Foods You Didn't Know Were Vegan

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Written By: Suzanne Kvilhaug

Is there anything more exciting to a vegan than when they find out something is vegan that they didn’t think was vegan? Yeah, that’s a trick question...cue the party horns. All vegans know that even though options aren’t limited by any means, there is definitely less to choose from in the grand scheme of things. So anything that’s vegan (especially when it’s unexpected) can make a vegan feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

If you aren’t vegan but you are thinking about going vegan or just desiring more foods that are vegan, know there is much much more available then salads, green juice, tofu, and bananas.


Dark Chocolate

Before chocolate became highly processed and made with a million different unhealthy ingredients, it was made with real cacao. Now cacao is becoming more mainstream and there is bound to be one dark chocolate bar that’s vegan in almost every grocery store.

All brands are different, so read the label carefully, and if cacao is an ingredient and milk isn’t, it’s probably vegan. Dark chocolate made with real cacao is one of the healthiest ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. And ladies, it’s also considered a beauty food because it contains flavonoids which help to create better skin hydration and skin texture.


Soba Noodles

Anyone looking for vegan pasta knows you are headed into tricky territory. Not all pasta is vegan, and that makes you question everything even resembling pasta. One great vegan option that’s often overlooked is soba noodles. Soba noodles are made with buckwheat which is an ancient grain that’s really healthy. Buckwheat contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Oh and, buckwheat is NOT wheat (say what!) so that means it’s also gluten-free. Vegan, gluten-free and healthy, soba noodles on next week’s grocery list...check.


Hummus

I’ve been vegan for 8 years and I still check the label every time I buy hummus to make sure it’s vegan, so I’m thinking I can’t be the only one (or am I?!). After reading countless hummus labels, all have passed the vegan test so yes, hummus is vegan. Hummus that you find in the store will have the same base of chickpeas, olive oil and tahini with added flavors. If you’re looking for more of a clean hummus, consider whipping up some vegan hummus.


Stuffed Grape Leaves

Recently I was out to eat and came across stuffed grape leaves on the menu which led me to the usual vegan out to eat skit. Politely ask the server to question the chef about the dish from top to bottom to see if it’s really vegan. And hope you get an understanding server and an honest chef. Yes, the stuffed grape leaves were vegan but when I read more about them, they aren’t always vegan. A couple of recipes had meat in them so make sure to read labels or ask the server. If you’re looking for something unique and easy to make, try making vegan stuffed grape leaves at home.


Ice Cream

Gone are the days when someone goes vegan and has to go through the torture of nixing ice cream. Not only are there many vegan ice cream choices out there, they taste just as good as traditional ice cream. Vegan ice cream definitely falls under the category of “don’t knock it till you try it”. Made with soy or coconut milk, even popular brands like Ben and Jerry’s embrace vegan ice cream and have vegan options. Check out this a list to find brands and vegan ice cream flavors they offer. And on that note, since sorbet, is sort of like ice cream, it’s generally made with sugar, fruit, and water, so it’s also a vegan option!


Sushi

You hear sushi and you automatically think fish which means no, not vegan. It’s easy to forget that sushi offers vegan options like avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, and sweet potato rolls. Or you can get creative and make your own vegan sushi with mock meat. If you love the idea of vegan sushi, check out these restaurants that offer it.


Tempeh

So you’re over tofu or you don’t like tofu, but you want something with a lot of protein that’s filling. Tempeh is like a distant cousin to tofu and is always vegan. Tempeh is high in protein and made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans. The main difference from tofu is that the beans are kept whole and pressed together, rather than being ground up. Tempeh has a nutty flavor and easily soaks up sauces and marinades. You can buy it at almost every grocery store now in the refrigerated section and it can be used in a variety of recipes.


Chana Masala

Maybe chana masala is already on your radar for a vegan option but if it’s not, put it on there! Chana masala is an Indian dish that is traditionally based with chickpeas, onion, garlic, green chilies, cilantro, a blend of spices, and tomatoes. It can be prepared a number of different ways, and sometimes it’s made with paneer, which is a type of cheese common in India, so be mindful of that. Chana masala is packed with protein, full of flavor and pretty easy to make. A win for the vegans!