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Best Vegetarian products:

My absolute favorite products are Tivall. They are currently only sold in Kosher stores and contain eggs (so not vegan) but they have breaded 'chicken' nuggets and pieces, hot dogs (my personal fave) and burgers. IMVHO Morning Star does not hold a candle to these items.

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  1. Morningstar is about the worst. I'll only go for it in a pinch. I really like the Gardein stuff, including the Chick'n Scallopini and the Mandarin Chick'n. I also am a fan of Quorn's products, but it's pricey in my area.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jes7o

      You can pull Morningstar's corndogs out of my cold dead hands.

      1. re: CloggieGirl

        Morningstar's corndogs are my husband's vice. He wolfs down the entire box in one sitting.

    2. We tend to default to Amy's frozen foods around here.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ElsieDee

        I'm not a vegetarian, but I love Amy's California burgers - and they are soy free.

      2. Field Roast products were my absolute favorite when i was still eating gluten. even though i went back to eating meat about 5 years ago, i *still* have the occasional hankering for that stuff! in fact, i was gazing longingly at the products in the refrigerator case at Whole Foods today :)

        8 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Yes, the Field Roast sausages are really good. I use the italian and the apple sage a lot - good for crumbling into dishes (ie pasta with lots of garlic and broccoli rabe, yum). I love the Gardein cutlets but lately I can't find Gardein products in my area anymore (Gowanus in Brooklyn) - if anyone knows where I can get them, please let me know!

          1. re: prunefeet

            I can't find Gardein products in my area anymore (Gowanus in Brooklyn)

            scroll through all the pages of results from that search, because while P2 is mostly stores across the Hudson in NJ, P3 is all BK. and if you really can't find them at any of the places listed, ask the prepared foods counter at Whole Foods if they'll sell you some. they should definitely have them on hand because they use them for some of the vegan recipes in the prepared foods case.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Strangely, our SuperTarget carries it.....

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Thanks GHG I'll see if the crown heights stop and shop really carries it - odd that the only other places that claim to carry Gardein now are very hard core bkln neighborhoods where I don't much expect there are many vegans! jes7o - where is your SuperTarget?

                1. re: prunefeet

                  Mishawaka, IN. Our Meijer (a Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana superstore chain) also carries it.

                  1. re: jes7o

                    Costco in my area has some things, like ginormous bags of frozen "ground meat" type crumbles.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              +1 on Field Roast sausages. They're the only fake meat I ever bother with. In a rich tomato sauce, they bring back amazing memories of eating my mom's spaghetti sauce, which was liberal with the Italian sausage.

              1. re: mightywombat

                The Field Roast apple sage sausage is absolutely, utterly fantastic. In the summer, it often serves as my protein for dinner, and I am frequently impressed with how delicious it is. It's particularly good on a split top hot dog bun with BBQ sauce.

            3. I try to minimize convenience foods / processed foods. When I buy stuff, I try to look for things that have as few unreadable ingredients as possible.

              I think Field Roast and Tofurky brands tend to be pretty reasonable in terms of what they put in their products. Tofurky tends to use actual tofu rather than soy protein, and neither use a lot of ingredients that aren't "real food". I like Lightlife 'Fakin Bacon' a lot, but recently have been enjoying the Tofurky brand one instead -- it's cut a bit thicker, cut shorter, so less likely to break when you're taking it out of the package, and I think it comes out a little less dry.

              1 Reply
              1. re: will47

                I am the opposite. I will eat all kinds of junk food.

                I was at the Chinese market the other day and got hooked on this soy "beef jerky". It was so good, chewy yet moist and semi-tender. I got the one with lots of cracked black pepper. So good.

                I love that Trader Joes carries what looks like Gardein products under their Trader Joes label. My Trader Joes has the chickenless nuggets and the mandarin orange "chicken".

              2. I like almost everything Gardein, but especially the beefless beef tips those are amazing. Amazing.

                I also love the fake McRiblets from (I think) Morningstar. They're in a really sweet sauce, but with some sauce doctoring action, I like these better than what I remember McD's version being like. Plus they're bigger and meatier, if that makes any sense at all.

                1. My first love, and steady favorite, is Soyrizo--once I understood that I could not cook and apply it in quite the same ways as chorizo. I also like the MF riblets and the chik'n patties, but am not fond of the sausage product (I dislike the often, to me, too-discernible texture of seeds in my faux stuff). The omnivore in the house loves all of them, funnily enough. I have to hide my riblets, and parcel them out.

                  Thanks for starting this thread. I'm a little wary about the faux meats (often expensive and disappointing), and I've already picked up on two brands here that hadn't hit my radar. I'm especially curious if anyone has found a good fake sausage that isn't too soft. Or seedy.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: onceadaylily

                    I was going to come back and mention Soyrizo. I really like the Cacique brand because it's authentic and dirt cheap (compared to the Frieda's). So versatile!

                    As for sausage....I have yet to find anything I could make a decent gumbo with. I do like the Field Roast quite a bit...but pricey and I have to drive an hour to get it.

                    1. re: jes7o

                      the next time you're near a store that carries Field Roast, stock up & freeze it - it'll last for months. (i'm not sure how many units come in it, but a lot of stores will give you a discount of 10% or more if you buy items by the case.)

                  2. Morningstar has my number. Every single thing I've tried has tasted good. Yes I wish the sodium/processing factor was not there but for what it is, it's a fine product. And Gardein rocks. Those chicken cutlets are just plain awesome and so versatile. I feel like Bubba from Forest Gump when I talk about them. I make a mean bourgignon with their equally amazing beef tips.

                    1. My favorite is Upton Naturals - http://www.uptonsnaturals.com/ - they make a great line of seitan based sausages and meat substitutes

                      1. Were you only looking for meat substitute product recs? I am not a vegetarian so am not familiar with those products. Other than that...

                        Trader Joe's mushroom ravioli (in refrigerated section, not frozen w/ truffle sauce which I haven't tried). My girls love it when I saute in brown butter w/ sage. Also, TJ's potato masala burger & mac & cheese.

                        Costco's frozen spinach and cheese raviolis work great for busy moms.

                        Also, I do enjoy certain frozen foods from Deep brands available at the Indian grocer. My favorite are the cocktail size potato samosas.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ceekskat

                          That was my reaction - my favorite vegetarian products are the ones that don't try to taste like meat!

                          The frozen kimchi fried rice from TJ's has been in the rotation lately, and makes a great foil for various tofu preparations I might try.

                          Also, a pleasant surprise has been the locally made (Boston) 5-spice extra firm tofu - forget the name of the brand - so versatile, and stands up well to grinding, marinating, grilling, frying, etc.

                        2. the best vegetarian products can be found in the produce section of ethnic food stores.
                          i didn't even know that there was such a thing as a FRESH garbanzo bean (i.e. NOT dried nor canned--in an actual green pod) before frequenting these stores.

                          1. At the risk of being branded the Harmony Valley troll (no connection, I swear) I can't say enough good stuff about their burger and sausage mixes. Rehydrate and use exactly the same as a pound of meat. I grilled HV burgers for the first time last night and I don't think I'll ever order a veggie burger out again.

                            I'm vegan and many of the commercial burgers and chicken are not. But the Morningstar Farms riblets are, and they make a fun "Vegan McRib" dinner on occasion. Gardein's pulled pork is also good, but I find their sauce too sweet, so I doctor it up.

                            I don't think there's a vegetarian in the world that doesn't mourn bacon. I have made good vegan club sandwiches with Tofurkey maple tempeh and Tofurkey Italian turkey slices and Veganaise. No one would confuse tempeh for bacon, but the smokiness is reminiscent of bacon.

                            These are all fun treats when I miss some old convenience foods.

                            Indian grocery stores are heaven-sent for veggies and vegans. I love samosas, but they are a lot of work for 2 of us. Luckily there are several brands of vegan samosas in any Indian store.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Divamac

                              Thank you for suggesting the Harmony Valley mix. I hadn't been familiar with it, tried it the other day, and loved it! (I used it to make a stew of string beans, summer squash and tomatos.)

                              1. re: alc

                                Glad you like it. I'm making my way through some old (non veg) favorites using HV and have yet to be disappointed by it. I get a case (6 packages) of the burger and sausage mix auto-delivered by Amazon every 2 months so there's a steady supply to experiment with! It also saves a little over the individual price with Amazon Prime.

                                1. re: Divamac

                                  Have you tried the hummus mix?
                                  I see that one can also order on-line from the Harmony Valley web site. I haven't compared the prices with Amazon.

                              2. re: Divamac

                                Thanks for this suggestion. I've never heard of the brand before but the reviews on Amazon are great! Has anyone ever seen any Harmony Valley products in a store? I'm a bit reluctant to order them only, simply because Amazon sells them in 6-box cases only, rather than as individual boxes. Thanks!

                                1. re: Laura D.

                                  I found mine at the Food Emporium (in NYC -- the one near Lincoln Center)

                                  1. re: alc

                                    Thanks for letting me know! I'm in Philadelphia and will keep my eye out.

                                  2. re: Laura D.

                                    I first found it at Whole Foods in San Diego. The packages were hanging on a rack at the end of a random aisle, very easy to miss.