Wouldn’t you know International Vegan Junk Food Day would be August 29th, the day of the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, which happens to be a strict fasting day. But I have also been wanting to do a “What do vegans eat” kind of post, so while I probably won’t eat anything fried or drenched in olive oil today (or round, or on a platter, or cut with a knife) I will gladly share a junk food edition of What Vegans Eat.
So yeah. Whenever someone asks, “You’re a vegan? So…what can you eat???” I freeze up and have no idea what to say because a million things come to mind at once. First there’s the entire produce section at the grocery store, and all the countless things you can create with the numberless combinations of fruits and vegetables. Then you have grains, nuts, seeds, and SUGARY THINGS. There are nut milks, and seed milks, and grain milks. There are vegan meats and cheeses. Entire frozen meals and roasts.
It’s SO easy to be vegan these days, not like 17 years ago when I was lucky to find margarine and soy milk at the health food store. Now we can get doughnuts! But if you’re still at a loss trying to imagine these things, allow me to show you, in no particular order…
Homemade cookies and spiked coffee. There are a TON of vegan egg substitutes for baking (just-add-water powders, mashed banana, chia seeds, flax seeds, baking soda + vinegar, to name a few), and several vegan margarines to replace butter – or experiment with nut and seed butters or oil.
You can also find cookies from Alternative Baking Company, GoodBites, Uncle Eddie’s, and many more online or at health food stores.
And the booze? Most booze is vegan!
Here in Grand Rapids, MI we are lucky to find vegan doughnuts from Propaganda Doughnuts and Rise! Grand Rapids, and occasionally Bartertown Diner. In Texas, there’s Red Rabbit Cooperative in Austin, and Reverie Bakeshop in Richardson. Sweetpea Baking Company or Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, OR. Dun-Well Donuts in Brooklyn. Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia. Glazed and Infused in Orlando. BeetBox Bakery and Cafe in Denver. You get the idea.
If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you’ll have all kinds of fun options, but if you can’t get your hands on the specific brands they sell, you can usually find something similar at your regular grocery store (in this case, Biscoff Spread and H.K. Anderson peanut butter filled pretzels are sold all over the place).
You can get vegan tacos and burritos from Moe’s, Chipotle, Qdoba, and even Taco Bell! In fact most Mexican restaurants have TONS of vegan options.
Think you’ll miss the days of quick, convenient boxed mac n cheese? NOPE. Earth Balance even uses similar packets of bright orange cheese-flavored powder!
And speaking of, we do okay without dairy-based cheese, too. Daiya, Chao, Go Veggie, Follow Your Heart, and Tofutti are some of the big brands out there, not to mention all the recipes you can find for making your own spreads & blocks at home. The vegan cheese scene is improving every day!
Arby’s has nothing on meaty vegan sandwiches – we have Qrunch Burgers, Boca Burgers, Amy’s Burgers, tons of smaller brands that can be found at health food stores, and all kinds of deli slices from Field Roast, Tofurky, Yves, and Light Life just to name a few. There are hot dogs, sausages, roasts, chic’n patties, sliders, battered “fish” (checkout Sophie’s Kitchen brand) and whatever else you can think of, we can and probably already have VEGANIZED IT.
Wait. I know what’s coming next. Let me cover this right now:
Yes, we thought about this, too. There are plenty of vegan bacon options out there, and lots you can make at home.
Yes, you can even still eat canned frosting by the spoonful 😀 Nom Nom Nom I found Dollop at Meijer (also available at Wegmans, on Amazon, and at Nooch Vegan Market in Denver), along with a few really junky (but yummy and milk-free) brands. In fact, you can find All Kinds of Vegan Things at Meijer, and probably most grocery chains near you.
You can still enjoy a fabulous birthday cake, too! Making your own is easy (from scratch or from a box), but many bakeries do vegan cakes these days, too.
Chocolate Cake Recipe from the Minimalist Baker
Vanilla Cake Recipe from The Cake Merchant
Peanut Butter Cake Recipe from Oh She Cooks!
Carrot Cake Recipe from Love & Lemons
And now we have discovered….AQUAFABA, the liquid from cooked beans. It can be whipped up to make vegan meringues and marshmallow fluff. It’s the most vegan thing ever, and it is delicious and amazing.
Look at the Macrons from Crazy Vegan Kitchen made with aquafaba!
Here in Grand Rapids, MI, we have a wonderful bar that serves vegan burgers, potato wings (fried potato wedges coated in wing sauce), a vegan meatloaf dinner, and huge, indulgent beer-battered onion rings, among other things. In fact, you can read about every vegan-friendly (or not so friendly) restaurant I’ve been to in GR by visiting my Vegan in Grand Rapids page.
Are you kind of person that likes to live off ramen? That’s okay. Top Ramen and Nissan both offer vegan flavors, or for three times as much ($1/ea in these parts) you can upgrade to Koyo brand ramen, made with organic ingredients and heirloom wheat.
Do you see what I’m saying here? YOU CAN DO IT! You can eat good things, and bad things that taste good, and never feel deprived, and be sweet to the animals, and lower your cholesterol. Today is about junk food, but there are a bazillion clean vegan options to balance this stuff out (or not). The point is, it’s easy. So what’s your excuse? GO VEGAN!
Find recipes and inspiration for International Vegan Junk Food Day on my Junk Food Fix page!