Based on recent events, whether it be extended family meals or co-workers picking up treats, I thought I should share with the world how easy it is to plan a vegan-friendly meal, or pick up a vegan treat for the plant-based eaters in your life! Of course, the easiest thing would be to pick up or cater Vego Bistro!
Burgers/patties: Beyond Meat, Boca, Gardein Black Bean, Dr. Praeger's
veggies (garlic and oil, or balsamic)
Pasta dishes are easy to leave the meat out, and then top individual plates with meat substitutes or meats if you are eating in mixed company. If you need a GF version Barilla is my fave, but Aldi has a good brand as well.
Beans and rice with salad is another easy option.
Really you can create your favorite meals, leaving out the meat and dairy or replacing it with products like:
Butter/Margarine: Earth Balance or Smart Balance
Cheeses: Daiya or Follow Your Heart
Milk: any nut or soy milk will do
Sour Cream: Tofutti or Follow Your Heart
And replace meat based broth or stock with vegetable stock.
Of course there are other brands out there, but these are the items that I have found to be readily available without having to go to a specialty store or even Whole Foods.
Eating Out: If you want to pick a restaurant that your vegan companion can get more than a salad and fries, I like Chipotle's sofritas. Jason's Deli, Uncle Madio's, Moe's and Mellow Mushroom have options. Most ethnic food restaurants can make things work if they don't have options already: Chinese, Mexican, Ethiopian, Indian, Mediterranean. Here is a great resource for most chain restaurants: http://www.peta.org/living/food/chain-restaurants/
Candy: Twizzlers, Skittles, most hard candies, Dots, Brach's Orange Slices, Fireballs, Airheads
Chocolate: Enjoy Life brands, Dream brands (Rice Dream for example), Endangered Species chocolate bars, Trader Joe's semi-sweet chips (if you want to do some baking of your own). Some items that are vegan according to the ingredients list, but warn that they are processed in a facility that also processes milk: Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups for example.
Two links that you may find helpful in finding a chocolate treat:
Ice Creams: Ben and Jerry's has vegan versions now! Also, Dream brands, and So Delicious brands are great. I LOVE the cashew versions! Again, there are other brands but these are the ones you can find at most grocery stores.
Cookies: Lenny & Larry's, Mary's Gone Crackers, Cybele's, Enjoy Life. If your grocery store has a health food section you will likely find vegan cookies there!
Beverages: Starbucks is an obvious choice for your coffee and tea needs--just be sure to order your plant-based buddy's latte with soy, almond, or coconut milk and hold the whip! Any number of fresh pressed juices and smoothies are an awesome treat too. Just be sure that when you are ordering a smoothie that you verify that there are no dairy products (some places like to add yogurt).
Even if you aren't down for everything that PETA stands for, they are a great resource for catering to the vegans! So even if you don't want to "go vegan" the following link will be helpful if you want to be thoughtful of the plant-based eaters in your life. http://features.peta.org/how-to-go-vegan/
Also, check out the Happy Cow app to help find vegan and vegetarian joints near you.