One of the questions I get asked most often as a vegan is: what do you eat? I think for most people when they hear vegetarian they are like okay, they eat fruits and vegetables. It’s easy to discern from the name (even though it leaves out a lot of food groups that vegetarians can eat) but when they hear vegan their mind stirs for a bit and says, “What?” Well here is a list of foods that are commonly eaten and are V-E-G-A-N.
1. Chips and Salsa
Corn tortilla chips and salsa are completely vegan. No milk, butter or eggs here.
2. Bread and peanut butter or jam
You’ll be surprised by how many breads at the store are actually vegan. Since most breads are made of a few essential ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt. It’s pretty simple for bread to be vegan. In fact you have to purposely go out of your way to make it non-vegan. Nearly every loaf I picked up at the bakery section at Jewel was vegan. All you have to do is look at the label and if it does not contain animal butter (which there’s no reason it should), milk (no lactose, casein) or eggs you are in good shape. Usually at the end it will say allergy warning: milk, eggs, etc.
I recently purchased a fresh-baked Rosemary and Olive Oil bread from the jewel bakery section. So freaking good.
Peanut butter: peanuts, salt. VEGAN
Jam: Usually the ingredients follow something similar to this: Fruit, fruit juice, pectin (found naturally in fruits), and something to preserve it with: lemon juice is best, citric acid or calcium chloride are possible as well. VEGAN
3. Pasta and marinara sauce
Whenever I go over to someone’s house that doesn’t know what to cook for a vegan I always offer this choice. It’s the easiest.
Pasta is flour and water.
Marinara sauce. Usually something like: tomatoes, olive oil, tomato sauce, basil, salt, sugar, and then preservatives.
4. Vegetable fried rice (without eggs) from your favorite Chinese Restaurant
Most Chinese restaurants will tell you if they use vegetable oils to make their food or not. I’ve found that in Chicago, they print it on the menu on the front with pride. Since every Chinese restaurant I’ve ever been to uses vegetable oils to make their food, I’m going to assume it’s the norm.
So as long as you order the vegetable fried rice without eggs, it’s actually completely vegan and oh so delicious.
5. Veggie tacos from your favorite Mexican restaurant (without cheese and sour cream)
Okay, so you have to do a little leg work here and ask for no cheese or sour cream, but your body is going to thank you for it anyways.
6. Most movie theater popcorn with butter
It seems weird right. Now, I’m not going to say that movie theater popcorn or their butter is healthy in anyway. It’s incredibly unlikely your movie theater is popping non-GMO corn, but this is one of those instances where I care very little as well. It’s a once a month sort of treat. (Well …. maybe more …. we all have our faults. )
But most movie theaters are using a blend of canola oil and artificial flavored butter. Apparently they add beta-carotene to it to make it appear yellow and buttery. Not sure how to feel about this one, but at least it won’t make my stomach upset.
Of course you can always ask to see labels at your local theater to double check.
7. SO many candies:
Charms Blow Pops
Cracker Jack Popcorn
Now and Laters
Sour Patch Kids
To name a few.
As far as I am concerned smashing chickpeas is the best thing that ever happened to this world. Luckily hummus is completely vegan and completely addicting.
9. Soft pretzels
The ones you find at the movie theater, or carnival or fair grounds. Totally vegan. Some homemade pretzels may be coated in egg so if you’re getting a soft pretzel at a cafe or restaurant ask them if they do.
10. Most dark chocolate
As long as there is no whey, casein, or milk listed on the ingredients it is vegan. Almost all of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate products are vegan.
Whole Foods Brand Chocolate Chips (not even dark chocolate) are vegan. I had to read the ingredients label five times to make sure. (The cookie in the picture is vegan and made with coconut oil. Best cookies ever!)
Also, this winter I was happy to find out that Ghiradelli Hot Chocolate is V-E-G-A-N. Yes!