If you scroll down this page, in the right sidebar you’ll see the heading “Top 10 posts.” The rankings are based on the total number of page views since I launched Peculiar Girl in 2010. Ten favorite vegan staple foods has held the No. 1 spot for as long as I’ve been tracking that statistic.
Vegan diets are rising in popularity, thanks in part to famous vegans like Alicia Silverstone, Ellen Degeneres, and Emily Deschanel. More people want to know what being vegan is all about, and they are searching the “Interwebs” for information. Through the magic of Google, some of those people land on my humble blog.
In that post about my favorite vegan staple foods, I promised a list of vegan convenience foods, something I just realized after re-reading the post. Oops! So, for those vegan-curious folks searching for ideas on what to eat, and for vegans who don’t like to cook or don’t always have time to cook, here is a list of my favorite vegan convenience foods. (These opinions are strictly my own. I did not receive payment, free samples, or any other form of compensation for writing this list.)
Trader Joe’s soy chorizo
I am in love with this product. At $1.99 it’s a great value, since I can easily get two meals out of one package of chorizo. I use it to make chili, pasta dishes, and even breakfast hash with potatoes, onions, and peppers. If I’m really feeling lazy, I just throw some chorizo in a pan with a can of beans, heat it through, and eat it with a little hot sauce on top.
Tofurky Italian sausage
I discovered Tofurky Italian sausage recently at a friend’s housewarming party. She cooked them on the grill and served them on hot dog buns with all the fixins. Delicious! They come four links to a package. This week I used two links to make vegan jambalaya, and the next day used the rest in a pasta dish with red sauce, peppers, and onions.
Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs
I buy these occasionally to make spaghetti and “meatballs” or for party hors d’oeuvres. You can also use them to make a tasty vegan version of a meatball sub. You find them in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. They are best heated in the oven, otherwise they can get mushy.
Tofurky Italian sausage and fire-roasted veggie pizza
Few things are as convenient as frozen pizza, and vegans finally have more options. I’ve never been a fan of Amy’s cheeseless pizza, which used to be the only choice for vegans. Tofurky makes three versions, but I find the vegan cheese version too plain, and the sausage-only version too salty. These pizzas are small, and in Madison cost $7.99 each at the store, so we don’t buy them often. Plus, they aren’t exactly healthy. The box says 3 servings per package, which is a total joke.
Silk Live! soy yogurt
Soy yogurt can be hit or miss. I’ve tried some that is nasty, and some that is so close to the “real” stuff I have to double-check the label. Silk Live! is my favorite so far. We buy the vanilla flavor in big tubs. It’s good topped with fruit and nuts for breakfast, or mixed into smoothies. Just the other day, a friend told me So Delicious now makes a delicious vegan Greek yogurt, but I haven’t seen it in Madison stores yet. I may have to update this list after I try it.
365 Everyday Value frozen entrees
365 Everyday Value is one of the Whole Foods house brands. The tofu ravioli and the vegan macaroni and cheese are both pretty tasty. As with most frozen entrees, however, the portion sizes are small compared to the price.
Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
These are a little pricey, so I only buy them if we have a coupon or if they are on sale. It’s been a loooong time (21 years) since I had chicken, but I think even meat eaters would enjoy the Gardein crispy tenders, especially kids. I like to serve the crispy tenders with a dipping sauce made of Vegenaise and spicy mustard. (Trader Joe’s chickenless tenders are also quite good.)
Alexia spicy sweet potato julienne fries with chipotle seasoning
Sweet potato fries are the bomb. I like the plain ones, too, but the spicy ones from Alexia are my favorite. They are available at most grocery stores in Madison (Copps, Hy-Vee, Whole Foods, Willy St. Co-op) as well as Target and Wal-Mart.
Westpac vegetable stir fry
I always have several bags of these frozen stir-fry veggies in my freezer. I don’t even bother to stir-fry them. I just heat the veggies in the microwave and serve them with leftover rice or even plain, topped with a little stir-fry sauce.
Nature Valley peanut butter granola bars
These are like crack to me, so I try not to keep them in the house or I’ll eat them all in one sitting. They are sweet and crunchy with a layer of peanut-buttery goodness on top. I always bring a few along when we travel, since vegan food isn’t always easy to find on the road.
NOTE: I usually have cooked rice on hand. I make a large batch on the weekend in a rice cooker, and use it throughout the week. The vegan jambalaya, for example, took very little time because I already had several cups of cooked rice in the fridge. If you want even more convenience, most grocers carry cooked white and brown rice in the freezer section.
Do you have a favorite vegan convenience food? Tell us about it in the comments.