Day 25 -or- My Vegan Alternatives Top 10 (part 1)

I’ve decided to do a review of my top 10 favorite vegan alternative products.  I’ll do 5 today and another 5 tomorrow.  These will all be food-related.  I’d  like to do a vegan beauty product review later as well.  Keep in mind that there are a lot of vegan replacement products out there now and I haven’t tried them all.  Of the ones I have tried, these are the ones that work and taste best, in my opinion.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned any cheeses here.  That’s because I haven’t found a vegan cheese that I think is worthy of my top 10.  I’ve tried the Daiya brand, which is the best of the ones I have tried, but still nowhere near as good as dairy-based cheese.  I’ve also tried the Rice Vegan brand in both the block cheese and the shredded cheese (mozzarella and cheddar flavors) and both were just barely acceptable.  So anyway, no cheese products mentioned here.

Keep in mind that these are in no particular order.  I’m just listing them at random.

#1 Sweet and Sara Marshmallows
Now you might be asking yourself, why aren’t marshmallows vegan?  Well I wouldn’t even consider them vegetarian.  Marshmallows contain gelatin, which is made with animal bones, skin, connective tissue, and organs.  Definitely not veg!  Sweet and Sara marshmallows are fluffy, sweet, and delicious!  They’re much better than those jet-puffed kind you find at the grocery store.  They are slightly more dense, but will roast over a fire just like the marshmallows you grew up with as a child.  They were sensational melted over a sweet potato casserole I made last Thanksgiving.   You can use them in rice crispy treats as well, or in any way that you would normally use marshmallows.  Plus, they make peanut butter, strawberry, and toasted coconut ones!  In addition to the marshmallows, you can find s’mores and peanut butter s’mores at the website.  YUM!

#2 Earth Balance Margarine
Belive it or not, most margarine you find in the store  is not vegan!  Even though it is not dairy-based, it can contain animal ingredients like whey.  Plus, most margarine contains hydrogenated oils, which are horrible for you.  Earth Balance has a better flavor than any other margarine I’ve ever tried and is pretty darn close to the flavor of butter!  You can buy it in sticks or in a tub and either can be used in baking, frying, sauteing, or spreading.  Use it any way you would use butter!  There are several different choices such as original, whipped, and soy free.  It melts and spreads just like butter and is much better for you!

#3 Vegenaise
Vegenaise is a dairy-free, egg-free mayonnaise alternative made by a wonderful brand called Follow Your Heart.  Depending on what “flavor” you get, it comes pretty close to the real deal.  You can get original, soy free, organic, reduced fat, or grapeseed oil varieties.  I’ve used it on sandwiches/burgers and in potato salad and “chicken” salad, and never been disappointed.  I prefer the kind that has a green label/lid.  It tastes more like real mayo than the original and grapeseed varieties.

#4 Tofutti Sour Cream
No lactose, butter fat, or milk here, folks, but this has all the flavor of dairy-based sour cream (or at least close enough to make it to my top 10).  Tofutti is a great brand in general, and they also make good cream cheese and guacamole-flavored sour cream as well.)  Use their sour cream in stroganoff; on tacos, burritos, and nachos; or in pound cake — any way you would use regular sour cream.

#5 Almond Breeze Milk
If you’re looking for a milk alternative and you don’t like soy (it’s too thick for me, and I try to limit my sou intake) then I would highly recommend that you give almond milk a try.  Rice milk is good too, but doesn’t have many nutritional benefits.  Almond milk has fewer calories than dairy milk and is an  excellent source of calcium, vitamins D and E, and antioxidants.  Plus, the unsweetened kind is only 40 calories per cup and the original kind only has 60 calories per cup.  It also comes in vanilla and chocolate.  The chocolate is excellent, by the way!  I use the original on cereal or when I cook or bake. The chocolate is great in smoothies and heated up like  hot cocoa!  If you have a recipe that calls for butter milk, just add a tablespoon of vinegar (white or apple cider) to a cup of almond milk!


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