19 Vegan Foods You’re Probably Already Eating

One common complaint I hear from non-vegans is, “Oh, I just don’t like vegan food.” It always makes me feel so sad for this person whose life is apparently free of chips and guac, juicy tangerines, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

If you think vegan food begins with lettuce and ends with tofu (though I do love tofu!), I hope I can expand your horizons a bit here. Let’s talk tasty, vegan eats!

What is Vegan Food, Really?

There’s a perception that eating vegan is all about limp salads, steamed vegetables and unseasoned quinoa. If vegan food were that sad and boring, I promise you I would have given up on veganism long ago.

Vegan food is just…food. Food that doesn’t come from animals. It’s fresh fruits, vibrant salads, hearty grain bowls and belly-filling tacos. It doesn’t have to be raw or unprocessed or healthy, but it certainly can be, if that’s your jam.

My hope is that the list of super common vegan foods below will help you see that it is deliciously easy to incorporate more vegan eats into your life, even if you don’t share my passion for tofu.

19 Vegan Foods You're Probably Already Eating

Vegan Foods You’ve Probably Eaten

Whether you’re a long-time vegan, like me, or a dedicated meat-eater, these are vegan foods pretty much everyone can get behind.

1. Chips and Guacamole

Your standard side of chips and guac is almost always vegan. Some places will sneak sour cream into their guac (why??), but it’s really not needed. Creamy avocados don’t require any dairy to add decadence!

2. French Fries

Vegan doesn’t necessarily equal healthy, and fries are proof of that! As long as your fries are cooked in plant-based oils (no lard, please!), you’re good to go.

3. Hummus

Like guacamole, some restaurants will sneak dairy into their hummus, but traditional hummus is naturally dairy-free. Throw in some toasted pita and veggies for dipping, and you’re ready to snack.

Bowl of Tangerines

4. Fresh Fruit

I don’t think this needs much explanation, but I think we forget that the simplest foods are often vegan ones. If you’ve ever eaten a banana—maybe dipped in some peanut butter?—then you’ve eaten vegan food.

5. Tomato Soup

Traditional tomato bisque usually has butter and cream in it, but good old tomato soup is vegan, more often than not. Just make sure the base doesn’t include chicken broth, and you’re all good.

5. Peanut Butter and Jelly

I often overlook PBJs when I’m planning a packed lunch, but they’re just so delicious and classic. In fact, I once made PBJ finger sandwiches for a fundraiser I was helping out with, and the adults absolutely loved them! People kept asking me for the recipe. They were literally just peanut butter and strawberry jam on whole wheat bread, cut into skinny pieces.

6. Beans and Rice

Yes, people do sometimes use meat to “season” beans and rice, but if you bring the flavor from plant-based herbs and spices instead, you won’t miss it. Instead, reach for spices like cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, garlic, onion and oregano.

blackbeansandrice

7. Vegetable Spring Rolls

The only tricky thing about a spring roll is that sometimes the wrappers will contain eggs. You can’t taste the difference between egg-containing and egg-free spring roll wrappers, though, so just ask before you order.

8. Bruschetta

Some bruschetta recipes include cheese, but it’s not required. Toasty bread with a dollop of tomato, onion, garlic and basil is bursting with flavor, no animals harmed.

9. Garlic Bread

This is another tricky one that can contain dairy, but doesn’t have to. To make vegan garlic bread, just toss minced garlic with good olive oil, then spread it onto bread and bake in the oven. Restaurants will sometimes use butter instead of oil or finish their garlic bread with cheese, so just ask. They may be able to accommodate! One of my favorite pizza places can make their garlic bread vegan by just not sprinkling on Parmesan cheese before serving.

10. Bacon Bits

What?! It’s true: most of the packaged “bacon bits” in the spice aisle contain no bacon or any other animal products. Are shake-on bacon bits packed with salt and super processed? Yes. But also: we’re talking about a substitute for bacon, so let’s all get off of our healthy high horses here.

olive tapenade in a bowl and spread on bread

11. Olive Tapenade

Olive tapenade is one of my favorite fancy appetizers, and it’s usually vegan. To make a tapenade, you combine minced olives, capers and parsley with olive oil, lemon juice and roasted garlic. If you’re dining out, look out for cheese and anchovies – some cooks will add these unnecessary animal ingredients to their tapenades.

12. Chips and Salsa

This doesn’t need much explanation, so dig in!

13. Pretzels

Soft pretzels are sometimes prepared with an egg wash or butter coating, but if not, they’re vegan. And hard pretzels are almost always free from animal products. Don’t forget the mustard for dipping!

14. Oreos and Many Other ‘Sandwich Cookies’

Sandwich cookies used to use lard for their creamy fillings, but now that filling is usually vegetable shortening. This is another “it’s not health food” situations. But veganism isn’t a diet – it’s a lifestyle centered around not harming animals.

These types of cookies (and a few other items on this list) do tend to contain palm oil. While palm oil production does harm animals, some experts are saying that palm oil substitutes are even worse.

flaky crescent rolls on a white background

15. Store-Bought Crescent Rolls and Biscuits

You know those biscuits and crescent rolls that come in the pop-open tube? Most of them are accidentally vegan! Just check the allergy warning for egg and milk ingredients, and pass the jam.

16. Roasted Vegetables

We need to balance out those oreos and biscuits with some veggies, and a simple roasted vegetable is the perfect way to do that. Tossing your veggies with olive oil, garlic and spices before roasting them in the oven is the perfect way to bring out their flavor without leaving your cooking comfort zone.

17. Pasta

Most fresh pastas contain eggs, but almost all boxed, dried pastas are vegan. Boil up your favorite shape, then douse in (cheeseless) tomato sauce. Add some of those roasted vegetables you just made, and you’ve got yourself a meal!

18. Oatmeal

You don’t need butter and milk in your oatmeal! Stir in peanut butter (or other nut- or seed butters), fresh fruit or even jam for a cruelty-free breakfast that’s healthy and filling.

19. Corn on the Cob

If you’ve never had sweet, boiled or roasted corn on the cob sans butter, treat yourself. Corn is pretty sweet and buttery, all on its own. If you want to add some depth of flavor, drizzle on a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or garlic powder.

Are there other accidentally vegan foods that I missed in this list? Feel free to add on in the comments!

Images via Getty

50 comments

hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h9 days ago

tyfs

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Shae Lee
Shae Lee9 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Louise A
Louise A10 days ago

thanks for sharing

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heather g
heather g15 days ago

All good, except blackened, burnt corn should be avoided.

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Christina C
Christina C17 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Joan E
Joan E19 days ago

A few I could do without, like hummus and bacon bits, but most of those foods are in my kitchen.

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Hannah A
Hannah A19 days ago

thank you for posting

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Hyman Mark
Past Member 20 days ago

Wow so wonderful and beautiful

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Yvonne T
Yvonne T21 days ago

jammy :-)

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman21 days ago

WONDERFUL ARTICLE MANY THANKS

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