A green smoothie for vegans and vegetarians

8 Surprising Vegetarian and Vegan Food Options

To the surprise of most omnivores (and some newbie herbivores), vegetarians and vegans can enjoy many more foods than just salad and quinoa. One of the benefits of a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet is that you can still eat almost all of your favorite foods with only a few painless substitutions. Not to mention, all of these comfort foods are guilt-free, so even if you're not vegetarian or vegan, you may want to check out these food options because they’re the best of both the nutritious and delicious worlds. 

  1. Cake
    Most traditional cakes are filled with milk, butter, and eggs, but switching to a vegan diet plan doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be able to enjoy this fluffy, sweet treat again. You don’t even need a special vegan cake recipe to enjoy a tasty chocolate, vanilla, or any other flavor cake. All you have to do is substitute a few ingredients: almond milk for milk, applesauce or mashed banana for eggs, soy butter for butter, and cocoa powder for chocolate.
  2. Pasta
    There's an abundance of vegetarian Italian recipes that you can indulge in, and even if a dish calls for chicken or fish, you can either eliminate those ingredients or substitute mushrooms, zucchini, or other veggies in their place. If you are eating vegan, you can enjoy all of the tomato-based pastas, and you can make delicious, dairy-free creamy pastas too. Simply use almond milk and a bit of soy butter or ground cashews in place of any cream and you probably won’t even notice a difference!
  3. Chocolate
    A lot of people think that chocolate is a huge no-no in veganism, but that’s actually not the case! Cocoa itself doesn’t contain any dairy, so you can find vegan-friendly chocolate that is made without milk. Or, you can make your own with cocoa, coconut oil, honey, and a bit of stevia. The best part is that without the calorie-laden milk, it’s really not unhealthy for you! Definitely a perk of becoming a vegan.
  4. Mac and Cheese
    Yes, we know mac and cheese is technically a pasta, but it’s so important that we felt it deserved its own category. This ultimate comfort food is laden with milk, butter, and various cheeses, but you can achieve that same flavor and texture the vegan way. Nutritional yeast is a popular cheese substitute because of it’s cheesy flavor and texture and mixed with some coconut milk and ground cashews, you can have this amazing dish back in your life again.
  5. Cookies
    Being a vegetarian or vegan means you have to constantly read ingredient labels at the grocery store, but we’ll save you the trouble this time and clue you in on a couple popular cookies that vegans and vegetarians can enjoy. Both Oreos and Nutter Butters are dairy and egg-free, so buy yourself a pack of each, dunk ‘em in a glass of almond milk and you’ve got the perfect Netflix binge-watching snack.
  6. Burgers
    One of the benefits of being a vegetarian or vegan is that it’s good for your health because you completely avoid some foods, like ground beef or bacon, that can increase your risk of developing cancer and other diseases. Burgers are traditionally made out of beef, but some of the most delicious burger recipes don’t have any meat at all! If you’re craving a burger, try out a portobello mushroom, black bean, or chickpea burger. We’ll bet that if you serve these delicious creations at a BBQ, not even your meat-eating friends would notice that they’re completely made of veggies.
  7. Quesadillas
    The name literally has the Spanish word for cheese in it, but why just stick to the basics when you can fill your quesadilla with other vegan and vegetarian-friendly ingredients? Skip the cheese and stuff some black beans, chipotle hummus, veggies, and guacamole in between two tortillas for a flavor explosion. If you still really want cheese on there, sprinkle on a bit of vegan cheese or nutritional yeast, which provides a surprisingly cheese-esque flavor. (These quesadillas are healthy, so feel free to eat them if you’re on a vegetarian diet to lose weight). 
  8. Pizza
    Ah, pizza. The favorite food of most Americans. It can still be your favorite food too, and one of the benefits of being a vegetarian or vegan is that you don’t even have to feel guilty about having an extra slice or two. Did you know that in Italy not all pizza has cheese on it? That’s right, even the creators of pizza don’t use cheese or meat on every pizza, so feel free to follow their lead. Slather some pizza sauce on a premade crust and top it with bell pepper slices, mushrooms, fresh basil, onion, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and even non-vegans will be begging you for the recipe. If you are vegetarian and still enjoy cheese on your pizza, skip the pepperoni and substitute any veggie your heart desires. (Some of my personal favorites are bell peppers, roasted garlic, and artichoke hearts). 
Last Updated: August 25, 2015