When I first started my vegan journey, I was as confused as anyone else. All I knew at that time was my options were just limited to fruits and vegetables, non-dairy milk, jams, and ketchup. I was disappointed and to speak, worried about even making this shift in my lifestyle.
However, thanks to the abundant information available on the internet, I was happy to find that surprisingly many foods, both junk and healthy, are naturally vegan. I read many blogs from legitimate vegan resources to throw some light on this subject and was amazed to discover my list of vegan grocery “must-haves.”
So, assuming that this must be a common question for folks who are attempting to become or try a vegan diet, I decided to write this post to narrate at least 15 food items that are accidentally vegan.
1. Fruits and Vegetables: Well, this is a no-brainer, but it would be unfair to start the list without giving some credit to the healthiest part of any diet. All fruits and all vegetables are natural products of Mother Nature and hold the medicine to all health problems. Packed with natural sugars, dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals, colorful and seasonal fruits, and a portion of greens is a great way to start your grocery list.
2. Rice, Pasta, Legumes, Lentils: These are some of the staples we all grew up eating. As a rich source of carbohydrate, all types of rice, legumes, and lentils are plant-based products, readily available and doesn’t break the bank.
Noodles and certain types of pasta, however, can have eggs added in them, which makes them vegetarian but not vegan. In such cases, the best way to avoid making a mistake is to read the labels. Since, all manufacturers are required to disclose their ingredient list, if the pasta you picked has egg written on it, you would want to pass that on and pick another variety or brand.
A quick note: Did you know that besides whole-wheat pasta, many grocery stores also offer pasta made from chickpea flour?
3. Nut Butters: Nut butter made from peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts are all vegan, and we have been eating these for all these years. Right? However, let’s keep in mind that though these are healthy sources of fat and carbohydrates, these should be ideally consumed in moderation.
Also here is an interesting list of different vegan nut butters that are conveniently available in the market, depending upon your loaction.
4. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls: These are my favorite because they are so versatile to use and helps plate a dish without having to worry about tiresome recipes. So if you have been waiting to use crescent rolls for your favorite recipes, fear no more, for these are vegan!
5. Hummus and Veggies: Who doesn’t like these? I mean, yes, they are an extremely healthy snack and a great way to build the appetite for a full course meal, but aren’t they delicious? Given a chance, I’d love to have this at least once a month.
6. Guacamole and Chips: We’ve all probably had it, and we love it, but did we realize that this too is Vegan? Not only avocadoes are high in protein, fat, fiber, and taste, but these also make an incredible snack with some whole wheat crackers or nachos.
7. Oreo Cookies: Yes, these are vegan too, and could we have been happier? From traditional to festive flavors, Oreos are another staple that you might want to add to your grocery list for a binge snack. (Sshh)
8. Duncan Hines Cake Mix: Cake mixes make life simple, especially when you are not a baking fan. So the next time you hit the grocery store, be happy to see the Duncan Hines Brownie mix on the baking aisle as these are in the vegan-friendly food list too.
9. Oats and Cereals: Oatmeal and Cereals are naturally vegan too. Though some may have added sugars which you’d like to watch out for, they are another vegan-friendly food item that you can add to your list.
10. Ritz crackers and Lotus Biscoff: Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything besides fruits and veggies. Ritz crackers and the Lotus Biscoff have always been vegan even when they weren’t labeled so.
11. Soy and almond-based cheeses and Non-Dairy Butter: Today there are many brands that offer soy and almond-based cheeses and with a few variations as per your taste, these are a great alternative to dairy cheese. Here is a list of some easy to find non-dairy cheeses.
We’ve spoken about cheese, so butter should be next on the list, right?
Well, there are many non-dairy butter alternatives that taste as good or even better than dairy butter. However, my suggestion would be to keep an eye out on the percentage of palm oil on the ingredient list as that is something I genuienly try to avoid.
Here is a reference article to help you choose a vegan butter that suits you best.
12. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup: Yes, this one is vegan too!
I was so thrilled to find out that the Hershey’s chocolate syrup is vegan. Knowing this just makes me feel happy and content because this is something I really like adding to my oatmeals, brownies, and non-dairy ice creams once in a while.
Also, check out this post from Live Kindly to know more about how the Hershey Company, committed to end animal testing.
13. Jams and Ketchup: A kitchen staple like jams, ketchup, mustard sauce, a few salad dressings, etc. have always been vegan. However, some salad dressings do contain eggs, which is why you might want to check the label to be on the safer side.
For now, here is my favorite to-go list of non-dairy, vegan salad dressings that are easy to find in most grocery stores.
14. Plant-Based Milk and Creamers: We have mentioned Oreo cookies and chocolate syrup, but what about the glass of milk to dunk the Oreos?
One of the common misconceptions that float around for vegans is that they miss out on dairy and dairy products. But to break the myth, plant-based milk, made from soy, coconut, oats, cashews, macadamia, and even rice, are pretty easy to find and are fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. Not only are these great dairy alternatives for your morning cereal, coffee, and baking needs, but are also healthier and have fewer calories without the need for cruelty.
As a personal preference, I love Silk’s Soy milk, and oat milk from Oatly for my cereal, oatmeals, tea, and coffee.
If you would like to explore more plant-based milk options, make sure to take a look at these articles too:
- The Cereal Lover’s Guide to Plant-Based Milk
- Non-Dairy Milk, Taste-Tested and Ranked
15. Dark Chocolates: If you love dark chocolate, I’d say, let’s become friends.
Dark chocolate is something I MUST have in my refrigerator for all occasions or even no occasion at all. Since most dark chocolates contain a higher percentage of cocoa and cocoa butter, are rich in antioxidants, low in sugar, and are vegan friendly, I like considering them as “healthy snack”. However, just to be extra sure, don’t forget to check out the label for any milk additives.
Some of my favorite vegan dark chocolate brands are:
- Endangered Species
- Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate
- Raaka Chocolate Dairy-Free Pack
- Hu Chocolate Bars
I hope you find this list helpful to prepare your next grocery list.
And, if you have any recommendation, feedback or thoughts, please feel free to share in the comments section below.
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