Updated: May 22
Vegan food products have come a long way since they first started appearing on the market. I sometimes encounter people who have tried a crappy dairy-free product once and stuck with the belief that all dairy substitutes suck. But that is definitely no longer true.
Although, I can relate to what these people are saying. When I decided to go dairy-free a few years back, the only vegan cream cheese in the store resembled snot and tasted, I presume, no better. So I thought that rather than trying to replace dairy, it is better to just forget about it (this short post explains why).
Luckily, my fondness for trying new things moved me to give new dairy-free products a chance and I am very glad that I did. These plant-based products not only have the consistency and taste of regular dairy products, they are actually absolutely delicious and are now regulars in my fridge.
1. Vegenaise - Better Than Mayo Egg-Free Spread
Vegenaise (you'll get used to the name eventually) was the first dairy substitute I fell in love with. I also got a few of my friends hooked on it, by ignoring their comment about how much they hate mayonnaise and making them my favorite sandwich with this spread.
I strongly recommend trying it on a toasted rye pumpernickel bread with avocado, tomato, salt & pepper (other options: Sriracha or Everything But The Bagel seasoning). Also, try making vegan mashed potatoes with it. I can personally guarantee that you will love it.
Flavors: Original, Chipotle, Pesto, Roasted Garlic, Barbecue, Sriracha, Garlic Aioli.
Types: Original, Grapeseed Oil, Organic, Soy Free, Reduced Fat.
2. Kite Hill Cream Cheese Style Spread
This spread looks and tastes just like regular cream cheese. When I first tried it, I took a second glance at the label to make sure I did not buy dairy cream cheese. It was so good, I ate a half of it with crackers on the first night. It is soy free, gluten free, vegan and kosher.
Smear it on a bagel, or make a breakfast sandwich with your favorite, lightly toasted bread, sliced cucumber and tomato, or any other veggie and you like, add spices or herbs. Turn it into a dip by mixing it with your favorite spicy sauce, or make a cheesecake.
Flavors: Plain (personal favorite), Chive, Jalapeno, Ricotta.
Where to find: It is available at Whole Foods, Target and many retailers across the country. Use their store finder , order from Amazon and other on-line marketplaces.
3. Nadamoo "Gotta Do Chocolate" Dairy-Free Ice Cream
If you thought going vegan means eating weird tasting ice cream for the rest of your life, you need not worry. This creamy and delicious, dairy-free desert, made with organic coconut milk and sweet, creamy chocolate from rich organic cocoa, tastes as good as it sounds, if not better. I am just saying, if you are on a special diet and want to have only one or two bites of this goodness just to try it, someone will need to pull you away by the ears. Although, on average this ice cream contains only 10g of sugar per serving.
Flavors: It comes in 15 alluring flavors, such as Birthday Cake Cookie Dough, Cookies & Creme, Chocolate Cherry Fudge Brownie and many more.
Where to find: Nada Moo is available in many stores nationwide. Check this map to see if there is one in your state. I discovered it at Wholefoods in NYC, which is not on this map.
4. So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
This creamer tastes better than average plant milk and makes many delicious vegan food creations possible. I love it in coffee, oat meal, cereal and for making this killer chia seed pudding for breakfast or desert.
Flavors: Original, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Barista Style Original, Barista Style Vanilla.
Where to find: Due to its popularity, it is available in many stores around the country. Enter your zip into their store locator to find the closest store near you, or order on-line.
5. Califia Probiotic Dairy Free Yogurt
Califia promises "10 billion live, active probiotic CFUs powered by BB-12™, the most documented bifidobacteria in the world, well known for its efficacy in digestive and immune health." This dairy-free, fermented beverage is high in fiber, lower in sugar and is non-GMO, gluten-free and kosher.
I can live without drinkable yogurt just fine. But it is good to have on the nights when it is too late to eat a meal, you don't want to go to bed starving and want something that will not take hours to digest, but will make your tummy feel good instead. I found a cup or two of this beverage to be surprisingly filling and satisfying under such circumstances.
Flavors: Unsweetened Plain, Mango, Super Berry, Strawberry.
If you enjoyed this post and would like more vegan food product recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.
Bon appétit !