What is Seitan: Seitan, also known as "wheat meat" is a mock meat made from vital wheat gluten. It is increasingly popular among vegan, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike because when prepared correctly it is shockingly similar to the real meat. Depending on how it is prepared, it can take on a wide variety of different textures including shredded beef, turkey deli slices, burgers, and chunks for kebabs or stir fry.
Even though it may seem like the latest fad, Seitan has actually been around for a long time - perhaps even the 6th Century in China. The oldest reference we have to date is in a Chinese encylopedia dating back to the year 535. Seitan was popularized by Buddhists or anyone looking to abstain from meat during that time period. It started appearing in Western Cultures around the 1800s.
Gluten is a form of protein found in the wheat plant. If you've tried any gluten free products, you may have found that it is more crumbly than products with gluten. This is because the vital wheat gluten is stripped out.
If you're looking to try some seitan, you have two options: make it yourself or buy it already prepared. If you already live by a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, you're in luck because they are pretty much guaranteed to carry it. Whole Foods specifically tends to have a section specific to meat substitutes or replacers which is totally awesome! It's also possible to get online using the links below!
Getting Seitan online is an option if the stores around you don't carry it. It's also obviously more convenient if you don't feel like driving to the store.
We found WestSoy, Chicken Style Seitan available online and ready to purchase on Amazon. WestSoy is one of the most popular brands in stores as well, so you really can’t go wrong their any of their seitan products.
WestSoy Cubed Seitan is more appropriate for things like kebabs that require you to have something that’s easy to put on a skewer.
Companion Braised Seitan is a product of Taiwan and is perfect for Asian Cuisine. An ideal choice if you’re going to be making stir fries, fried rice, or even General Tso’s Seitan!
Click any of the links above to read customer reviews and check prices on Amazon!
When it comes to seitan, Upton's Naturals is one of the biggest brands out there. They make a variety of seitan flavors including: bacon, chicken, chorizo, Italian, and traditional. You can find their store locator here.
Although most people know them for their vegetable stock, Pacific Foods also makes seitan! They also have some unique flavors which include Korean BBQ (one of our favorites at Thrive Cuisine!). If you're looking to get your hands on some, you can use the store locator on any of their products.
Probably one of the most widely distributed brands of seitan, Tofurky Deli slices are most likely going to be the one's you find in your local supermarket. Their products tend to be more akin to "seitan hybrids" as some of them contain soy as well as vital wheat gluten. However, the similarities between their products and regular deli slices is totally uncanny, meat eaters aren't even likely to notice. Check out their store locator to see if they're near you!
Another big name in the industry, WestSoy not only makes seitan, but also a wide variety of vegan products including plant milks. Their seitan selection is interesting because they have cubed seitan which is difficult to find and also perfect for vegan kebabs! It also comes in a tofu-like package. See if they're near you by checking out their locator!
Many people have likened making seitan to both an art and a science. There are so many different ways to prepare it to change up the texture and the flavor. The video below is a very simply and easy recipe to follow and it's only a 4 minute watch!
How to Make Seitan by VegTimes
The ingredients seitan base are always going to be pretty similar. Here are some of the ingredients that you are going to need that may not be too easily found in stores:
The first time you cook seitan probably won't yield you the results you want (again it's a bit of an art), but don't give up!
Here's a very basic recipe that we use for you to build in. Feel free experimenting with your own spices and flavor profiles to create the results you're looking for. Also, rather than slicing it, you can cook it in a cheese cloth to create one big loaf if you'd like!
Be sure to watch the video above for a visual aid on how the dough should look and perform. You can be conservative about adding the veggie broth to the dough because you can always add more but can't take out.
When assessing whether seitan is healthy or not, what you're comparing it to is going to make all the difference. Science has clearly shown that plant-based whole foods are going to be the ideal choice when it comes to health. Seitan is more of a processed plant food so you won't be able to compare it to something like broccoli that's rich in nutrients and phytochemicals.
However, if you're craving meat, you're much better off picking seitan than the real thing. Despite a flurry of popular blog posts about the "benefits" of things like coconut oil, butter, eggs, and other forms of saturated fat and cholesterol, the stuff is terrible for you. Picking seitan allows you to enjoy a meaty taste and texture without saturated fat and cholesterol, which makes it a clear winner over meat for health reasons.
Don't take our word on this - the American Heart Association had to recently put out a press release to warn people about this misinformation.
Nope - the stuff is pretty much all gluten! If you've got a gluten allergy your best bet is to stick to soy-based mock meats.
Yup! We've never seen a seitan that wasn't vegan, especially store bought ones. One could theoretically add milk or eggs if they were a vegetarian, but highly unlikely.
The only reliable source we could find on this was this article by Jack Norris RD who spoke directly with the authors of this paper. This particular paper is probably the only one out there that did a lab analysis on the amino acid composition of wheat gluten. The author of the paper reported seitan is extremely low in tryptophan and not lysine like many other sources report. Given the negligible amounts of tryptophan in wheat gluten, it probably cannot be considered a true complete protein - although it depends on what you truly mean by complete.
But does this matter? If you're eating seitan as part of a reasonable diet, there's no reason to think that you're going to be deficient in any amino acid. The myth of the "protein-combining" was something that started in Vogue Magazine many years ago, but has proven time and time again to be nonsense.
Dr. Greger from NutritionFacts.org explains the myth of complete proteins.
Why? Well, if you're a vegan, consuming a well balanced-diet within reason, it would be virtually impossible to be deficient in any amino acids. Our body has a finely tuned protein recycling program as well as stores of extra amino acids to be broken down and reassembled to maintain the perfect balance. Check out the video above to learn more.
Yes and no. Some seitan products like Tofurky slices can have soy in them, but seitan doesn't have to necessarily be made with soy. A majority of seitan products or homemade seitans won't have soy in them.
Much like tofu, seitan is a blank canvas for flavor. You can make seitan take on the flavor or texture of almost any meat dish or product that you can think of. Check out the recipe section below to spark some ideas!
OK, so you've picked up some seitan at the store, but are wondering what the heck to do with it! Basically, you can do anything that you would do to sliced or cubed meat. This includes stir fries, stews, kebabs, marinating, grilling, smoking, etc. It really is a blank canvas for any meat dish you'd like to recreate.
Soy has quickly gone from a relatively unknown in Western culture to a highly debated and controversial food. Of course, soy has not been embraced by communities who have been advocating against grain and legume consumption for decades. Even people who eat predominately plant-based diets will campaign against this humble legume. The question is: are these harsh criticisms warranted or does the scientific literature say otherwise?
A flurry of blog posts, most without any or with limited sources from scientific literature, has emerged attempting to prove once and for all how dangerous soy consumption is for human health.
Claims can range anywhere from “soy causes breast cancer and increases estrogen levels” to “phytates in soy leeches nutrients from your body”.
In this post, we will closely examine common objections against soy. We will explore the truths many online resources got right and the falsehoods that many got wrong.
We will dive deep into the actual scientific research behind soy consumption and ultimately be able to conclude soy, when consumed in any reasonable amount, protects against disease and promotes overall health.
**Please note that this article is about whole-foods plant based sources of soy, not soy additives in processed foods.
To start, yes there are some people who shouldn’t eat soy. Some people do have allergies to soy, but it is actually the least common of all the main allergens.
A national survey found that 1 in 2,000 people have a soy allergy. For comparison, this is 40 times less likely than dairy, and 10 times less than fish, eggs, shellfish, nuts, wheat, or peanuts. 
Concerning GMOs, there certainly has not been enough testing done on the long-term effects of these foods, and they should be, at-best, labelled so each consumer has the right to know what they’re eating.
The main issue with GMO soy may not necessarily be the modification, but the actual Roundup being sprayed in large doses on these crops. This substance has been proven to product toxic and hormonal effects at even lower concentrations than what’s used on crops.
Organic or conventional Non-Gmo soy has no Roundup of course, and less pesticide residues overall than GMO-soy. 
More Details on GMO Soy by NutritionFacts.org
If you’ve been avoiding soy because you think it’s either unhealthy, GMO, or similar, there is an unfortunate dilemma. 90% of the soy production in the world goes to animal feed and given to cows, chickens, and pigs. If you’re eating any of these animals and fearful of the dangers of soy, you’re still consuming it second-hand. 
The main soy used for for humans manufacturers use Non-GMO soy, but we recommend buying organic soy products just to be safe.
Soy gets a lot of flak for being a crop that is environmentally destructive. However, the brunt of this issue falls upon consumers of animal products and the animal agriculture industry, not soy itself. As stated above, the majority of GMO soy is grown for the sole purpose of feeding animals.
Of course, there are the grass-fed free, range animal options, which may not be fed with soy. Even "grass-fed" options, though, may be fed grain during a portion of the year during the end of their lives to fatten them up before slaughter . It’s also completely unsustainable for the environment. Livestock systems already cover 45% of the earth’s total landmass and cattle ranching is responsible for 91% of Amazonian rainforest destruction. 
These are huge numbers, and our limited land resources will only decrease as the demand for grass-fed meat increases. One grass-fed cow takes 9 acres of land to raise, whereas a grain-fed cow takes 3 acres. We simply don’t have enough land for everyone to eat grass-fed animals. 
With the majority of GMO-soy feed going to animals and the already massive occupancy of land used for animal agriculture, trying to avoid GMO-soy while still consuming animal products is quite counter-intuitive. By consuming most factory farmed animals, you're consuming GMO-soy indirectly and in much greater quantities. Not to mention you are increasing demand for this GMO soy, which leads to more destructive land-clearing.
Again, the healthiest, more environmentally friendly, and less cruel option would be to purchase organic soy products, which are by law non-GMO. However, many people still have concerns over some of the actual proteins and chemicals inside soy.
Another main talking-point against soy is the fact they are high in lectins. Lectins are proteins present in plants, dairy, yeast, eggs, and seafood. They can bind to other molecules, notably sugar and carbohydrate molecules, that are present both in foods, and in the membranes of our cells.
A case made by anti-grain authorities is that binding of lectins from plant foods to our cells is a major cause of ill health and nutrition malabsorption. They claim high-lectin foods like beans, grains, potatoes, tomatoes, and peanuts should be avoided for this reason.
This claim doesn't add up when you look at the actual research on lectin-containing foods.
First off, experimentation on lectins is often done in high concentrations and separated from it’s actual food source. Isolating lectins make them substantially more effective to bind to our cells compared to if they were consumed in food.
Also, by simply cooking your food, most of the lectins are deactivated or bind to other substances. Even a study from 1998, which attempts to frame lectins as a serious problem in the food industry, fails to dance around the point that lectin activity for most beans is deactivated within 10 minutes of boiling. 
Overconsumption of lectins can cause gastrointenstinal distress, but again, simply cooking your legumes/grains will remove any chance of negative consequences.
When we look at the longest living, healthiest populations in the world, known as the Blue Zone groups, “high lectin” legumes were a staple in their diet. Most of these cultures reserved meat for use as a condiment and on special occasions. In fact, the longest living Blue Zoners actually didn’t consume any meat 
Additionally, a Journal of Nutrition review concerning whole grains found that:
“Protease inhibitors, phytic acid, phenolic acids, and saponins present in whole grain have also been suggested to lower the risk of certain cancers, such as colon cancer and breast cancer. Phytic acid, lectins, phenolic acids, amylase inhibitors, and saponins have also been shown to lower plasma glucose, insulin, and/or plasma cholesterol and TG levels” 
The fact is, most people who try to write off lectin containing foods, just because they contain lectins, while absolutely ignoring all of the positive research regarding the benefits of lectin-containing foods.
This concept is most eloquently stated by Dr. David Katz, founder of the True Health Initiative :
The idea that you should renounce many of the foods most decisively and consistently linked to good health outcomes because they contain a compound that can be called a toxin may be the most egregious example of missing the forest for the trees I’ve ever seen, and I’ve spent my career scrutinizing, and repudiating, just that variety of nonsense. For the sake of false promises dangling from one gilded tree, this is a case of burning the forest down. 
Phytates, another compound found in soy, have been labelled as a mineral-absorption inhibitor. These phytates can wind up supposedly causing mineral loss leading to calcium deficiency and weak bones.
The original concern about phytates on bone health actualy originated from experiments done on puppies in the 1940s. These studies were followed up by research done on rats where they were fed the equivalent of 10 loaves of bread a day.
However, actual human research suggests differently. Studies where people are put on high-phytate diets actually wound up with better bone density and stronger bones (heel, spine, hip). Phytates prevented bone dissolution similar to anti-osteoporosis drugs and women with high phytate levels in the blood had a much smaller risk of major bone fractures. 
Phytates for the Prevention of Osteoporosis by NutritionFacts.org
While high phytate diets may appear to be a cause for concern, the health-harming effects of this anti-nutrient
...can be manifested only when large quantities of [phytates] are consumed in combination with a [nutrient-poor] diet.
When phytates are consumed in the form of soy and whole plant foods, the result is less heart disease, diabetes, kidney stones, fractures, and possibly cancer. 
Phytates and Cancer by NutritionFacts.org
In addition to the Blue Zones study, which showed regular legume consumption as one of the pillars for the longest lived cultures , another study analyzed 785 partcipants aged 70 and over. Here were the results :
The FHILL longitudinal study shows that a higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival amongst the elderly, regardless of their ethnicity. The significance of legumes persisted even after controlling for age at enrolment (in 5-year intervals), gender, and smoking. Legumes have been associated with long-lived food cultures such as the Japanese (soy, tofu, natto, miso), the Swedes (brown beans, peas), and the Mediterranean people (lentils, chickpeas, white beans). 
When it comes to raw statistics, the study found that every 20g of legumes consumed daily resulted in an 8% reduction in risk of death.
Another major myth about soy is it’s alleged “estrogen-mimicking” chemicals, which some claim can result in breast cancer and other hormonal issues.
This is actually misinformation with no substantial evidence to support it. It's actually quite ironic because meat and dairy contain actual animal estrogens, not plant phytoestrogens.
The truth is that phytoestrogens act different than real estrogen, and can actually be pro-estrogenic in some parts of the body, but anti-estrogenic in others. Let us examine this further:
Phytoestrogens can have simultaneously pro-estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects because there are two types of estrogen receptors: alpha and beta.
Soy phytoestrogens, such as genistein, prefer to bind to beta estrogen receptors. Beta receptor activation in the breast has an anti-estrogenic effect, which actually inhibits the growth and cancer-promoting effects of animal estrogen, can be enhance endothial function in post-menopausal women, and protect against other menopausal symptoms. 
At the same time, soy phytoestrogens can be pro-estrogenic when it comes to protecting post-menopausal women from bone loss. A robust study was done comparing soy milk consumption to progesterone cream (a common hormone therapy for post-menapausal women), and a control group.
The control group lost significant bone mineral density in their spine over the two-year study period, the progesterone group lost significantly less, and the two glasses of soy milk a day group wound up preventing bone loss and increasing bone mass. 
Pro-estrogenic and Anti-estrogenic Properties of Soy by NutritionFacts.org
This misconception that soy can contribute to breast cancer came from research on rats, who metabolize soy isoflavones (phytoestrogens) quite differently from humans, as distinctly noted in the study itself. The circulating levels of geinstein in the blood in the rats that had an increase in tumor size were 58 times greater than human levels after 1 serving of soy. 
When soy consumption in humans is put to the test against breast cancer, it has been shown that soy intake during childhood, adolescence, and adult life were all associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer. Those women who ate the most soy in their youth appear to grow up to have less than half the risk. 
Breast cancer rates are much higher in the USA than in Asia, where there are some of the highest soy consumption rates. But, when Asians migrate to the US and start eating a western diet, their breast cancer rates increase to average American levels. 
Everyone has heard about how too much soy consumption can result in feminizing effects in males, but is this claim substantiated?
A common reasoning for this is, again, the potential estrogenic affects of isoflavones in soy. As discussed earlier, phytoestrogens are quite different than the estrogens found in meat, and phytoestrogens can have anti-estrogenic properties in some circumstances.
Studies have found soy consumption in rat’s ability to produce offspring, but as mentioned earlier, rodent metabolism of soy is completely different, making these studies useless. 
Many have heard of how consuming too much soy can cause gynecomastia (man boobs), but the only report of this was from men consuming extremely high doses of soy, 3 quarts of soymilk a day in one instance. The feminizing effects of this extraordinary soy habit were reversed once intake was reduced. 
Finally, the peer-reviewed Fertility & Sterility journal concluded that after reviewing the clinical trials regarding soy intake and feminization there was:
“Essentially no evidence from nine identified clinical studies that isoflavone exposure affects circulating estrogen levels in men.” 
While we’ve demonstrably proven that non-GMO soy is beneficial for our health and protective against disease, can too much soy be bad?
The answer is possibly yes. IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor 1, is a growth hormone responsible for turning children into full-grown adults. But if this hormone keeps circulating in the blood, your cells should continue to divide and grow. The more IGF-1 in the bloodstream, the higher our risk for cancer. Those on a plant based diet tend to have lower IGF-1 levels.
However, studies have shown that vegan men eating huge amounts of soy, 7 to 18 cups of soy milk worth per day, for an entire year, would up with similar levels of IGF-1 in the body as meat eaters.
How Much Soy is Too Much by NutritionFacts.org
To be as safe as possible, one shouldn’t consume more than 5 servings of soy a day. 
Much of the controversy around soy has been the result of misrepresentation.
GMO-Soy is certainly a problem and should be labelled properly so consumers can have freedom of choice. However, the overwhelming majority GMO-soy is fed to animals, and attempting to get meat from only grass-fed sources only poses a more unsustainable problem due to limited land resources.
The best choice for consuming soy is always organic or non-GMO.
Most of the hysteria regarding the negative health risks of soy are based on the potential dangers of certain compounds (such as lectins or phytates) in isolation, but when soy itself is studied on humans, it can be protective against bone loss, breast cancer, and overall mortality.
However, to air on the safe side, stick to no more than 5 servings daily.
Pancake mixes are a super easy way of getting the boring part of making pancakes out of the way, taking you one step closer to a delicious breakfast when you’re groggy in the morning. It’s easy to make pancake mixes at home – you just need to combine dry ingredients and store them in a jar – but store-bought mixes can up the ante with different flavors and a more professional outcome. There are two varieties of store-bought vegan pancake mix: ones that you just add water to, and ones to which you have to add other things like non-dairy milk, egg substitutes, and butter substitutes.
Because some of the brands on this list are accidentally vegan, the instructions will sometimes call on you to add milk and eggs to the mix. Don’t worry! Just replace them with your favorite vegan substitutes and you’re ready to go. For milks, this is pretty easy: get any sort of non-dairy milk, like almond, coconut, soy, rice, or hemp milks. For eggs, you can use eggs made from flaxseed, apple sauce, chia seeds, or your favorite commercial egg replacer.
We could only find one specifically vegan brand online that had a mix you just add water to: Suprisingly Vegan, with their Original Recipe Waffle Mix. Although this is a waffle mix, it can of course be used in the same way as a pancake mix.
For brands that aren’t complete (in other words, that you have to mix with other ingredients) there are a couple of specifically vegan options. Cherrybrook Kitchen’s Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix is a great pick and advertised as being free of any animal products.
When you’re out at the supermarket, it’s unlikely that you’re going to find a niche pancake mix brand that’s advertised vegan. Luckily, a number of popular brands offer accidentally vegan options, but you should be careful with these – these brands’ recipes change often, so a mix may become non-vegan without you being aware of it.
So if you’re out in stores, look out for these popular brands: Hungry Jack, Bob’s Red Mill, Bisquick, and Aunt Jemima. You can use the links below to check the store locators on their website and see if their products are near you.
Hungry Jack’s Complete Wheat Blends Pancake and Waffle Mix is vegan and just needs you to add water, and their website makes it look as if their Complete Chocolate Chip Pancake & Waffle Mix is vegan too!
Bob’s Red Mill offers the Gluten Free Pancake Mix, Pancake & Waffle Mix, and Organic 7-Grain Pancake & Waffle Whole Grain Mix for options that are accidentally vegan – to each of these you’ll need to add other ingredients, though - but making a flax egg is easy enough!
According to their website, Bisquick’s Original Pancake & Baking Mix is vegan, as are Aunt Jemima’s Original Pancake Mix and Whole Wheat Pancake Mix! These are probably the biggest brands in pancake mixes so they're most likely going to be at your local supermarket.
We actually also compiled a post on all of Bisquick's Vegan Products.
Many of these products have added minerals and vitamins that may not come from plant-based sources; you’ll need to contact the manufacturer to be sure. There’s a possibility that niacin, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid all come from non-plant-based sources.
However, given that these are all present in trace amounts and that there’s only a possibility that they’re non-vegan, we suggest that you don’t worry about them. It’s better not to sweat the small stuff – and it’s better to be 99.9% vegan than 0%! Just for your peace of mind, however, we didn’t include any products in this list that contain ingredients that are likely to be non-vegan – just those where there’s a slight possibility.
It’s very easy to make pancakes at home – so pancake mixes are also a breeze. Instead of completing the entire recipe in this video, just combine the dry ingredients and pour them into a jar. When the time comes for you to make pancakes, scoop some of your dry mix out, combine it with your wet ingredients, and you’re ready to go!
If you’re trying to eat more salads, don’t underestimate the impact that a vegan salad dressing can have on your meals. The main difference between a delicious restaurant salad and the ones you take to work is probably the dressing; it can make or break the entire thing!
Unfortunately, many people’s favorite salad dressings tend not to be vegan. We’re taking the stereotypical unhealthy dressings full of saturated fat and cholesterol: ranch, thousand island, and other thick mayo-based dressings. These tend to have eggs in them and sometimes milk or anchovies. Vinaigrettes and the lighter dressings tend to be vegan, which makes things easy; you don’t need to seek out specifically-vegan brands for these types of dressings.
Luckily, when you have an unquenchable desire for ranch, you can find a bunch of vegan options both online and in stores to satisfy that need.
Don't worry if you don't feel like scouring the supermarket aisles to find a decent vegan salad dressing or don't have the time to make your own. There are many options available online for those with a limited local selection. We've compiled a list below of the best vegan dressings that are readily available on Amazon.
When it comes to recreating cheese flavors, Daiya always hits home runs. Their shredded "cheeses" are staples in a lot of vegan households and their dressings are no different. Expect a creamy, delicious experience comparable to the "real" thing.
Although vegan and delicious, these dressings are more of a processed food than a compilation of whole foods. Not a problem if you're having a bit of dressing and a whole bunch of salad, though!
Made with a lot of whole food ingredients, although it does have some oil. This brand is one of the closest you'll get to a whole foods plant based dressing without making your own from scratch.
Not really any bad things to say! Although nuts and seeds are the best fat option for salads compared to oils.
Simple Girl is another brand that focuses on super light and low calorie salad dressings. They don’t contain any oil and are sweetened with Stevia, but are still packed with flavor. These are a great selection if you’re trying to reduce your calories or are on a specialized diet that restricts fats and oils.
If you are really trying to limit calories, sugar, or oil this dressing is going to be a lifesaver! The brand makes a lot of great flavors so there are many opportunities to find one you like.
Much like Daiya, these dressings are going to be the most comparable to their original flavors. Being that this brand specializes in vegan condiments and dressings, you know their research and development is going to be on point. Expect a delicious dressing!
Mostly made with processed foods much like the others, but again not a huge deal if you're using a little to eat a bunch of greens!
Just, the brand formerly known as Hampton Creek, has four dressings on Amazon: Ranch, Sweet Mustard, Truffle Mayo, and Caesar. This product selection may differ from those found on their website and those that you’ll find in store, because many were switched around and replaced when the brand changed its name and packaging.
Flavor and texture of these dressings are top notch. Expect them to exceed your expectations and please even your non-vegan friends!
Lots of fat from oil much like the others. Something to be enjoyed sparingly as a tool to eat more greens (if you're health conscious). If you're not - then eat up!
Known best for their vegetarian products, Annie’s has a selection of Vegan salad dressings as well. Not all of them are vegan though – some do have animal products such as milk or eggs. Their Annie's Natural Lemon and Chive is a vegan favorite, though!
This brands tends to have lots of great options to choose from.
The brand seems to be more "vegetarian" focused so be sure to double check any labels to make sure there's no dairy or eggs in it.
Primal Kitchen isn’t a specifically vegan brand, but they did have one vegan dressing. They have one vegan dressings that we could find is their Avocado Oil Greek Dressing.
We couldn't find another Greek dressing that was vegan and vegan Greek salads are awesome!
The brand isn't vegan focused so ingredients may change down the line. Be sure to double check!
It’s not very hard to find vegan salad dressings in-store; many are accidentally vegan, as in they don’t contain animal-derived ingredients even if they don’t explicitly list that they’re vegan. However, this varies greatly by the dressing type.
Most Italian dressings, some tomato-based dressings and most vinaigrette dressings are already vegan; just double-check the ingredients, but they rarely contain ingredients that make them non-vegan. Be on the look out for eggs, milk, anchovies and bacon which can easily sneak their way into salad dressings.
Because so many non-creamy dressings are vegan, it didn’t seem worthwhile to list them here. Instead, we rounded up the vegan alternatives for creamy dressings. All of the links below go right to the company's store locator, so check them out and see if you can find them locally!
Follow Your Heart has a massive list of salad dressings that you should be able to find in store, including a range of creamy ones. See if they're available near you!
Just, which makes Just Mayo, does Ranch, Caesar, Chipotle Ranch, Thousand, and Sweet Mustard creamy salad dressings is available across a lot of the nation. They also make cookies and even cookie dough!
Annie’s creamier vegan dressings include their Goddess Dressing, Organic Goddess Dressing, Organic Papaya Poppy Seed Dressing, Organic French Dressing, and Woodstock Dressing. They also have a bunch of other options of the non-creamy variety.
And OrganicVille has the Non Dairy Coleslaw Dressing and Non Dairy Thousand Island Dressing. Although not really super creamy, their Miso Ginger dressing is also quite delicious!
There are a couple of other brands that don’t specifically identify as vegan or vegetarian, but have created creamy vegan dressings accidentally. When you pick up these products, be sure to check the ingredients every time – they can easily change, and since it’s not listed as vegan they won’t need to alert you.
Brianna’s has a Rich Poppy Seed Dressing, which is one of its most popular and also vegan.
Walden Farms’ whole range except for Zesty Italian, Italian, Asian, and Honey Dijon dressings are vegan, including a wide range of creamy dressings. This is one of the more impressive ranges, in our opinion – there’s so much to choose from!
Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing developed a cult following after people realized it was accidentally vegan, but we’re unsure as to whether it still is – or whether it’s still available at all. Keep a look out.
Vegan salad dressings are pretty easy to make; you usually just have to combine your ingredients and shake. If you want to make some creamy ones, you might need to find a good blender which we talk about in our Kitchen Appliances section. Making your own is going to be the most economical option. We've compiled some of the best recipes we could find so that you can make something to please any crowd!
To recreate some of the flavors it helps to have these ingredients on hand. We always have them in our households as they are staples in a lot of vegan cooking. Buying in bulk helps us save a few bucks compared to going to the store and buying them in smaller packages.
Use any of the links to check them out on Amazon!
This video (embedded above) shows you how to make three different salad dressings: a balsamic vinaigrette, citrus ginger dressing, and a creamy bacon ranch. Hot For Food is a great website and YouTube channel to follow if you’re new to veganism, because their recipes are both delicious and really easy.
This Vegan Caesar Salad, with dressing of course, by Oh She Glows is a great one to have in your recipe arsenal. The dressing isn't only good for salads, you can use it for dipping celery, carrots, or anything else you can imagine. We like to use vegan caesar dressing on sandwiches and wraps!
If you didn't feel like watching the video above for the Vegan Creamy Bacon Ranch recipe, don't worry. This vegan ranch dressing by Eat Within Your Means is delicious and easy to follow with only a few ingredients. You'll never want the "real" thing again!
French dressing traditionally is ketchup mixed with mayo (not vegan), but that doesn't mean that's the best way to make it. This recipe by Happy Cow shows how you can make it with just a few ingredients, including tahini (which we linked above). You can likely replace the tomatoes with ketchup if you were in a pinch, but fresh flavors are always best!
A very common inquiry people have is whether a salad dressing is healthy just because it doesn't contain any animal products. The answer is of course no. Determining the "healthfulness" of a food comes down to a few factors, but the main one being whether or not it is a plant-based whole food. If it is a plant-based whole food the second question to ask is are you eating it as a part of a reasonably balanced whole-food plant based diet?
Although a bit lengthy, we highly recommend the above video by Dr. Fuhrman on this subject. While not specifically about salad dressings, Dr. Fuhrman gives you the base knowledge you need to determine if a food is healthy on your own! When it comes to feeding you and your family, knowledge is your most powerful tool.
Making a salad dressing from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, etc. is going to be a huge step above making one out of oil. The reasoning behind this is simple: whole plant foods are the richest source of phytochemicals and antioxidants which are crucial for disease prevention. Processed foods and animal foods simply can't measure up in these categories and also come with baggage such as saturated fat and cholesterol.
If you've been confused about saturated fat and cholesterol, we highly recommend you check out this press release from the American Heart Association.
You can learn more about phytochemicals and nutrient density here or in the video above.
If you've watched the presentation above, you'll have learned that a majority of Westernized people (specifically Americans) get most of their calories from processed food and animal products. This means that there's very little caloric room in the diet for disease preventing foods. Check out Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen app if you want to ensure you're getting a good range of health promoting foods in your daily diet.
If you're eating 100 calories of vegan salad dressing (even if it isn't whole foods based) and the rest of your diet is a variety of whole plant foods - it's not such a bad thing! Trouble presents itself when you have 500 calories of processed dressing and hardly any whole greens, nuts, seeds, beans, etc!
Unless a salad dressing is specifically designed to be vegan, there is a chance that any added sugar could have involved bone char in the processing of it. However, we (and many other vegan organizations) hold the position that vegans (especially new ones) should not worry about added sugar or other dubious trace ingredients. Focusing on avoiding all specifically labeled animal products is going to have the biggest amount of harm reduction to animals.
Without the direct demand for animal products, using bone char for commercial processes would likely phase out anyway since the cost for it would increase. To learn more, read our full position on vegan sugar.
ANSWER: Yes. The purpose of veganism is to cause the least amount of suffering as possible or practicable with your food choices. Animal crackers aren't real animals of course, nor do the original ones by Stauffer's contain any direct animal ingredients such as milk or eggs. However, there are a few things to be aware of when it comes to confectionery and baked products including animal crackers. Full details below!
In the chart above, we've listed the most popular vegan brands of animal crackers. Beware of other brands with frosting and double check if they have any milk, eggs, gelatin, or any other animal products. We've separated the organic from the conventional animal crackers as some more experienced vegans may choose to avoid conventional sugar. More on sugar in the final section.
Animal crackers are a bit of a cross between a cracker and a cookie. They are a slightly sweet, but with the texture of a cracker. As the name implies, they are shaped like animals such as horses, giraffes, bears, etc. The Original Animal Crackers by Stauffer's actually contain 13 different shapes according to their website.
Here's the Stauffer's Animal Cracker's ingredient statement (please note that other smaller brands might be different):
ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, BAKING SODA (LEAVENING), SOY LECITHIN (AN EMULSIFIER), NATURAL FLAVOR, SPICE.
As you can see they are mainly comprised of flour, sugar, and oil. There's no milk, eggs, or anything that can be stated with 100% certainty that it was animal derived. You don't have to feel guilty about eating them, especially if you're new to veganism. Sugar is a controversial ingredient within veganism and there's a chance that if the sugar isn't organic that animal products were involved in the processing of it.
Conventional sugar is sometimes processed with animal bone char, but it is not something that you should put too much thought into, especially if you are having trouble eliminating all labeled animal products from your diet. Veganism is about maximum harm reduction and if you're in the transition phase, you don't want to make things even more confusing.
For the full scoop on sugar, check out this article.
ANSWER: Like many sugar-based candies, the small version of Laffy Taffy doesn't contain any blatantly labeled animal products which means that it would be considered Vegan. The big version of Laffy Taffy does however have eggs, making it not vegan. There are a few ingredients (including sugar) in the small version which could potentially involve animal products which we discuss below. However, we don't recommend stressing about trace ingredients.
In the chart above, we've compiled the most popular vegan taffy candies we could find online. Many of the smaller taffy brands had egg or milk in them, but the big brands above did not. Please note that different larger versions of any of these given candies may not be vegan (besides Mambas which we found to be all vegan).
Here's the most up to date Laffy Taffy ingredients we could find:
Corn Syrup, Sugar, Palm Oil and Less Than 2% of Mono- and Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Malic Acid, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavors, blue #1, red #40, yellow #5. Contains Soy Ingredients.
Laffy Taffy is primarily Corn Syrup and Sugar. Conventional (meaning non-organic) sugar has the capacity to be filtered with animal ingredients such as bone char. Laffy Taffy is a huge brand who most likely sources sugar from different places. This means that tracking whether or not any animal derived products (filtering materials in this case) were involved in the making of one specific candy would be nearly impossible.
The same applies to any natural colors and flavors in Laffy Taffy. Tracking their origins, especially given the different types of the candy out there would be difficult, but we believe that the same principle applies.
We've fully detailed our position on sugar being vegan in this post.
The definition of veganism according to the Vegan Society is as follows:
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
The keywords in this definition is possible and practicable. While this is not an excuse to go out and eat products blatantly made from animals, veganism isn't something to be overthought, especially for someone that's new to it. Veganism is grounded in maximum harm reduction simply because 100% harm reduction is impossible.
While one doesn't necessarily need to eat Laffy Taffy in order to survive, it is not constructive for a new vegan to over think ingredient statements that aren't blatantly labeled with animals, especially if it makes veganism too complicated for them. A more experienced vegan may opt to give up questionable products as a matter of principle, but the harm reduction to animals isn't going to be anything of impact.
When it comes to sugary candy including Laffy Taffy, we've boiled it down to one rule of thumb. Check the label for any animal ingredients (including gelatin) that are clearly labeled. If they aren't, you can consider it 99.9% vegan. As you become more experienced on plant-based eating, you may want to consider avoiding anything questionable, but that's your choice.
Finally, because candies don't really contain any nutritional value, we recommend sticking as close to whole foods plant based as possible!
ANSWER: Yes, but with a few caveats. We found many different formulations of sprinkles during our research, so ingredient lists per brand may vary. Sprinkles containing "confectioners glaze" have the potential to contain insects, so that is an ingredient to be wary of. There's more you might want to know about sprinkles and veganism though - and we've compiled that below!
If you want to be 100% sure that you're getting the sprinkles that caused the least amount of suffering possible, getting organic sprinkles is a great choice. This is because organic sugar isn't processed the same way as conventional and doesn't have the potential to have animal products anywhere in the supply chain. A brand we recommend is Let's Do Organic.
Sprinkles are little candies, usually all black or rainbow, that are used on top of cookies and desserts. They're mainly for decoration, texture, and sweetness and wouldn't really be ideal to eat all on your own. They're pretty much 100% nutritionally void, being primary composed of sugar and oil. All this aside, sprinkles are adored by many people across the world and are almost a symbol of celebration - certainly a fun food!
There are a few things that you should be on the look out for when it comes to sprinkles and a few other details to be aware of. Some red flag ingredients to keep an eye out for going to be:
Gelatin is made directly from the connective tissue and tendons of pigs.
Confectioners sugar, oddly enough, is usually made from beetle juice and a resin made from Lac insect excretions.
The sugar, coloring, and flavors in sprinkles have the potential to have animal products somewhere in the production process, but we don't recommend that you get caught up on it. Tracing the origins of all these products in a given sprinkle brand would be extremely difficult and the reduction on suffering for animals wouldn't account for much. This is why many vegan experts recommend not focusing on trace ingredients.
Our article on sugar goes more in-depth into this topic of sugar and trace ingredients should you be interest.
If you have the option of buying vegan sprinkles than we're obviously going to recommend that you do so. However, if one of your relatives made vegan cupcakes especially for you and may have used non-vegan sprinkles by accident, declining to eat them because they aren't vegan may do more harm than good for the animals.
Doing this will make veganism seem complex and not easy to follow. In this example, the person went out of their way to make something vegan and shooting them down in this fashion may discourage them from trying it in the future.
If you're a vegan do your best to avoid sprinkles with confectioners glaze and other animal products such as gelatin. Don't stress too much about other dubious trace ingredients like sugar, colors, and flavors, but simply do the best you can. Veganism isn't about perfection and you're better off being 99% vegan than 0%.
ANSWER: Worcestershire sauce, in its original form, is not vegan because it contains anchovies or anchovy paste.
Worcestershire sauce has a complex flavor profile and lots of different ingredients. The good news is that there are plenty of vegan versions that taste just like the real thing, and it is super easy to make your own if you're so inclined.
There are two main Worcestershire sauces that we recommend for Vegans which we've listed below. They taste pretty much exactly the same, and since anchovies are usually a small part of a recipe, you're unlikely to notice any difference!
Click any of the links above to check our customer reviews on Amazon!
Worcestershire sauce is typically made with several distinct tasting ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, cloves, and garlic. This mixture then undergoes an aging process to deep the flavors. The sauce was created by two chemists from Worcester which is how it got its name.The names of these chemists were John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins. If those names look familiar it is because they created the company Lea & Perrin's which is one of the best known and best selling Worcestershire sauces on the market.
We've taken the ingredients from the original Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce and displayed it below. It's not simply about the ingredients in this sauce, but the aging of the ingredients which allows the flavors to develop.
Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Water, Salt, Onions, Anchovies, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract
As you can see, anchovies are a staple in one of the biggest brand out there.
The Wizard's makes an organic and delicious Worcestershire sauce that is definitely worth trying. Annie's is another brand that makes pretty much the same thing. Either or are going to be great choices for replacing non-veg worcestershire sauce. We've linked to them above so be sure to check them out!
Here's the ingredient statement for Annie's:
Water, *Apple Cider Vinegar, *Molasses, *Soy Sauce (Water, *Soybean, Salt, *Wheat, *Alcohol), *Cane Sugar, *Tamarind, Sea Salt, *Cornstarch, Xanthan Gum, *Garlic, *Onion, *Clove, *Chili Pepper. *Organic Ingredients.
Although a bit of a lengthy process, you can certainly make your own at home! Remember, the flavor comes from aging so instant gratification isn't going to be possible.
If you've got an immediate hankering, your best bet would be to purchase a pre-made sauce while you wait for your homemade batch to age. Just our two cents! Enjoy!
ANSWER: Some Bisquick products are indeed Vegan, however there are variations of it that definitely aren't. For example, they have a Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix which contains both milk and eggs placing it in the non-vegan category.
Also, given that the instructions may call for eggs or milk, you'll have to make some easy vegan substitutes when using Bisquick. We've compiled the vegan products and the non-vegan products below!
Given that there are many forms of Bisquick on the market we've made a convenient list of vegan and non-vegan Bisquicks based on the information from their website. Because ingredient statements change, we recommend checking their ingredient statements for milk and eggs just to make sure.
*Use any of the links above to read customer reviews and check prices on Amazon.
All of the non-vegan products contain either eggs, milk, and/or honey. Here's an example of what a vegan ingredient statement of Bisquick looks like compared to a non-vegan one.
Vegan Ingredient Statement (original Bisquick)
Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Dextrose, Salt.
Non-Vegan Ingredient Statement (Buttermilk Shake and Pour)
Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Sugar, Leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, calcium acid pyrophosphate), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Defatted Soy Flour, Dried Egg Whites, Dextrose, Tricalcium Phosphate, Buttermilk , Salt, Soy Lecithin.
Milk: Milk should be an easier replacement given that there are plenty of plant based milks on the market. Given that soy milk has the highest protein content (most similar to dairy milk) it is the go-to replacement. However, almond and coconut milk will also work great for pancakes.
Eggs: While there are many egg replacers on the market that will work, making a flax egg is going to be the cheapest option. To make 1 flax egg, simply combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, mix thoroughly, and let is rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. You'll also get other benefits from using a flax egg in your pancakes, including more fiber!
When it comes to a non-whole food with many minor ingredients, it is nearly impossible to trace whether some of them may be animal derived such as Folic Acid. That being said, they are such low percentage the harm to animals from consuming them in these products is virtually nil. If you're transitioning to veganism, we highly recommend to not overthink these things - just avoid foods blatantly labeled with animal products.
ANSWER: Yes! Sriracha sauce is typically going to be vegan. Most chili pastes in any sort of Asian cuisine are a combination of chili peppers, sugar, vinegar and spices. There are a few things you might want to know about Srirachi's vegan status, though so read on!
Sriracha sauce, mainly recognized as the stuff with the rooster on it is a spicy and semi-sweet chili-pepper based sauce that originated in Thailand. It got its name because it was first spotted in restaurants in a Taiwanese city named Si Racha. With its growing popularity, many people in the West are replacing ketchup with Sriracha sauce on foods that you would never expect.
Taste wise, all brands of Sriracha are going to be pretty similar, so there's none that you can really go wrong with. All organic brands will give you the opportunity to avoid preservatives and you'll know for sure that the sugar wasn't processed with any animal products*. Here's what we recommend, though:
The most well known brand of Sriracha by Hoy Fong has the following ingredient statement:
Ingredients: Chili, Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Distilled Vinegar, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bisulfite as Preservatives, and Xanthan Gum.
There are also organic Sriracha brands out there with much cleaner ingredient statements and no preservatives. A typical ingredient statement usually looks something like this:
Ingredients: Organic red jalapeno pepper puree, water, organic red bell pepper puree, organic sugar, organic white vinegar, organic garlic puree, salt, organic garlic, powdered organic habanero peppers, xanthan gum.
It's true that some sugar in the supply chain isn't 100% vegan due to the processing methods. However, given the complexity of the food supply, we don't recommend worrying about this for products with added sugar, like Sriracha sauce. If you want to be 100% safe you can go with an Organic Sriracha, but it is your choice.
Being vegan shouldn't be burdensome or complex - so stressing over dubious or trace ingredients can be counterproductive. See our full position on sugar here.
Sriracha gives you the opportunity to add unique and complex flavors to veggies which is always a good thing. From noodle dishes, to burgers, or for straight up dipping any veggies, sriracha is awesome! Check out some of our favorites below: