Recently I have spoken to several people about vegan products and the vegan choices that I make. It made me remember the two posts I wrote about vegan products I use and love. So, I thought it would be a good time to revisit those posts, to see if those products I touted more than two years ago were still on the list of products I love and use.

As with past posts I revisit, purple text indicates updated or new information. Here we go…

Becoming a food vegan has been mostly easy for me once I got used to the idea. However, it was a transition that took time. I transitioned slowly, first becoming vegetarian by giving up all meat and then giving up all animal products. I am now nearly all the way to my goal.

And, I say “food vegan” because I haven’t yet begun looking at non-food products that I purchase that might use animal products. Perhaps that is something I will move toward in the future. It’s all a process and I’m okay if it is a slow one because I’m in this for the long haul.

The Cheese Clause

I say I am “nearly” a food vegan because I still occasionally crave pizza. And give into that craving. Cheese remains the hardest to give up completely. I try to limit it to once a month but I admit there are times were it is once a week. By no stretch of the imagination am I a perfect vegan. You might remember I wrote a post about the first year (2018) trying to go vegan.

Idea for the Post

During the 2020 COVID stay-in-place period, I met a woman who was also staying-in-place at Lake Guntersville State Park in Alabama. Turns out we have so much in common. Solo female RVers. Same age. Adore state parks. Dog lovers. Enjoy hiking. And, we are both vegan.

Each time she took her dog for a walk, she’d pass my trailer and we’d talk. One topic was being vegan. We shared our experiences with many vegan products. Then one day, it occurred to me that all this talk might make a fun blog post. For this post, I chose items that I think anyone would like. You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate these tasty items. Vegan products are one big reason why my transition was mostly easy.

In the end, I had so much I wanted to share that I broke these vegan yummies into two posts. Today will focus on vegan products that substitute for animal-based products. Then next week will be the hodgepodge of everything else including snacks, vegan foods that might surprise you, foods that aren’t vegan you might have thought are and bonus non-food vegan products.

One note about the links in this post. Most are to the company’s websites. Most of these items need refrigerated and are only available on Amazon in bulk so not really a good option for a person wanting to trying something for the first time. You should have no trouble finding these at your local grocery.

Awesome Substitutes for Animal-Based Products

The following items served an important role as I got used to a diet free of animal products. They are, basically, vegan substitutes for the animal products I was accustomed to eating before switching to no animal products. Many vegans transition this same way, easing into the lifestyle by making favorite recipes but with vegan products.

These days, I try to stick closer to a whole-food plant-based diet because the products below are highly processed. The meat substitutes in the beginning were nearly a daily food for me. Now they are more of an occasional fast easy meal.


A wonderful substitute for mayonnaise is Follow Your Heart Vegenaise. I must say, however, that particular brand is the only one I’ve tried so the others out there might be just as good. In pre-vegan life, I didn’t use mayo much so this is an item hard for me to justify keeping on hand since it takes up room in my small RV refrigerator. I have to be picky about the items I allow to take up space. They must be things I use regularly. But if you like mayo for sandwiches, salads and in recipes, this is a great product to try.

It comes in a variety of flavors including Pesto, Sriracha, Chipotle, Roasted Garlic as well as Tarter Sauce and Horseradish Sauce. I’ve only tried original.

Close up of a jar of vegan mayo. Brand is Follow Your Heart and it is called Vegenaise.
Even though there are a lot of varieties of Vegenaise, most grocery stores carry only the original. Maybe if you go to a specialty health store or a Whole Foods type store you might find the others offered.


For cooking and as a spread, I cannot tell the difference between real butter and Earth Balance Buttery Spread. However, I’m not a butter connoisseur and, even in pre-vegan life, forewent butter on rolls, corn on the cob, etc. It’s possible that if you love butter, you might be able to tell the difference. But it has the same color, consistency and it works the same way in terms of melting (unlike some vegan cheeses). I find it perfect for toast and recipes.

Close up of a grocery store shelf. Two tubs of vegan butter stack on each other. Label is yellow, white and brown with the words "earth balance."
This is the one I usually get but they have several versions to choose from.

Burger and Sausage

When I first heard that there was a vegan burger out there that looked like a real burger, I was skeptical. But a Beyond Meat Burger really does look like a beef burger. As I understand it, a little beet juice in the burger gives it the pink color and to make it “bleed” the way a meat burger would. You can purchase them as a pound of ground beef or in patties. I prefer the patties. Recently, I bought a 4-pack at Costco (first time I found it there) for $9.99. I was quite happy because a 2-pack in stores often costs between $5.99 and $7.99.

Then, a couple weeks ago, for the first time, I tried the Beyond Meat Sausages in a German cabbage and sausage dish I made. The sausage was as good as the burgers. Normally, I’m hesitant to recommend something after I’ve only tried it once. But if how consistently awesome the burgers are is any indication, I feel confident the same will hold true of the sausage.

Packaged vegan meat in a grocery store cold section. Three packages of Beyond Burgers and one package with 4 Beyond Sausage links.
Beyond Meat burger and sausage. You can also find the ground version in one pound packages.

There’s another company that makes vegan burgers. Impossible Burger. But I haven’t tried those yet. Actually, I haven’t seen them in stores yet. But I hear they are good too and that they taste more like beef. Both products use vegetable protein but they use different vegetables so they taste distinctly different.

Update: Since I first wrote about Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger, I have consumed both the burgers and the sausage of both brands. Beyond Meat uses pea protein while Impossible Burger uses soy protein. I can tell the difference and I prefer Beyond Meat. Do you have a preference?

If you like a little zip to your recipes, the spicy (hot) sausage is particularly good. The sausage is sold both in links (as the photo above indicates) as well as a tube. The tube sausage, I scramble and use it on pizza with mushrooms for a spicy sausage and mushroom pie. It is divine.

One word of caution about Beyond Meat. I also tried their frozen packaged scrambled meat for tacos and it was terrible. The flavor was fine but scrambles were hard pellets that never softened up. Now, it could be I just got a bad batch. Still, when it comes to scrambled meat, I’m sticking with Gardein brand (see below).

Another Sausage Option

In another recent recipe (a vegan version of Zuppa Soup, the famous very non-vegan soup by Olive Garden), I tried Field Roast Italian Sausage and it was super yummy. Field Roast is known primarily as a brand with a line of vegan sausage including several flavors of sausage as well as Bratwurst, breakfast sausages and hot dogs. Next time I make the soup, I want to use the Mexican Chipotle Sausage.

Still haven’t found the Mexica Chipotle Sausage at the store. I only see it on their website. So the search continues.

A grocery store deli case with a close up on packages of Field Roast vegan sausages and one package cheese slices tucked in.
I rearranged a few things at the supermarket to get this shot. But I returned everything where I found it. You can see the original and Italian sausage. And I stuck in a package of Chao cheese so you’d know what it looks like.

Field Roast also offers a few deli slices (turkey slices, etc.) as well as a few frozen food items. I’m guessing they will continue to expand their offerings as their popularity grows. But I can only speak to the sausage as it is the only Field Roast meat replacement product I’ve tried.

One side note. Field Roast also makes Chao cheese slices. I decided not to write about cheese and a couple other items (see below). However, since we are talking about the brand, I will say their cheese slices are the creamiest cheese substitutes I’ve ever tasted. They are made from coconut milk which you can taste a tad but I’m sure that’s what makes them so creamy.

Vegan Burger and Sausage Cooking Note

It can be easy to think that because the burgers and sausages don’t have animal products in them that makes them pre-cooked and, therefore, cooking isn’t nearly as important as it is when you cook raw animal meat. Not so. Treat vegan meat substitutes the same as you would their animal counterpart. The vegan products can contain salmonella and thorough cooking will kill that nasty bacteria.

Frozen Food

I will admit I haven’t tried every product in the frozen section by Gardein but I have loved everything I’ve tried. And I have tried a lot of them. So, I feel comfortable recommending anything frozen by Gardein brand (as seen in the feature image). Recently I saw they came out with a line of soups. I haven’t tried those and, in general, am not a fan of canned soups. However, I feel confident in their frozen selections. They are so good.

Update: Soups were okay but I wouldn’t purchase them again. Keep in mind, as I said, I love homemade soup and am not a fan at all of canned soups. My dislike is more about that than the produce itself. To give it a true taste test, I purchased every variety available on Amazon (one of the few products on this list you can order a single item instead of in bulk). The ones I tried are: Be’f & Vegetable, Saus’ge Gumbo, Chick’n & Rice. I also tried Minestrone & Saus’ge (but it is not on Amazon as I write this; I imagine it would be at some point in future).

My favorites of the Gardein frozen foods are the scrambled meat, called the Beefless Ground, for tacos, the Meatless Meatballs for spaghetti, the Fishless Fillets or Crabless Cakes for fish tacos. And over rice, I love the Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites, the Teriyaki Chick’n Strips and the Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n. The Beefless Tips are good too but I never quite know what to make with them.

Soy Sauce

I’ve been a connoisseur of Bragg Liquid Aminos for 20 years, long before I stopped eating animal products. It contains 16 essential amino acids (hence, the name) and tastes like soy sauce.

If you look at the Bragg ingredient label it simply says “vegetable protein from soybeans, water.” Then if you go look at a standard soy sauce label “water, wheat, soybeans, salt.” Bragg is gluten free, uses no GMOs and has no added salt (even though it tastes salty like soy sauce).

Recently, they came out with Coconut Aminos which is soy-free and made from—you guessed it–coconuts. I bought a bottle but I haven’t opened it yet. I bet it is good too.

Update: Still haven’t opened the bottle.

Two bottles of the brown liquid aminos, one regular and one is a small spray bottle. The label is busy with lots of words and graphics. Photo taken with a cutting board as the back drop.
It’s a good idea to keep on hand both the regular pour bottle and the spray bottle. The spray bottle works great when you don’t want to overdo it. For example spraying on popcorn or veggies. It’s the perfect amount.


Even though this product may have been out for a while, I only recently discovered it. I had trouble finding it (see next section). But once I did, I was so happy. I admit some non-vegan taste-testing friends weren’t a fan of the product.

That said, I love Just Egg. I used to regularly to make Pad Thai and I stopped once I became vegan because of the scrambled eggs in the recipe. It doesn’t include any meat though sometimes (even pre-vegan), I added fried tofu. But since I found the distinct yellow bottle of “eggs” I make Pad Thai on a regular basis. And—bonus—with the air fryer, I no longer need oil to fry the tofu. Super tasty. Super healthy.

I think the trick with this product is to have it in a recipe rather than trying to have it as, say, just scrambled eggs or an omelet. Then the difference from a real egg isn’t as noticeable.

Two yellow containers of Just Egg. They are sitting on a grocery store shelf in front of cartons of eggs.
Just Egg, next to the other eggs at the grocery store. Most of the time.

Finding These Products at the Store

One of the reasons it took me so long to find Just Egg was I looked in the wrong place in grocery stores. I wrote a post about the challenges of being an RVer and grocery shopping which included finding your favorite products because not all stores are organized the same way. I kept assuming I would find Just Egg in the refrigerator in the health section. Turns out, most of the time you find them in the egg case with regular eggs.

Now that I know that, it’s easy and consistent. The item that is never consistent is Beyond Meat burgers. Sometimes you’ll find Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger burgers in the meat section alongside ground beef. Sometimes you’ll find them in the meat section but in a plant-based segregated section. Then, sometimes you’ll find them frozen (which is how I believe grocery stores receive the packages) with other frozen meats. But not always. Sometimes they are in the frozen case with other meat alternative items. And sometimes, grocery store clerks will look at you like you have three heads because they’ve never heard of non-meat meat.

Vegan butter will, likely, be with other butter but also look in the health section. The vegan mayo will not be with other mayo because it must be refrigerated, even before it’s opened. So most often you’ll find it in the refrigerator heath section.

Gardein frozen stuff is always together and with other vegetarian and vegan frozen foods as its own section in the frozen food isle making it the easiest to find. These days, it is super rare that a store doesn’t have at least a few of the distinct packages. Then, sometimes you strike the motherload and your heart beats a little faster when you find a store that has lots of their products. Every once in a while, it’s a thrill to put a package in your cart of one of their products you haven’t tried before.

A final note about the health section. Some stores will have its own segregated health section but you also might find the refrigerated vegan stuff in the cold section of the fruits and vegetable area. Depending on the store and the community, you can find one section or the other and sometimes both.

All this to say, you may have to search a little for the products. But they are worth it.

What Isn’t on the List

I didn’t write about plant-based milks and coffee creamers. Those are so common these days that they didn’t seem worthy of including here as I wanted to offer things you might not have heard of or considered trying. That said, the newest items in this category are cashew milk and oat milk.

The oat milk creamer is tasty and tends to be lower in price compared to nut creamers for the budget conscious shopper.

From cream cheese to shredded cheese, vegan cheese has come a long way. Try a few. See what you think. Some I love. Some, not so much. Most seem to be decent at melting which, for many people, is non-negotiable when it comes to cheese. I decided not to write about cheese because, to me, it remains the hardest to find an acceptable, yummy, alternative despite the fact that many are quite good. It might just be me.

Give It a Try

So, there you have it. A few vegan products that I feel are worth trying, vegan or not. And, while I try to refrain from getting on a soap box, let me just briefly mention that consuming less animal products is good for animals, the earth and your health Three reasons to try vegan products now and again. Or, better yet, jump on the Meatless Monday bandwagon.

To give you a tangible health benefit, let me share one personal tidbit. Since my early 20s, I have always had cholesterol over 200. It was consistently between 210 and 240 for 30 years. As you might know in addition to naturally occurring in your body, you can only consume cholesterol by eating animals and animal products (like eggs).

Plants don’t have cholesterol. Six months after I started, I stopped at a health fair and got another test. My cholesterol dropped to 167! It was welcome news, especially because I have a strong biological family history of heart disease. And I wasn’t even a great vegan at that point. I look forward to getting it tested again to see if it has gone down further.

I’d love to hear your experience with animal-substitute vegan products. Did I miss any that you just love? Next week we’ll talk vegan snacks.

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