My top 5 vegan and gluten free alternatives

When people learn that I eat vegan and gluten free, I get a lot of questions about what my favorite “fake” foods are.  They see so many meat and cheese and wheat alternatives that they are confused.  There ARE a lot of imitation products out there and it IS overwhelming (an expensive) to experiment with all the options.

So here’s my quick and dirty top 5 favs.  However, before I start, I do have to mention that my ULTIMATE favs are WHOLE FOODS – yes, an apple is vegan!  Salads are great!  I love me my steel cut oatmeal!  I try to stick with foods that have an ingredient list of 1.  1 ingredient is the easiest way to eat – an apple only has one ingredient.  Same with kale.  Get the picture?  But, we all need some chocolate or other foods to sustain us, right?

When I do need something with a slightly longer ingredient list, here’s what I turn to:

1.  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Steel Cut Oats – Yummo.  I love to start my day with this stuff – add a little maple syrup, some blueberries, walnuts and cinnamon.

Oatmeal itself doesn’t contain gluten.  However, most oatmeal is processed together with other gluten-containing grains, so there is risk of cross-contamination.  Some people with mild gluten sensitivities may not notice the gluten contamination in oatmeal.  For me, I like to be on the “feel-good” side and just get the gluten free stuff.

2.  Food for Life Wheat and Gluten Free Brown Rice Tortillas – being from the Southwest, I LOVE me my tortillas.  My husband makes to-die-for flour tortillas and I was very sad to have to give those up when I went gluten free.  However, once I discovered Food for Life brand tortillas, I could once again enjoy my burritos and quesadillas.  Speaking of quesadillas….

3. Daiya – this soy-free vegan cheese is the best alternative I have found to real cheese.  It’s creamy and it melts.  One of my favorites is to make a quesadilla with sautéed spinach and mushrooms and Daiya on a Food for Life tortilla and then cover it in tomatillo sauce and maybe even guacamole.  YUM.  This is a Mexican meal that won’t give you the heartburn.  Or, try a little on a bean burrito.  I eat it sparingly so it’s a treat, but a good one!

4.  Lundberg’s Organic Brown Rice Cakes – rice cakes?  Seriously?  How bland can you get?  Yes, I know that some can be pretty tasteless, but these brown rice cakes are crunchy and satisfying.  I don’t eat them alone – that WOULD be a little bland.  My favorite way to eat them is spread with almond butter.  YUM.  A lunch of those along with my favorite green juice hits the spot.  Start with the slightly salted ones and work your way to the salt-free version.

5.  Grandma’s Humus from The Mediterranean Chef  – hummus is not specifically gluten free, but it is such a wonderful alternative to mayonnaise or just about any other spread.  It’s a vegan’s delight – it nips that craving for something creamy right in the bud, and this one, made locally in Austin, is TO DIE FOR!

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2 Responses to My top 5 vegan and gluten free alternatives

  1. Susi Braun says:

    Hey Heather,
    I like the idea of 1 ingredient!! 🙂 However, I’ve been steering away from soy. Somehow I have in my mind it’s chemically produced/altered… any thoughts? You mention Daiya cheese is soy-free… what is it made of?
    Also, I’m thinking of getting a BlendTec – you like yours? Can it make juice as well as smoothies, although I probably will eat whatever gets blended in (apple seeds, too!). I haev an old juicer, but it is leaking and a real pain to clean. I imagine a strong blender to be sooo much better to try out your green juice a second time. It tasted great the first time around 🙂 Thanks for all your great insights! Hope you and your fam are well!

  2. iwannacookie says:

    Hi Susi! Daiya IS processed, which is why I consume it in moderation. It’s tapioca based. Again, no big health food but it’s a nice garnish!
    The Blendtec won’t allow you to make juices like the juicer. It will blend the whole fruit/vegetable up so it will be thicker – a smoothie But, I’m sure it will still taste great! Many people LOVE green smoothies and the high powered blenders really do the job. Yes, juicers are a PAIN to clean, no matter which one you use.

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