If you’re vegan, gluten-free, or interested in becoming either of the two, then it can be a little tricky finding the vegan and gluten-free food items that suit your personal tastes, budget, and dietary needs. This list of ten must-have vegan and gluten-free food items highlights my personal favorites and you’ll want to add them to your fridge and pantry.
1 –Trader Joe’s San Organic Tofu
Tofu is amazing at being whatever you want it to be, from beef and pork, to chicken and scrambled “eggs”. It’s also very affordable, especially compared to its animal-derived counterparts. My favorite way to use tofu is cubed, coated in arrowroot powder, baked, and covered in a thick, garlic-infused peanut-butter sauce.
2 –Trader Joe’s Peanut-Butter
Speaking of peanut-butter, my favorite is Trader Joe’s because it’s all-natural, non-hydrogenated, palm oil-free, and so, so good. Other “natural” peanut-butter brands fail to keep palm oil out of their product, but Trader Joe’s gets it right. Whether it’s in an Asian-style sauce, or on a classic PB&J, this brand delivers.
3 –Trader Joe’s Hi-Protein Veggie Burgers
Ok, I know it’s starting to seem as though I only shop at Trader Joe’s, but I don’t. Just indulge me long enough for me to tell you about the veggie burgers that Changed. My. Life. If you’re vegan and gluten-free, finding a burger-style patty that actually tastes good is damn near impossible, but these protein-packed, guilt-free veggie burgers somehow manage to do it. They’re perfect as a burger, of course, but also work very well as meatloaf, kafta, and kibbeh.
4 –Follow Your Heart Original Vegenaise
If having to give up mayonnaise to pursue a vegan lifestyle sounds like an unpleasant sacrifice, I have good news: Follow Your Heart Original Vegenaise actually tastes better than real mayo, and it’s completely vegan and gluten-free! With this creamy mayo alternative, you can still enjoy sandwiches, sauces, and anything else that needs a creamy, tangy kick. As a bonus, not being made from eggs means there’s zero cholesterol.
5 –Silk Soy Milk
Milk is one of the most common household staples, even for vegans, and Silk soy milk is, by far, my favorite. Other soy milk brands can be somewhat chalky, overly sweet, or contain carrageenan, a highly harmful ingredient found in many foods. Silk is smooth, has just the right amount of sweetness, and contains no carrageenan. For new users, it does take some getting used to, but in no time, soy milk will be the new normal.
6 –Blanched Almond Flour
If sticking your face in a bag of blanched almond flour and smelling the cookie-like aroma doesn’t make you want to drop everything and make a pan right now, you have no feelings. This cup-for-cup flour replacement, while pricey, is pretty excellent at making your favorite things gluten-free. I’ve used it to make homemade gluten-free crackers, and the result was crunchy, flavorful, and very satisfying.
Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are magical little things that prove extremely useful in a vegan’s recipe arsenal. They can be used in hummus, as a salad and soup topper, or seasoned and baked in the oven as a guilt-free snack. The most impressive thing about chickpeas, however, is the aquafaba, the water that canned chickpeas come in. The strange, thick aquafaba can be used as an egg replacer. Chickpeas are a gift that keep on giving.
8 –Kikkoman Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
Being vegan and/or gluten-free means two things: cooking all of your meals yourself, and most likely cooking lots of Asian foods. Cooking Asian foods means you’ll need soy sauce, but regular soy sauce isn’t gluten-free. So, what are your options? You could buy liquid aminos, which taste as scientific as the name suggests. You could buy tamari, which tastes nothing like soy sauce. Or you could buy Kikkoman Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, which somehow manages to taste as it should. Soy sauce is essential in dishes such as Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, fried rice, and more.
9 –Florida Crystals Raw Cane Sugar
No matter what you’ve heard, being vegan and gluten-free does NOT mean you have to give up dessert. Regular granulated sugar is made with bone-char, which, as the name suggests, is an animal derivative. Raw sugar is vegan because it’s just plain, raw, sugar. It tastes the same, and can be used in all the things you use white sugar in. What I love about Florida Crystals is that their operations are powered by recycled sugar cane fiber, so it’s earth-friendly, too.
10 –Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
When going vegan, I worried about losing milk-chocolate, my favorite kind of chocolate. Thankfully, Guittard makes these semi-sweet chips that taste and melt just like milk-chocolate. The bag doesn’t say they’re vegan, due to the fact that they’re produced in a facility that uses milk, but a scan of the ingredients list shows that they are in fact safe for a plant-based diet.
Whether you’ve been vegan and/or gluten-free for years, or have only begun the journey, I hope this list helps you out.