Editors’ Favorite Plant-Based and Vegan Products of the Week
When you go to the store and think: "I want to eat healthier, more plant-based, and choose foods that are good for me," it can be daunting. There are so many non-dairy kinds of milk, plant-based salad dressings, dairy-free creamers, and more, some healthy, some full of chemicals and added sugar. Every day there are new plant-based or vegan products hitting the market, some we recommend and others that are as bad or worse for you as the real thing they are trying to replace. That's why each week, we tell you about the latest, most innovative products to try–ones we love–that make eating plant-based easier.
Eating the recommended number of five or more servings a day of fresh (or frozen) vegetables, fruit, is no easy task. Only 1 in 10 Americans manage to do it on a regular basis. We are here to help, and to suggest easy ways to make swaps that get rid of meat and dairy and instead help you get all the protein you need from legumes, nuts, seeds, and plant-based whole foods.
Here, the Editors of The Beet recommend our favorite vegan or plant-based products, to make it even easier (and tastier) to know what to buy, to eat more plant-based, and love it. These five products make it easier to eat plant-based and enjoy every bite.
Check out the latest plant-based products to add to your grocery list or cart, that can make your decision to go plant-based easier and more satisfying than ever.
Check out the favorite plant-based products of the week from the editors of The Beet, and share yours on The Beet's Facebook page. We all want to be healthy and plant-based together. What's your pick of the week? Here are ours.
1. JOI (Just One Ingredient) nut base for homemade almond milk
I always tell people that if you check the label and a whole food is the first ingredient, buy that since it's likely the healthiest choice. But JOI is actually Just One Ingredient. The genius idea is to sell a small container of concentrated almond or cashew nut base and all you need to do is add 1 to 2 tablespoons to a cup of water and blend for 30 seconds to have fresh, un-adulterated almond or cashew milk. One small container of JOI nut base makes 27 servings of milk. These come in handy when you find yourself standing over a dry bowl of Grape Nuts and realize you are out of your favorite store-bought almond milk.
Most of the store-bought plant-based milks contain either added sugar or preservatives, but JOI has what it says inside the container: One ingredient and nothing else (no binding agents, gums, or sugars). You can use it to make spreads, smoothies, desserts, pasta sauce, or any other plant-based meals They have recipes on their website). And since no refrigeration is required, with JOI in the house, you'll never run out of almond milk again.
Find JOI online at their website.
1. Gardein The Ultimate Plant-Based Chick'n Nuggets
Gardein has done it again: One of my favorite plant-based protein brands has recently unveiled a vegan chicken nugget product, launching the Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’n Nuggets. It has been a few years since I’ve eaten meat, but to me, these popcorn nuggets taste absolutely identical to what I remember chicken tasting like. With 15 grams of protein per serving, these fill me right up and are great to add to a salad for a nice breaded crunch, or just to dunk in a dairy-free ranch for a snack. I recommend using an air fryer to achieve the perfect crispy outside.
If you've been searching for a chicken alternative to serve to picky eaters or non-vegans, I can't recommend Gardein's chick'n nuggets enough. There is absolutely no way that anyone would ever know that these are vegan. The best part about Gardein products is that they are widely available in most grocery chains across the nation, so finding the brand's meatless options should be no trouble.
Visit Gardein's store locator to find a retailer near you.
1. Gotham Greens Caesar and Ranch Dressing
Creating my favorite salads before I gave up dairy has never been so easy with Gotham Greens Vegan Caesar and Ranch dressing. These dressings taste the same, if not better than the real thing.
The Caesar is creamy, rich, and has that delicious signature spiced flavor regular Caesar's have — which oftentimes comes from anchovies. The taste and texture are spot on.
Before I went plant-based my favorite salad ever was a kale salad marinated in Caesar at a restaurant called Moby’s and now I make the same dish at home with the Gotham Greens dressing and I’ve completely upgraded what used to be my favorite salad.
The ranch dressing is my all-time favorite because I find it harder to make a dairy-free homemade ranch because the consistency is thicker than a Caesar, it's similar to yogurt. I put the ranch of everything but the other day I made cauliflower wings for dinner and devoured them with the dressing. I actually used the entire bottle in two days – all my meals taste better with the ranch.
If you’re trying to eat more plant-based or want to eliminate dairy from your diet, your best bet is to add these dressings to your salads for all the same flavors you used to love.
To purchase Gotham Greens, visit their website.
1. Unreal Crispy Quinoa Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter cups were my favorite candy before I went plant-based but I have never found a vegan peanut butter cup that came close to the real thing. That was until I tried Unreal's crispy quinoa peanut butter cups. These vegan and gluten-free peanut butter cups are out of this world and I can guarantee you will want to eat the entire bag in one sitting.
This was my first time trying any sort of sweet or candy with crispy quinoa and I have to say I was a little skeptical at first. Once I took a bite, I couldn't believe I ever had a peanut butter cup without quinoa. Unreal makes better-for-you chocolate cups, bars and gems that are free of sugar alcohols and stevia. All products are made with simple, organic ingredients such as fair-trade dark chocolate. The crispy quinoa peanut butter cups have the perfect balance of peanut butter and dark chocolate with a crunch from the crispy quinoa. Another thing I love about Unreal is that it is individually packaged so I can just grab one (or three) and bring it on the go if I want.
Unreal's candy is so addictive but luckily it's a healthier alternative compared to other sweets such as Reese's. To compare, Reese's has 210 calories, 150 milligrams of sodium and 22 grams of sugar in two cups whereas Unreal has 160 calories, 80 milligrams of sodium and only 10 grams of sugar in two cups. The crispy quinoa peanut butter cups aren't the only vegan treat of Unreal. Unreal also makes Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems, Dark Chocolate Gems with Crispy Quinoa snd Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars. The best part is you can try all of Unreal's vegan options in a variety pack. As someone who has tried literally every single option, I can say they are all equally as delicious as the crispy quinoa cups.
You can buy the vegan variety pack at this link.
1. Sound Sparkling Water
Sound Sparkling Water is the first sparkling water that I’ve tried to really shock me in a long time. At first, I thought that the sparring water drink would just be another iteration of seltzer water that didn’t quite mark up to my expectations. I was completely wrong. The Sound Sparkling Water products went above and beyond mixing flavors perfectly and eloquently. Once I cracked open the first can, it was almost impossible to stop drinking them.
Each Sound Sparkling is infused with tea, botanicals, and fruit extracts to create a deliciously refreshing drink. The bubbly water is completely organic and never sweetened, providing consumers with a fresh and pure flavor. My personal favorite is the Tangerine flavor enhanced by Lemongrass and Green Tea. Any option is delicious and here is where you can get them.