What Do Vegans Eat?

Veggie burger and fries

When changing your diet, it may take time to explore new foods and develop a routine.

There are lots of different products to choose from – experiment with various flavors and brands to find your favorites.

Opposing cruelty can be as easy as substituting marinara for meat sauce, opting for bean burritos instead of chicken or beef tacos, and trying some of the many delicious and convenient vegan products that are available.

“When I met my first vegetarian, he told me he had not eaten meat for fourteen years. I looked at him as if he had managed to hold his breath that entire time. Today I know there is nothing rigorous or strange about eating a diet that excludes meat.”

Erik Marcus, Vegan.com


Gardein Tuscan breast
Gardein mock meats come in a variety of styles and flavors. Shown above is a Gardein Tuscan chick’n breast.

Mock meats, made from plant protein, come in a wide range of textures, shapes, and styles: burgers, hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ground meat, meatballs, breaded cutlets, deli slices, “unchicken” salad, and more!

Dairy alternatives, made from soy, rice, nuts, seeds, and plant starches, include milks, cheeses, butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurts, frozen desserts – you name it!

It’s best to sample as many products as you can. You might dislike certain soymilks and veggie burgers, yet think others are great!

Dairy subs

With the right substitute ingredients and a little experience, you’ll discover you can still enjoy your favorite meals. Vegan twists on most any familiar recipe can be prepared using seitan (or “wheat meat”), homemade “cheezes,” and other meat and dairy alternatives. You’ll find countless vegetarian recipes on the Internet, as well as a huge selection of vegetarian cookbooks.

Bean products
Beans are a good source of protein and relatively inexpensive. You’ll find an array of heat-and-serve options at most supermarkets, and a number of recipes for bean-based dishes in our online starter guide, including hearty soups and a chili made with “textured vegetable protein,” which also costs less than ready-made faux meats.

While nearly all supermarkets carry tasty, cruelty-free fare, natural food stores and co-ops are great places to explore your vegetarian options. Besides all the ready-made products, you may discover unusual grains, beans, or other ingredients you’ve never tried. In fact, by becoming more conscious of what they eat and by experimenting with new foods and recipes, many people find themselves with a more diverse diet after becoming vegan!

Vegan selections can be found at many fast-food chains – such as Chevys, Denny’s, Little Caesars, Papa John’s, Subway, Johnny Rockets, and Taco Bell – as well as at most Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai, and other ethnic restaurants. If a menu’s vegan options appear to be limited to a house salad or steamed vegetable plate, don’t panic! There are usually dishes that can be “veganized” with minimal effort, or the chef might be happy to whip up a special animal-free entrée for you, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Some Simple Meal Ideas


  • Breakfast
  • Cold cereal or granola with nondairy milk
  • Oatmeal or other hot cerealBreakfast foods
  • Bagel with vegan cream cheese
  • Toast with jelly
  • Pancakes
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Tofu scramble with veggie sausage
  • Fruit-filled toaster pastry

Lunch & Dinner

  • Veggie burger or hot dog with fries
  • Mock lunchmeat sandwich with chips
  • Faux meat with baked or mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Vegetable stir-fry with tempeh, tofu, or seitan
  • Falafel pita sandwich with hummus or tabouli
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwichLunch & dinner foods
  • Soup or chili over pasta or rice
  • Baked tempeh or tofu sandwich
  • Pasta and tomato sauce
  • Bean burrito
  • Veggie pizza
  • Seitan casserole
  • Tofu lasagna

Snacks & DessertSnack & dessert foods

  • Vegan pie, cookies, or cake
  • Nondairy ice cream, yogurt, or pudding
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzels or popcorn
  • Chips and salsa
  • Energy bar (such as vegan Clif Bar)