When I became a vegetarian over 10 years ago, my options for protein were limited to a few brands of veggie burgers, beans and tofu. Luckily, over the past few years, the vegan food section of my local grocery store has been expanding like crazy. I get so excited every time I see a new vegan product to try! All these additional protein options make going plant based easier than ever! 

At first the idea of ‘fake meat’ might be a little bit scary, but generally these products are all made from some sort of soy protein like tofu and tempeh or gluten like seitan. When picking a new product I like to check that it has a decent amount of protein and doesn’t have too much sodium. Other than that, everything is fair game!

The best part about this list is you can find them all easily. No need to go to a specialty store or pay extra to have them shipped.

  1. Field Roast Vegan Sausages

These are my absolute favorite meat substitutes right now. I’m incredibly busy with work and school and I can saute these with some veggies or throw them in with pasta and have dinner in less than 15 minutes. There are also a bunch of different flavors so they don’t get old. My current favorite flavor is smoked apple and sage and I usually cook it with peppers and mushrooms.

  1. Tofurkey Vegan Deli Slices 

The best version of these is ‘Hickory Smoked.’ When I decided to go vegetarian one thing I missed right away was coldcut sandwiches. They were such a staple of my school lunches growing up and veggie sandwiches were never quite enough to sate my cravings. Every once in a while I make sandwiches out of these, spinach, vegan cheese and vegan mayo (on homemade bread) and they’re fantastic!

  1. Chao, Violife or Follow your Heart brand vegan cheeses 

Vegan cheese can be off putting because there are a lot of bad versions of it out there. Sometimes it tastes like cardboard or straight mustard but I’ve found some good alternatives through trial and error. Chao original just tastes creamy and is perfect on a sandwich. For an attempt at vegan grilled cheese or quesadillas I like Violife or Follow Your Heart. They both try to mimic cheese flavors and do a pretty good job. Just stick to white cheeses – cheddar and american are just too hard to mimic and I have yet to find a good alternative. Also sliced tends to be better than shredded cheese.

  1. Vegenaise 

The final component of a bomb vegan sandwich is Veganaise! Personally I’m willing to eat regular mayonnaise if it’s homemade and I know where the eggs came from but sometimes that’s just too much of a hassle. Follow Your Heart makes a pretty good vegan mayonnaise with avocado oil. It works really well with anything cold but if you’re using it in anything warm it gets oily really quickly.

  1. Trader Joe’s Protein packed tofu 

This is my favorite tofu option. It comes extra firm so you don’t need to press or freeze it to use it in stir fries and other dishes and the extra protein makes you feel really full. My favorite way to cook it is pan fried with sesame oil and soy sauce.

  1. Trader Joe’s Vegan Tikka Masala
Trader Joe's Chicken Tikka Masala Review – Freezer Meal Frenzy

This is a great microwavable vegan option! I kept hearing about it on Trader Joe’s blogs and from friends but I didn’t fully believe it. It comes with rice and only takes a few minutes to cook. When I’m tempted to order Indian food for takeout but can’t afford it I just grab one of these out of my freezer!

  1. Soy crumbles

Most brands of these are actually pretty good because you can cook them into different sauces and foods for extra protein. Last summer I made stuffed peppers with Beyond meat brand soy crumbles and vegan cheese. My meat eating family members liked the vegan version better than they like regular stuffed peppers. 

  1. Morning Star Veggie Burgers 

I’ve been eating Morning Star veggie burgers for at least 10 years. I’ve tried all the different versions and can definitively say my favorite is Garden Veggie. They have all different versions from Mediterranean Chickpea to ‘chicken.’’ They can be made quickly and easily and I usually make them with a side of veggies. They were one of my original go to plant based options 

  1. Earth Balance Butter
sliced bread on white ceramic plate

I honestly think this tastes better than regular butter and it’s healthier! I use the olive oil version on toast, in baking and cooking. When a product like this exists there’s no reason to use real butter.

  1. Eating out? Dunkin’ Beyond Sausage.

This isn’t healthy but it’s so filling. It’s my special treat breakfast option if I know it’s gonna be a long day!

Bonus!: If you are going to eat eggs look for the certified humane label on the packaging or buy them at a farmer’s market. This label means an independent organization has certified that the chickens who laid these eggs are kept in conditions that are good for them and for the environment.

Try implementing these options into your diet slowly! Do meatless monday or eat plant based for two out of three meals a day. You don’t have to stop eating meat right away but I guarantee with some of these options once you go plant based you won’t go back!