Every week we hit the raw bar, grill up some veggies, pre pack our lunches and spurn anything that comes from anything that once had a face. But then we get busy—buried under a pile of papers busy—and we forget to pack lunch, don’t have time to go out, and get a headache the size of Suffolk County. At that precise moment, when stress, hunger and pain blend into chaos and/or head banging, someone inevitably yells “who wants in on this souvlaki order!?!” And our vegan intentions come to a screeching halt. Hey, we’re not proud, but we’re honest. And we have discovered a few things along the way that are amazing, that just happen to be vegan. Some are junk food. Some are processed frozen foods. But cut us some slack. As much as we’d love to whip out a list that starts with marinated hijiki, lentils and rosemary and ends with watercress salad topped with glazed beets and walnuts de-shelled with love, we live in a different kind of reality. So we present you now with the less sophisticated, I’m-lucky-I-have-time-to-eat-at-all version.
These are vegan. We could live on Pop Tarts, so theoretically we could stay vegan too. These toaster pastries give us hope that we will one day succeed.
You can get this in half gallons at Trader Joe’s. The chocolate and vanilla flavors are good, but we’re not going to lie, they are no replacement for the real thing. The cherry chocolate chip on the other hand, that’s a win.
It’s pudding without milk and it tastes like a slice of lemon meringue pie minus the crust. But this slice is egg-free and will only cost you 120 calories.
You can find a whole line of Amy’s natural frozen meals that are good for a quick lunch or dinner, and don’t taste like they were ever frozen or tossed in a microwave. Not all of them are vegan, but many are. The brown rice veggie bowls and black bean enchiladas are ones to try.
Take your pick. Both of these brands found at most supermarkets are made from oil blends. Unless you eat butter with a spoon, you’ll never know the difference.
Two vanilla cookies with a dairy-free filling. It’s not a vegan cookie. It’s a cookie that just happens to be vegan.
Okay it’s not really called that, but one of the best things about being vegan is that you can assume everything is made with some form of tofu and rename it accordingly, like this really amazing better-than-the-real-thing ‘chicken’ salad. Whole Foods Market offers a buffet of homemade vegan meals every day. It’s all fresh and offers junk food junkies a quick, healthy meal on the go.
If eating meat off the bone freaks you out too, you’ll have no problem taking to these tofiblets. A little crispy, but fork tender, and molded into a rack of ribs, they’re a close second for those whose favorite part of a rib dinner is the sauce.
Known as ‘baby’s first cookie,’ these organic ‘butter’ cookies are made without butter and can usually be found as a soggy mess in the hands of a drooling teething kid, or in their original form at your local food store.
Zatarain’s produces a ton of rice dinners—Black-eyed Peas and Rice, Black Beans and Rice, Brown Rice Jambalaya, Dirty Rice, Dirty Brown Rice, Red Beans and Rice, Spanish Rice, White Beans and Rice, and more—and they’re all vegan.
They may not look familiar, but these cookies are the vegan version of the Thin Mint, peddled by hundreds of Girl Scouts across the Island, only these are offered all year round. You’re welcome.