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!