bake well if you’re using them for cooking.
Best Vegan Cream Cheese Alternatives
Okay so as far as vegan cream cheeses go, really only Kite Hill matters to be. But it’s EXPENSIVE. Simple Truth is the only alternative that I’ve found that tastes good and even slightly compares the wonderful world that is Kite Hill.
The other vegan cream cheese alternatives, like Myokos and Daiya, are, for lack of a better word, unpalatable. I optimistically spread some of that creamy Daiya vegan goodness on a bagel, took one bite, and gagged. PLEASE if you’re going to spend your money, heed my warnings.
Best Vegan Yogurt Substitutes
Okay, I have strong feelings here. Buckle up. If you’re looking for a review of vegan yogurt options, or trying to find the best vegan yogurt brand, allow me to save you some time.
Silk (both their coconut and almond yogurt) and So Delicious are great at what they do. Trust the pros. In the words of one of my good friends, the coconut milk-based options are “nutritionally obsolete” but they’re phenomenal.
Both Chobani and Yoplait have made vegan options that are great, but they’re already the yogurt pros, so what can you expect?!
Here’s where you can save your money, and avoid eating vegan yogurt that tastes like wallpaper paste. While their cream cheese is the dream, stay clear of Kite Hill yogurt at all costs. I’m serious. Do not pass go. Leave it on the shelf, it is bad. I request that you treat Ripple brand vegan yogurt with the same disrespect. It’s also bad, like really bad.
Best Vegan Ice Creams
Ben and Jerry’s almond butter based ice cream was my favorite thing on this planet. Then, they one-upped themselves and released sunflower based. It’s incredible. It’s soft, it’s dairy free, it’s nut free (sunflowers use fewer resources), it’s delicious. Ben and Jerry’s is the only nondairy ice cream I’ve found that doesn’t feel like a compromise for the real thing.
Others that I like though are the So Delicious oat milk based ice creams, or their hit or miss coconut based ice creams. The mint chip one is beautiful! The chocolate chip cookie dough one tastes like chalk. You win most, you lose some, So Delicious dairy free ice cream.
Archer Farms and Oatly’s flavors that I’ve tried are also good! I haven’t tried them all, but I imagine if Oatly branched out they’d make something wonderful.
As for the other no-nos. Nada Moo is fine, but it truly tastes like Nada milk-substitute too, since it is mostly ice. I won’t go into great depths with the Halo Top vegan ice cream, other than to say the minute the spoon hit my tongue I knew it was the worst money I’d spent on food.
Best Vegan Pizzas
As far as pizza goes, Sweet Earth vegan frozen pizza is the best option! No sticky roof-of-mouth cheese to be found.
If you want to get pizza to-go, Mellow Mushroom and Mod Pizza are both chain restaurants with great tasting vegan options! Many of my local options have great options, too – but that’s not very bloggable.
Another pizza-to-go option that doesn’t quite hit the mark is Blaze Pizza. They have fewer vegan choices, and their pizzas are generally stick-ier.
Two other worse vegan pizza options from the frozen aisle are Daiya and Amy’s. They’re not bad, don’t get me wrong, but Daiya’s vegan frozen pizza is everything free, and it tastes like it. It’s a good option in place of actual cheese, but neither of them are top tier.
Best Vegan Snack and Junk Food Swaps
A surprising number of normal snack food options are vegan, even if it’s by mistake! Some of the best alternatives to snack food that would usually have meat, gelatin, egg, or dairy, are extremely well-done.
In the Mac n cheese world, I love Daiya, Annie’s, and chai boxed Mac and cheese.
For meat snacks, I love Field Roast mini corn dogs (and their other snacks) and Wholly Veggie cauliflower bites, in all the flavors! There are more out there, but those two brands are my absolute favorites.
There are tons of vegetarian candy, too! Keep an eye out for a vegan or vegetarian logo on candy, it will usually mean that they’re gelatin and dairy-free. Smart Sweets is one of my favorite brands.