Mar 4 2011

Top Ten Meat and Dairy Replacements

Many people think that being vegan means eating a lot of bad faux meat, and I am often asked what the best meat and cheese replacements are.

When I first starting “flirting” with being vegan, I tried it all and was horrified. I  thought there was no way I could be vegan with the terrible alternatives on the market.

Then, I realized I didn’t need them all that much, and for when I did, I found a few great staples!

Cheese – My favorite is Galaxy Nutrition’s Cheddar and Mozzarella “Cheeses”. I use the mozzarella for pizzas only. I do not eat it plain. It melts and tastes great! They are derived from rice, not soy, which is key for me.

I use the cheddar cheese to mix with whole grain noodles for the kids, I put it in quesadillas and tacos, everything you would use cheddar cheese for. But again, I don’t eat it plain. I’m sorry to say that the days of snacking on pieces of cheese are over. The good news is that your risk of various cancers and heart disease just went down significantly!


Yogurt – I love So Delicious Coconut Yogurt. If you don’t care for the taste coconut, fear not, they are flavored.  I use strawberry banana, or mango for smoothies. It’s great to eat plain, or add Kashi’s Nuggets cereal to it for some crunch, fiber and protein – one of Henry’s favorite snacks.


Milk – Milk is the easiest thing to replace in your diet. Although you really need to sample what kind works best for you on your own because there are so many great alternatives. I like unsweetened or original rice milk from Whole Foods. Lots of people like unsweetened almond milk because it has a thicker consistency, but even the unsweetened is a little too sweet for me. Soy milk is not an option for me because I limit my intake – see short blurb about soy at the end of this post.

Sour Cream – Tofutti makes a great “sour cream” that I use for quesadillas and tacos. (Soy based).


Cream Cheese – Again, I have to go with tofutti on this one too. (Soy based).

Butter – Earth Balance is definitely the best and every vegan I know uses it. It’s great plain on toast and you can use it when you cook.


Ice Cream – Lots of great alternatives here! If gluten is a concern, then you’ll love So Delicious Cookie Dough “ice cream”! I like Almond Dream Bites, and Almond Dream Ice Cream Sandwiches.


Sausage – I love the smoked apple sage “sausage” by Field Roast! It’s great for breakfast, lunch or a snack. It’s one of the few meat alternatives made without soy. It’s made from wheat, has 26 grams of protein per link and 10% of the daily recommended iron. I like it thinly sliced and slowly browned in a pan with a little oil. It also goes well in pasta.


Chicken Replacement– Gardein is definitely the best thing out there. Their “chicken” tenders taste just like chicken and their scallopini is great for cooking with! (Soy based).


Taco Meat – Yves Meatless Ground is perfect for tacos. DON’T eat it plain because it doesn’t taste good alone. Mix it with taco seasonings, rice cheddar cheese, and tofutti sour cream for meatless, dairy-free tacos! (This meal is a treat, and only made occasionally because it’s soy based).


Whipped Cream – So this is number 11 on my top ten, but I wanted to give a shout out to SoyaToo because they make a great whipped cream made from rice. We use it on waffles, pancakes and ice cream. They make a soy based one as well, but we use the rice.

I hope this list helps, but I have to say, I rarely use meat alternatives. You absolutely don’t need them to be vegan and most are made with soy which has been linked to cancer, and most is genetically modified.

I don’t get crazy about a little soy based sour cream or cream cheese, but I wouldn’t be giving my kids gardein nuggets every day either.

I limit a soy rich meal to no more than once a week, but probably less.

Eating processed foods is never a good idea, and one of the best things about being vegan is we are given an opportunity to eat a whole grain, plant based, natural diet, that will help us live long healthy lives.

Meat and dairy alternatives have their place, but moderation is key.