Top 10 Vegan Substitutes for Meat and Dairy

If you are completely new to eating a plant-based diet, then you might still have some of those meat and dairy cravings, which is totally understandable since it’ll take about a month for your body to adjust to a new diet. Make sure to check out my last post where I show you the Top 10 Essential Items You Need In Your Vegan Kitchen to help you stock up on what you need to stick to your vegan diet. Now, the problem with a lot of meat and dairy substitutes is they are not all created equal. Some are spot-on right on the money, and others make you wonder how it’s even edible. So, after many years of taste-tasting everything vegan I can get my hands on, here are my top 10 vegan substitutes to help you when you have cravings for meat and cheese. And trust me, after trying the things on this list you won’t be missing meat or dairy anytime soon.

I know it can be hard to find vegan substitutes in your local grocery store, but everything on this list can be found online. If you search the company’s website, they either have it available to purchase directly from them or they have lists of stores closest to you that carry their products. If it’s not available through their website then you can find it on Amazon, however they are only available in bulk which shows a higher bulk price.  

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Meat Substitutes

  1. Tofurky Sandwich Meat: I love sandwiches, so when I went vegan it was hard for me to give up turkey. However, Tofurky makes a great tofu based “turkey” substitute. The best price I’ve found this for is at Trader Joes at only $2.50 per pack, which is a great price for sandwich meat.
  2. Gardein Chick’n Strips: I absolutely love Gardein! They have a huge range of awesome “meat” options. My favorite is their Chick’n Strips. I tend to make them with roasted potatoes and steamed veggies, but you can also eat them like fast food by adding some fries and dipping sauces.
  3. Gardein Orange Chick’n: This is such an easy dinner meal to make. Just cook some rice, fry up the vegan orange chick’n, add some sesame seeds and you’ve got a dinner that is enviable to Chinese takeout.
  4. Gardein Pork-less Buns: The pork buns are to die for, my non-vegan husband can’t even taste the difference that’s how tasty they are. With jackfruit as the meaty substitute, it has the same texture as pulled pork, and the tasty BBQ sauce is just as delicious.
  5. Beyond Meat Burgers: These burgers are scary good. Scary because it looks a lot like red meat, and when you put them in a skillet juices come out of them just like a real meat burger would. But it also tastes the closest to meat too! I’ve tried the Original Smokehouse flavor as well as the Roasted Chile flavor, and both were amazing and juicy deliciousness.
Milk substitutes

Dairy Substitutes

  1. Chao Cheese: This is the best vegan cheese I have ever tried. I like the original flavor best. This is pretty pricey, so I buy it sparingly when I crave some cheese in my sandwich. I also like to cut it into tiny pieces and bake cheesy garlic bread sticks. It’s mostly made from potato, corn, and soy tofu, but it tastes exactly like processed sliced cheese.
  2. Miyoko’s Vegan Mozz: Speaking of cheese, this company, Miyoko’s Kitchen, makes the best soft cheeses you’ve ever tasted. And they’re all vegan! This might be harder to find in your local grocery store, however if you go to their online store you can buy all the cheese your heart desires. I like the Vegan Mozz (Mozzarella) the best, simply because it is so versatile. For pizzas, this cheese melts and browns beautifully and in salads it is my favorite topping, but it really shines as a great ricotta substitute. If you like baking it can also be sweetened as a base for icing for the classics; German chocolate cake and carrot cake.
  3. Daiya Soy/Coconut Yogurt: This is a great yogurt substitute if you need one. My non-vegan husband loves to have one of these with his breakfast.
  4. Tofutti Cream Cheese: This is my go-to cream cheese. I prefer it to Daiya’s vegan cream cheese and it’s usually half the price of Daiya’s too. This cream cheese also works well in cooking. I made vegan jalapeno poppers using this and it tasted amazing.
  5. Vegenaise (Vegan Mayo): I love putting mayo on my sandwiches, burgers, and basically everything else, and vegan mayo is the exact same thing as regular mayo except for the eggs. Veganaise is a bit pricey, so I recommend buying Best Foods Vegan Mayo. I bought a large jar of it at Safeway for only $3.50, which is half the price of Veganaise.