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the best vegetarian food "products"

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  • fara Aug 25, 2007 08:11 PM
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What are the best vegetarian/vegan brands and products? I'm looking for things that taste good, not necessarily like something non-vegan, as someone pointed out in another thread- something that tastes good in its own right.
The point of these products would be convenience. I've recently lost the taste for meat (not cheese or eggs though) and I would like to know which products - frozen meals, hot dogs, chicken, are good when I don't have time or don't feel like cooking. Thanks!

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  1. I like a lot of Amy's brand products, both the frozen stuff and the canned stews and soups.

    Also, Bob's Red Mill.

    Love Zen Bakery products, especially the muffins (Apple Bran and Peach Bran--no cranberries) and the cinnamon rolls.

    I know you don't want meat subs, but Boca Burgers don't taste like meat, but do taste good IMO.

    I'm also currently on a major kelp noodle kick. http://www.kelpnoodles.com Stirfry em with

    Van's Waffles--breakfast for dinner when ya feel lazy or Mintz's Blintzes

    I like a lot of the Morningstar Farms products... the pizza burger, the corn dogs, veggie bites (broccoli cheddar and mushroom mozzarella).

    Yves Chili, Lasagna, and Mac'n'Cheese.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      Yves Hot Dogs are my favs as well as Morningstar Bacon strips (Trader Joes has it for best price). Crumbled into scrambled eggs or as part of a FBLT.
      Yves also makes a good ground beef substitute. I make chile with it. I have not found a good meatless chicken yet... Trader Joes has really good veggie meatballs.
      Celentano makes a good frozen stuffed shells with broccoli. The eggplant parmesan is really good but has too many fat grams for me to maintain denial long enough to buy it and eat it...
      There is a brand of vacuum packed Indian foods that I like. Forgot the name-comes in cardboard box roughly the size of a DVD case. The channa masala is great and I like the dal. I usually eat it as a soup. Can be found at Trader Joes too.
      I eat black beans and rice a couple of times a month. I use vegetable stock in the rice instead of water. I sautee garlic and then toast the rice before adding the stock. Really satisfying and takes no time to cook. \
      Hope this helps...

      1. re: Emme

        ick, i will be a dissenter on the van's waffles. they are so ick, i think. boo to frozen waffles in general, i suppose. but van's are even worse than the typical grocery store brands. waste of calories.

        the meals in the box, are they tastybite? i enjoy those a lot. great veg options.

        1. re: tinymango

          I tried the Van's gluten free/vegan (or whatever they were) blueberry waffles and thought they were amazing. Then I accidentally bought normal wheat/non-vegan Van's waffle's and they were awful. Go figure.

        2. re: Emme

          Morningstar Farms proucts are delicious, but they're also packed with all of the additives, preservatives and icky chemicals of major processed food. They're a subsidiary of Kellogs, no? At any rate, if you're expecting the feel good, back to the land approach, avoid MSF like the devil. Or keep 'em as a treat, anyway.

          1. re: GilloD

            Well...that's why they taste good, GilloD! Morningstar Farms' hot dogs are they only ones I bother with. Grilled and smothered with all the usual toppings and stuffed in a grilled bun, they're HOT DOGS. They're just not floor sweepings, pig parts, flies & eyeballs, so they work for this pesca-vegetarian.

            The way I see it, pretty much any packaged food has some degree of 'icky' in it. And 'icky' is OK in moderation.

        3. I like Morningstar Farms Grillers (burger substitutes). They make a great sandwich with whole grain toast, mayo, mustard, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, purple onions and romaine. Since you eat cheese and eggs, omelets would be an option.

          Trader Joe's is a good source of ingredients for quick and easy meals. The yellow or green curry sauces work well with baked tofu and frozen veggies for a quick tasty stir fry. TJs also carries veggie Indian foods that are ready to heat and serve (beware, they are spicey). Veggie chili and "Smart Dogs" over toast with some melted cheese is a quick meal.

          Many of these prepared foods are full of preservatives, fat and salt, so, of course, its healthier to take the time to plan and prepare from scratch. But if I don't have the time, this is usually what I eat.

          Good luck!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Samsaunt

            The products "field Roast" makes are amazing. They do a main entree called the celebration roast and their vegan sausage things are fantastic. Flavor, texture, ingredients - they do it right.

            1. re: meatn3

              second the rec for field roast, although depending on where you live the products can be impossible to find.

              i'm also a big fan of quorn.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                http://www.fieldroast.com/wheretobuy.htm

                1. re: meatn3

                  the only problem with this link is that it lists every store to which ANY field roast product has been distributed at some time.

                  for example, the san diego & some los angeles whole foods stores only carry the 'stuffed celebration field roast,' and even that's only available as a special item during the holidays/thanksgiving.

                  one or two whole foods locations also offer a 'smoked tomato field roast' salad as an occasional prepared foods item, and it's made with the smoked tomato flavor field roast crumbles [i.e. veggie ground round] which are great. unfortunately, whole foods frequently has a tendency to drown their salads in mayonnaise-based dressings, and this one is no exception. so i spoke to the managers at these locations and asked if i could purchase some of the plain crumbles from them. you'd think i was asking them to hand over their first-born children! what a production. in the end they relented, but insisted on charging me a king's ransom for it - i had to pay the prepared salad price [per pound] instead of just what the single ingredient would cost. ridiculous.

                  oh, and if you want them to special-order it for you, they require you to commit to buying the entire case.

                  not gonna happen, my friend.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I have not had that problem in the south-east. Have used the site 1/2 dozen times when I've been in new areas & had good luck. This posting got me in the mood so I went to WF (new city for me) they had 2 varieties sausage & celebration roast. Was in a hurry so didn't inquire about special orders. I need to find out - this stuff is really good!

          2. I like Tofurkey's products particularly the beer brats and the hickory smoked turkey slices. Tofurkey doesn't use gmo soy or soy protein isolate which I also appreciate.

            For "cheese" I prefer Vegan Gourmet's Monterey Jack taste wise and VeganRella's Mozerella for its texture. A mix of the two works awesome for pizza/calzones.

            Trader Joes is a great resource for frozen meals/prepared meals although I tend to prepare everything I eat from scratch. Some products I do use however are their meatless meatballs, jalepeno hummus, and occasionally their rustico marinara sauce. The vegetable gyozas are above average as well.

            1. Other posters recommend TJ's, as do I, but don't neglect ethnic markets. Indian markets in particular have a lot of chickpea and lentil preparations, including frozen dinners, that I like to have on hand.

              Also, my favorite non-meat sandwich is a felafel. Middle Eastern markets sometimes carry frozen ones, but you can always find the box mix which is easy and tastes good. The brand I buy is "Fantastic", which I see in regular grocery stores as well as Whole Foods and health food type stores.

              TJ's management, if you're reading--how about frozen felafel at your stores??

              2 Replies
              1. re: coney with everything

                TJ used to carry frozen falafel that came in a tray. It was great, and then one day it disappeared.

                1. re: marmite

                  We don't have TJ's here but my local health food store carries the frozen falafel in a tray. Brand is Olive Valley. They are really delicious...much better than the powdered mixes...but also very expensive.

              2. In general Morningstar products are reliable.

                I like Smart Dogs by Lightlife, especially the "deli style" which stay firmer. Lightlife also makes a good ground "sausage" product.

                There is also an excellent "chorizo"-style sausage, packaged in a long tube, (but I can't recall brand name) which is great mixed in omelets, etc.

                9 Replies
                1. re: HDinCentralME

                  I was going through each post to see if anyone had tried the "chorizo"-style sausage, and BINGO! You were the one!

                  Soyrizo is the product that you're talking about. I'm in LA where chorizo is so common that it can be found in the meat department of just about any supermarket. Local taquerias serve it up as one of the regular meat options for tacos, burritos, sopes, etc. As delicious as this Mexican staple is, it can be quite salty, inpale deep jabs on one's cholesterol levels, and is full of pig parts that one wouldn't want to think about eating otherwise.

                  When this product first hit the store shelves (I'm guessing about) 10 years ago, I was very reluctant about it viability to replace its much revered original. We picked up a pack and took it home, cooked it up according to instructions, mixed in some cheese and eggs, sat down and dug in. I have to say that although it wasn't like the real thing, it wasn't like the real thing in a good way. Not as salty, no cholesterol, and no unmentionable parts. The texture is similar - not the same - but the flavor is outstanding and if you use it more as a seasoning, it is perfect. Like most dishes I've tried in Mexican cuisine, it is used in this way - to eat it as a sausage like a brat or chicken w/ apple, this would be tastebud overload.

                  The once guilty pleasure that I would only dare eat once every few monthes can now be enjoyed much more often!

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    Where in LA can I find Soyrizo?

                    1. re: Densible

                      It can be amazingly easy to find in some parts of towns or stores, or completely nonexistant in others.

                      Trader Joe's used to offer it - that's where we first got it but they don't carry it anymore. I've picked it up at Ralph's, Gelson's, some Von's, and some Latino markets as well.

                      Depending on the store, it can be in the meat section by the other sausages, or in the vegetarian section with the meat substitutes if the store has such a section. I've even seen it in the produce section on the cold racks with some of the other specialty items as well.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        Thanks-I was just in Von's and looked for it in vege section. No luck. I will keep looking though and am sure I'll find it.

                        1. re: Densible

                          I have found Soyrizo at Whole Foods in the refrigerated section with tofu and other soy products. Not quite the experience of real chorizo but also no guilt. Suggest scrambling into eggs and serving with a nice green salsa and warm flour tortillas. Enjoy!

                          1. re: blueberrygirl

                            I like adding cheese and some jalepenos as well - just about any cheese that you like will work. Of course the "guiltless" factor starts to fall back some but it is well worth it...

                    2. re: bulavinaka

                      I tried Soyrizo once and only once. It looked so much like poo when I squeezed it out of the plastic tube it comes in, that I pretty much lost my appetite. I did try frying it up, but it just sat there in the pan and never got firm or anything. Was I doing something wrong?

                      1. re: AmyH

                        I think you've been sharing notes with my son - he said it looked like poo as well... To get it "cooked," spread it out in the skillet as much as possible, let it brown a bit, then flip it or stir it and repeat the process until a fair amount of moisture cooks off and the "poo" starts to gain some more browning and becomes less like mud and more in the direction of sauteed chorizo. The consistancy and texture is up to you since you don't have to cook it through - it's not meat.

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          Thank you for the advice. Maybe I'll give it another try. The suggestion to scramble eggs with it, along with cheese and jalapenos, sounds tasty.

                  2. I like Smart Dogs too (and our local bar serves them - even better!). I am also a big fan of quorn products. The "naked cutlets" are okay but the breaded cutlets are good and the cutlets with the breading and stuffed with cheese (don't remember what they call these) are *really* good. I also like Fakin' Bacon -- not as a substitute for bacon but to use, say, for a Reuben sandwich -- it has more of a corned beef-y type texture to me.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: LNG212

                      The Quorn naked cutlets are excellent when marinated with Goya Mojo marinade and then grilled. My vegetarian daughter also loves their gruyere stuffed cutlets.

                      1. re: AmyH

                        oooh, I'll have to try marinating. Never thought of that. Sadly, no grill -- I live in Manhattan. But stove-top grill pan would be worth a shot. I would like to try a way to enjoy the Naked Cutlets more since they are so much lower in calories and all than the breaded cutlets.

                        1. re: LNG212

                          You could also try broiling them. I dont' have a grill pan so I can't speak to whether or not that would work. I suspect it probably would come out fine.

                          1. re: LNG212

                            the Naked cutlets are excellent with Napa Valley Harvest Honey Truffle Mustard. It's about $5 a jar at Whole Foods, but a little goes a long way (and it's great when you're trying to sauce something without adding too many calories.)

                      2. For frozen, Amy's meals and Dr. Praeger's burgers

                        1. As long as you don't look at the nutrition information, Boca's rising crust pepperoni pizza is good enough to be addicting.

                          1. Morningstar Farms uses GMO's. If you are going so far as to seek out vegan fare, this might be of importance as well. I like the Amy's products, although I'd like to see less salt used in them. Alexia's is also a good choice. They make good fries, mashed potatoes and onion rings. Pretty low in salt, too. I'm supposed to watch my salt....can you tell? ;)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: diablo

                              i can't imagine it's easy to eat much prepared food on a low-salt diet.

                              1. re: fara

                                It isn't - but that goes for prepared foods containing meat as well - most everything is too high in salt.

                            2. I like the Quorn products - fake chicken cutlets or breasts. Tofurkey thin sliced lunch product is my sandwich standby - I think it might be called "Hickory Smoked slices." Trader Joes corn dogs are good. My favorite burgers are Boca.

                              1. Boca and Amy's for burgers.
                                Garden burger riblets. (I must say, the BBQ sauce is pretty damn good)
                                Soya Kaas for cheese.
                                Quorn for chicken
                                Smart Dogs for hot dogs
                                Fantastic for taco meat
                                Silk for soy milk

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: andlulu

                                  Andlulu's certainly hit most of my personal faves here. As someone who grew up vegetarian but now eats meat, I tend to be uncompromising about taste and content. I'd probably add TJ's Corn Dogs to this list, too, as Snackish and others have noted.

                                  However, I recently made what I consider to be my best accidental food discovery to date: the donut holes made by Nutrilicious Natural Bakery.

                                  I'm highly skeptical of vegan baked goods as a rule. When I saw the Glazed Carrot Cake donut holes on the shelf, I picked them up, glanced at them, and went to put them back. I'm pretty sure I also made a tongue-out, this-looks-nasty face. Suddenly, the voice of one of the store's stock people rose behind me, and authoritatively stated: "don't do that." I turned to him, and said "excuse me?" He replied "those are the best ever. Amazing." I grudgingly threw them in my cart.

                                  When I got home, I took a few out of the package, wrapped them in a paper towel and reheated them in the microwave. I swear to god, after the first bite I practically dropped to my knees and wept. Having grown up on vile excuses for sweets I felt wistful that treats like these didn't exist when I was a child.

                                  Apparently these people offer cookies and other things, but the only items I can vouch for are the donuts. Absolutely scrumptious. Truly. (http://www.nutrilicious.com/our_donut...)

                                2. I like Gardenburger Original flavor veggie burgers. And I also like the Veggie Medley Gardenburgers too.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: valerie

                                    There are my favorite, too.

                                    1. re: manraysky

                                      The Veggie Medley ones are great. They actually taste like veggies, as opposed to pretend meat.

                                  2. Was at an Asian veg restaurant in NYC a few months back and they had several vegeterian seafood dishes - mainly "shrimp" - which had very authentic mouth feel and texture (small disclaimer, I'm the only meat eater in a family of vegeterians, so have a slightly different take on taste) and with all the seasoning really couldn't tell the difference. I've never found these products in any of the health food or natural stores down here in Fla.

                                    Otherwise, would have to go with the Quorn products for chicken replacement and really like the Morningstar Farms spicy black bean burgers. The black bean burgers are great broken up into a simple salad with salsa as the dressing. Their bacon doesn't do it for me, though and it takes forever to get them smell out of the microwave.

                                    1. I love every Morningstar product, especially the corn dogs, Grillers and bacon strips
                                      I also love Loma Linda and Worthington canned and frozen veggie meats, especially Fri-Chik, Super Links and Wham, which is a fake baloney. They are loaded with sodium, so best to eat in moderation. Very hard to find in stores.

                                      I also hoard the Soy Nuggets from Trader Joes. So good with bbq sauce or spicy mustard.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: swissgirl

                                        Mmmm...Morningstar Farms corn dogs. Great when you're in the mood for garbage food. Nuke the crap out of their bacon strips and they're actually sort of crisp, enough for a fair attempt at "BLT" if you have great tomatoes, non-wimpy lettuce, and stout bread.

                                        Can't agree on Worthington, though. I've never found a faux meat product in a can that I could stomach.

                                      2. We've been cutting way back on the veggie food "products" lately because so many are loaded up with sodium and additivies. But, we do really, really like the Morningstar black bean burgers. We have also liked most of the Amy products that we've tried.

                                        This thread has me missing Yves hot dogs, which we haven't used for years. That might be on next week's busy night menu.

                                        We use soyrizo and gimme lean more than any of the other "meat" products, primarily for breakfast dishes.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: debbiel

                                          Morningstar Farms: Grillers and Grillers Prime burgers, corn dogs, recipe crumbles
                                          Lightlife: Turkey slices
                                          Quorn: Any of their faux-chicken products

                                        2. I'm a closet fan of Gimme Lean bulk soysage. And the Yves Veggie Cuisine "chicken" burgers.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: piccola

                                            Yay! Im glad others love the Quorn products too. I just discovered them recently and was quite impressed. They work well when you are eating with a meat-eater and making a 'protein-veg-starch' dish. I have been wondering about soy-cheeses. I'm not vegan, but have considered trying these as a cheese alternative on the days when I get pissed off about the treatment of dairy cows and can't find a 'friendly' option like a small local farmer to rely on for my cheese fix.

                                            1. re: mipiace

                                              The vegan cheeses don't melt well, sadly. They turn really rubbery. And they're pretty salty. That said, they're not any worse than Kraft processed cheese slices.

                                              I hear the vegan feta's OK, but since I haven't tried it, I can't say for sure.

                                          2. gimme lean breakfast sausage
                                            soyrizo
                                            tofurkey turkey
                                            sunshine veggie burgers
                                            aura pro 'meats' (very expensive, but well worth the investment for vegtarians. very versatile)
                                            tofurkey sausages
                                            fantastic sloppy joe mix
                                            the asian market for a plethora of canned mock meats

                                            1. Zoglos brand frozen meals are pretty quick and easy. You can probably find them in the kosher section of the grocery store.

                                              1. Have those of you who eat lots of soy products read about the issues with too much soy and how it's just not the healthiest thing in the world in quantity, especially if you're not eating fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh. I read an interesting article about it recently and I think it's worth checking out. Sorry, I can't remember exactly where - Salon, perhaps. In any case, though I'm not a vegetarian, I don't eat too much meat. I'm in the eat everything in moderation camp, including soy.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: suse

                                                  That's one reason I'm interested to try Quorn, which is made from some fungus derivative and not soy. A friend who lived in England loves it. I just bought a box but haven't tried it yet.

                                                  1. re: Chowpatty

                                                    Make sure you do some research on it. There were quite a few reported side effects when it came on the market.

                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                      I read the Wikipedia article -- all those supposed side effects were cited pretty much unsupported by the Center for Science in the Public Interest or whatever they're called, who I do not trust at all. They've never been proved or reported anywhere else -- it all came out of the same unproven news story which was done by an unscientific telephone poll, those people could have been reacting to anything they ate.

                                                      1. re: Chowpatty

                                                        It's my belief that all that Quorn hoopla about it being dangerous was just a lot of exaggerated nonsense and these were individual allergies to the product. Some people are allergic or sensitive to strawberries; others to peanuts or shellfish. These folks had a sensitivity to mycoprotein.

                                                        1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                          I'm sure that was it, just like some people are allergic to the chemicals in artificial sweeteners. Still, it's something to keep in mind, in case you're one of those people.

                                                    2. re: Chowpatty

                                                      I heard about Quorn from CSPI years ago, long before I'd even seen it on store shelves. I went at least 5 years thinking it was evil and refusing to purchase it, until this most recent Thanksgiving, when I bought a Quorn Roast on impulse. (Tofurkey is icky and I'm not a vegan or a masochist.)

                                                      I'm totally sold. Even my non-veggie fiance agreed that it tasted 80% like Turkey. I ate nothing but Quorn Roast sandwiches for two days straight. (I'd also just discovered Napa Valley Honey Truffle mustard at the same time, so I was in heaven.)

                                                      I never buy Morningstar farms products (because they're junk and taste mediocre.) However, when I'm in the mood for a treat once in a while, Quorn is awesome. Still weird fungus mystery meat, but awesome.

                                                      1. re: keloise

                                                        I eat quorn often and never had a problem.

                                                        I've also never seen a quorn ecoli recal either.

                                                  2. If you check out the frozen foods section of a Chinese grocery store, there are a lot of good vegetarian products, including veggie dumplings (I have had pretty good ones with TVP in them), steamed buns ("bao") with fillings like spinach or mushroom, and usually quite a good selection of fake "meats" and "seafood." Also in the refrigerated section, marinated pressed tofu, pickled veg. vacuum packed in plastic, seaweed that can be sliced up, heated, and eaten easily. Among the canned foods, gluten (sort of like tofu in texture), good with roasted peanuts and pickled veg. in rice porridge (popular for breakfast in Taiwan). Some items are pretty high in sodium, though - such as one of my favorites, soy sauce eggs (found in the prepared hot foods section if your market has one).

                                                    1. I'm a huge fan of fake meat products. I like a lot of the Gardenburger and Morningstar Farms products, but always feel a little creeped out about them because they're supplied by Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midlands which = MAJOR genetically modified ingredients. Narytheless, their Morningstar Farms fake bacon is really good and they make some good fake "chicken" patties.

                                                      Trader Joe's corndogs are tasty. My favorite fake hot dog is by Yves (also iffy in the GMO department). Yves also does a fake ground "beef" that works well in places you might use ground beef.

                                                      I love the Tofurkey line of products: the sliced lunch meats and the Tofurkey itself. Wildwood makes tasty tofu burgers and seasoned tofu products. Gimme Lean sausage is tasty.

                                                      I'm not a fan of Amy's frozen foods. There's almost always some indescribable off flavor in the sauces.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: MollyGee

                                                        I find Tofukey to be pretty hit-or-miss. I really like their brats, but have the suspicion that their lunch meats were designed to cater to the subset of vegetarians that want to somewhat passively hate what they're eating.

                                                        1. re: MollyGee

                                                          Tofurkey dogs, brats and italian sausage flavors are good. And I love, just love, their philly 'pepper steak' flavor lunch meat. I am addicted to it.

                                                        2. Vegetable Masala Burgers at Trader Joe's. Unlike the veggie burgers that are vaguely trying to pretend to be meat (like Boca, Morningstar) made mostly with soy, these are full of potato and various other stuff (not sure what all), vaguely Indian spiced and are to us quite satisfying.

                                                          Also, while you're at TJ's, Meatless Meatballs. Nicely spiced, I think. The flavor kinda overwhelms most sauces, even a strong tomato sauce or such, but they're good in lots of things. Sorta halfway trying to imitate meat taste-wise and halfway just its own thing.

                                                          Morningstar bacon is totally trying to imitate meat, but it's pretty good.

                                                          Boca Italian sausage is a new staple around here to throw some protein into dishes that don't really go with the meatballs, etc.

                                                          Apart from the masala bugers, these are more ingredients that you might want to put into something. Well, okay, maybe you'd want to just have a sausage sandwich or a BLT. But still pretty good. I still eat meat myself (my girlfriend does not), but I enjoy these products as well.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: CrazyOne

                                                            I love those veggie masala burgers from TJ's. They've got quite a kick.

                                                            And their meatless meatballs are good too. Mix a few of those in with their marinara sauce and pour over some cooked spaghetti and you've got yourself a quick, very tasty meal.

                                                            And Morningstar bacon is good too. My husband eats meat but he loves it too (he likes most of the Morningstar products).

                                                          2. I like the Vegetable Masala Burgers from Trader Joes. I also like Morningstar Farms Corn Dogs and Garden Burgers.

                                                            1. I think Amy's products and Dr. Praeger's are wonderful. I also enjoy quorn and soyrizo.

                                                              If you want some great baking mixes for muffins, bread, pancakes, etc., try Southaven Farm -- www.southavenfarm.com. They can be made vegan if you like. Really delicious.

                                                              1. My vegetarian daughter recently tried the Quorn southwest style "chick'n" tenders and said they were quite good. They have chipotle and lime flavoring in the breading. She wasn't sure what kind of sauce would go well with them, and ended up mixing ketchup with the smoked chipotle flavor tabasco. It made a nice meal for her.
                                                                She also likes the Morningstar Farms Meal Starters fake beef strips quite a bit. She sautees them up with some sliced onion, starting the onion first so it gets nice and caramelized because the beef strips only take about 3 minutes. She eats them as is or makes them into a fajita or a steak and cheese sub.

                                                                1. If you like Indian food, look for the jyoti brand in a can. We really like the saag and the chole.

                                                                  1. My girlfriend, who is vegetarian, really likes the Quorn products, the naked chicken cutlets in particular. She marinades them for an hour or so and then we cook them on the grill. I tried a bite because I was curious and the texture is very similar to chicken as is taste. For a more ready made meal she likes DEEP Indian Gourmet Kafta Curry.

                                                                    1. We've had a vegetarian household for 2 1/2 years and tried many of the meatless products on the market.

                                                                      Our hands down favorite is Veggie Patch Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage. It has a great taste and texture. We serve it grilled (split down the center) with broiled tomatoes and a vegetable tofu scramble for a weekend breakfast.

                                                                      Quorn has a great line of chicken patties and roasts. The roast actually makes a good chicken salad. I will follow Amy's suggestion of marinating the naked cutlets!

                                                                      We like the Morningstar Farms line. The Prime Griller is wonderful. We tend to avoid Morningstar Farms as they use GMO.. as others posted in this threaad.

                                                                      Dr. Praegers various veggie patties good...love the spinach one.

                                                                      Although this is not a meat substitute product, I have recently discovered a line of muffins in the freezer section called Vita-Muffins. They are packed full of vitamins and fiber and taste great. A good addition to a vegetarian diet:

                                                                      http://vitalicious.com/vitatops_info....

                                                                      Kashi has a growing line of frozen products. In addition to the whole grain waffles, they have a good pizza. Most of the frozen dinners have chicken, but it appears they are expanding with a few vegetarian options.

                                                                      We do not live near a Whole Foods or TJ...I will have to check out their products when I travel.

                                                                      1. For those in Southern California, the best vegan products are from Rahel's Ethiopian Restaurant, carried in various health food stores in Southern California.

                                                                        http://www.rahelveggiecuisine.com/sto...

                                                                        I'm addicted to the kale/injera wraps and the red lentil/injera wraps.

                                                                        1. I had the Quorn Turk'y Roast the other night for the first time. For pure flavor it was OMG! good. Seriously, really, really good. I warmed it up, sliced it, and fried it country style. Served it with biscuits and mashed potatoes. For a fast meal you could do the roast, refrigerated biscuits, and instant mashers. Maybe crack open a jar of gravy. I know what I'm eating this Thanksgiving!

                                                                          1. Does anybody know a good replacement for pancetta? sunset magazine has a great wild rice/muschroom recipe but it calls for pancetta.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jkatz2005

                                                                              pancetta is simply spicy Italian bacon (pancetta literally means bacon in Italian), usually rolled up prettily. If you are prepared to include fake meat there are some fake bacons and some smoky things.

                                                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                                                Unlike bacon, regular pancetta isn't smoked. As Hazan says, there's no wholly satisfactory substitute for "its savory-sweet, unsmoked flavor." Smoked pancetta (*pancetta affumicata* IIRC) is limited to northeasternmost Italy, a hangover of Austrian occupation, and is almost certainly not what the Sunset recipe is calling for.

                                                                            2. I don't know if it's still available, but Linda McCartney did a really good range of veggie lasagne and pies, but this was many years ago now. I think she may have sold it to a company before her death though.

                                                                              TT

                                                                              1. As a veg raised on meat substitutes during the late 60's, we've come a long way baby.....my favorites:
                                                                                Field Roast sausages--the BEST
                                                                                Quorn
                                                                                White Wave's Fakin' Bacon (tempeh)
                                                                                Chick Nuggets--Boca or Morningstar, they're not vegan though
                                                                                Amy's
                                                                                Linda McCartney line
                                                                                Thai Kitchen & Taste of Thai
                                                                                ........That said, with a little pre-planning/prep you can avoid the processed junk & still do quick meals. Some great staples: organic canned beans (all kinds), nuts (buy in bulk), org. whole grain pasta (Bionaturae is the best); lots of fresh & frozen veges.....also check out the book Vegan with a Vengeance--Isa Chandra Moskowitz www.theppk.com and spend an afternoon making her recipes for Seitan, tofu basil ricotta, pressed tofu...having these main dish staples ready helps with convenience. And you're eating homemade, less-processed, non-GMO/corporate-ized food. One reason to eat veg/vegan is to eat healthier, without so much processed junk....

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: rebelurbandiva

                                                                                  Veggie food has come a long way indeed. So many more choices now, many of them are very good too. I like Linda McCartney sausages and shepherd's pie. Didn't know they were sold in the US.

                                                                                2. I like some of the fake lunch "meat" products (such as from Yve's) in that they're very low in fat, taste reasonable, and are extremely convenient.

                                                                                  Generally, though, I'm in line with what you wrote -- I'm not a big fan of meat "replacements". I'm fond of saying tofu makes a lousy meat and meat makes lousy tofu. That said, however, a local St. Louis company makes an array of amazing "ground meat" substitutes. Several of the better local restaurants are using their products. Formerly called Aura Pro, at first they were only available commercially, then Whole Foods started carrying them locally. They're now called "Match".

                                                                                  http://www.matchmeats.com/

                                                                                  It may be worth seeing if your local stores can carry them. My biggest complaint is that they're only available in solid, frozen, one lb. packages.

                                                                                  1. Ditto to Amy's products, especially their vegan mac n' cheese and frozen burritos. Very tasty.

                                                                                    I am also a big fan of Morningstar. Their 'sausage' patties, corn dogs, and 'chik' nuggets in particular are very good.

                                                                                    Also good is the Quorn brand of vegetarian products. I lived on their deli slices and frozen veggie burgers when I lived in the UK. You can find most of their products at Whole Foods and several other supermarket chains in the US.

                                                                                    1. if you can find it, i enjoy worthington products, especially their turkey. you can buy it in a frozen roll, and then chop it up however you like. i like to slice some thin for sandwiches, cube some for salad, or slice some thick and serve it warm with gravy. so good! buying it in the form of a roll is a lot cheaper than buying it in slices. they also had an excellent frozen tuna substitute (tuno) but i'm pretty sure they discontinued it.

                                                                                      also, trader joe's has great tex-mex burgers (i forget the brand), and they just came out with chicken-less and beef-less strips.

                                                                                      1. I like the Kashi frozen dinners (I believe there are two veg ones) and the whole foods 365 brand frozen dinners. Both accompany me as lunch meals when I'm in a crunch.

                                                                                        1. Nasoya Nayonnaise is surprisingly tasty--comes in original and dijon varieties. I use it on sandwiches and in dip recipes. I can't see myself ever using real mayonnaise, so this stuff really zips up an otherwise bland sandwich for me!

                                                                                          1. So Nice Vanilla Bliss lowfat soymilk...i love that it comes in a <litre bottle too.

                                                                                            Ditto to the Tofurky mentions, love the hickory smoked deli "meat".

                                                                                            The Amy's frozen meals are pretty good, as are La Commensal dinners (sp?), some of the recent President's choice meals are also good (the chana masala in particular). Amy's soups are also pretty good.

                                                                                            The Yves veggie products have come a long way in a few years...the ground "meats", the "chicken" strips, pepperoni and some of the luncheon meats are really good. Their veggie burger is also one of my favorites, the other being the kind you get at M&M Meats. Yves sausages are so so...and i have yet to find a veggie hot dog that even remotely tastes like the original in any brand. The Yves veggie back bacon is a miss . Lightlife used to have a smart bacon in my area, but i can't find it now anywhere, and that was really good.

                                                                                            Schneider's does good meatless beef and chicken strips, meatless chicken nuggets, meatless breaded chicken burgers and broccoli-cheese stuffed "chicken" breasts. Their meatless meatballs are very good.

                                                                                            I've never been a fan of Boca Burgers, and the potato-ey versions of burgers are not something i tried more than once or twice...i'm looking for something that gives me a good portion of protein, and those to me are like eating a slice of bread on a bun.

                                                                                            Somewhat OT, but if ever in Montreal, try Chuch or ChuChai for take out...fake duck, shrimp, beef, chicken etc etc dishes that are soooooooo good !!

                                                                                            I've had meat-eaters in my family rave over dishes subbed with the veggie ground round and the meatless chicken strips etc. Have offered tastes of my veggie burgers to friends at bbq's and one or two said they couldn't tell the difference. It's in how you cook it and season it.

                                                                                            1. Last night I tried the Health is Wealth brand Vegetarian Cocktail Franks (tofu pigs in a whole wheat blanket) to celebrate/ christen my new toaster oven. I was impressed! I have liked most of the HiW products I've tried, I just wish I could find more of them around.

                                                                                              1. Anyone ever try any of the Don Lee Farms food?.. They're hard to find.. But Costco gets them in every once in a while and everything I've had so far I really liked.. This week I got Portabello Mushroom Burgers... We have had the burgers and they are very good.. Try them if you get a chance.. I wish Costco would get them more often.. they seem to sell out fast! I did get some meatballs at Costco that were Vegan and I'm not sure if they were Don Lee or not.. But they fell apart.. Try the other stuff!.

                                                                                                1. I do not buy any products anymore, but I used to really like:

                                                                                                  -Absolute favorite: Lightlife Smartdogs lite hotdogs
                                                                                                  -Lightlife Smart Strips--Chick'n Style Strips
                                                                                                  -Boca ground
                                                                                                  -Boca or Morning Star burgers
                                                                                                  -also if I wanted something heavier, I think TJ makes a soy-corndog that I liked as a kid

                                                                                                  Essentially, if you can find LightLife, you're good to go. They make tons of good options.

                                                                                                  1. I really like Quorn products--I'm not a big meat eater and these give me the ability to eat a fried "chicken" sandwich and "meatballs" that don't have a soy taste, which I find nasty.

                                                                                                    Does anyone know of a soy-free fake sausage (any varitety)?

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                      Quorn makes a breakfast sausage style product. I have not tried them. I too like their "chicken" products, much better than a lot of soy subs out there.

                                                                                                      1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                        Thanks--I haven't seen these yet but I'll be on the lookout.

                                                                                                        I'm really going to hate the day I find out how awful Quorn's "microproteins" probably are for me.

                                                                                                    2. Field roast smoked apple sage sausages
                                                                                                      Tofurkey italian sausages
                                                                                                      TJ's soyrizo is amaaaazing
                                                                                                      Nates meatballs
                                                                                                      ...and it's all in the way you cook these faux meats that make them lip smacking yummy 
                                                                                                      So delicious coconut milk beverage as a soy altrnative
                                                                                                      Purely delicious cococonut milk "ice cream" OMG, drool
                                                                                                      Sweet & Sara peanut butter s'mores i promise you will be addicted

                                                                                                      be mindful of your soy consumption, try to eat non gmo & organic if possible, soy is one of those crops mass produced and genetically modified like corn and peanuts...so much veg food is full of soy, just read labels if it concerns you, there are some really good products out there!

                                                                                                      1. I love AMYS frozen meals and the soups. I am not a vegetarian but love these meals. I have been eating them for about 7 yrs. Love the southwestern roasted (?) veggie soup and cheese enchiladas...and the burritos...love it all!

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: texangurl

                                                                                                          My BF, who is a) not vegetarian and b) kinda picky, absolutely loves Amy's broccoli pizza. It's delicious.

                                                                                                          1. re: texangurl

                                                                                                            I really like a lot of Amy's products. I can no longer eat soy since I commented on this thread, so I'm a recent convert to Amy's California burgers, and they are pretty good too !

                                                                                                          2. Gardein. Their products are awesome, especially the Chipotle Lime Crispy fingers and Seven Grain Crispy tenders. They tap into my pre-vegetarian weakness for chicken fingers. They're particularly awesome with TJs Sweet Hot mustard.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: tazia

                                                                                                              This brand has recently been introduced into our market. I agree that it is quite good. I've had the basic chicken nuggets and the beef tips. Have not seen the flavors you mentioned but will keep a sharper ete out.

                                                                                                            2. I actually love meat products but one of my favorite things is tempeh. I find it delicious on sandwiches or in homemade tomato sauce or chili.

                                                                                                              Really versatile standby for me.

                                                                                                              1. Fresh vegetables!!! :)

                                                                                                                1. I love Amy's meals and keep my freezer stocked with them. I like the original Garden Burgers as well as Boca Burgers. Trader Joe's has a lot of really good vegetarian meals in their freezer section. It's worth taking a look. Their vegi corn dogs are pretty tasty and I have given them to people who were shocked that they were not made with meat. I agree with the poster who recommended ethnic food markets - especially the Indian ones.