Responsible Living

Best vegan “meat” and “dairy” in Toronto

While some vegans prefer not to eat anything that resembles meat, other vegans like to eat meat, but don’t because of health, environmental, and/or ethical reasons. I must emphasize that a diet solely or mainly based on mock meats – a highly processed food – is not healthy at all (just like a non-vegan diet of eating deli meat, McNuggets, and Big Macs). This post is all about the best mock meat and dairy products available in Toronto.

Best Burger: The Beyond Burger

This is hands down THE BEST tasting vegan burger. It offers amazing texture and flavour. It’s also soy- and gluten-free and non-GMO! Each patty offers 20g of protein and 30% of daily iron. You can purchase this at mainstream supermarkets like Sobey’s or at your local annex co-operative Karma Food Co-op. I personally like to buy them from Yamchops, a plant-based “butcher shop” and market in Little Italy because it comes in less packaging. Yamchops is the only place that uses simple clear plastic. I’m glad that Beyond replaced their their non-recyclable black plastic container with a recyclable one, but there are still two layers of clear plastic, and cardboard.). You can get a big box of them at Costco as well with just a cardboard box and the patties are contained in a one clear plastic bag.

Please note that even though many fastfood offers the Beyond Burger, it is a slightly different version. It’s thinner and it doesn’t taste as good as the ones you buy from the grocery store.

Side note: We’ve tried the Impossible Burger in my home. While many seem to like it better than the Beyond Burger, we beg to differ. It tastes more like a porkchop and is extremely gamey.

Best Chicken Burger: The Hogtown Vegan’s Unchicken Burger

I like getting this burger Buffalo-style, but Paul loves it BBQ!

Best Pork-Based Sausage: Beyond Sausage

You’ve got to try this Beyond recipe with their sausage. It is amazing. They offer the brat-style or Italian (not very spicy). From what I know, you can only get it at Yamchops. High in protein, and soy-, gluten-, and GMO-free, like their burgers.

Best Beef-based Sausage & Pepperoni: Gusta

Their “pizzaroni” is their pepperoni and they offer Italian, German, Spanish, and breakfast sausages. Warning: unlike Beyond Meat products, these ones are full of gluten. But, they are based in Quebec. You can get their products at most grocery stores.

Best Prepared Meats: Yamchops

They serve Mongolian Beef (my favourite), Szechuan Beef, Tuna, General Tso Chicken, Souvlaki, crab cakes, Montreal-style steaks, Beyond Meat products, etc. They make wonderful bowls – my favourite is the Eat More Veggies Bowl (I add the Mongolian beef to it).  Yamchops also sells a great selection of vegan cheese and general vegan products. If you order online, they deliver it to you in their Yambulance:)

Best Frozen Meats: Gardein 

This BC-based company makes pretty good mock meats. They make everything – fish sticks, meatballs, chicken fingers, burgers, chicken patties, etc. We love their ground beef (great for tacos and spaghetti), chicken patties, and fish. You can buy them at Fiesta Farms, Yamchops, and other groceries. Most of their products contain gluten, except for the ground beef.

Best Vegan Cheese: Violife and Nafsika’s

Violife makes the best mature cheddar and feta while Nafsika’s makes the best pizza mozzerella and poutine cheese.

Best Vegan Butter: Earth Balance

You can get their butters at most grocery stores. They offer olive oil-, soy-, or coconut oil-based butters – even soy-free.

Best Vegan Egg Yolk: Vegg

Best Vegan Egg: Just Egg

I haven’t tried any egg products that really taste like eggs. I stick with scrambled tofu. I find the vegan egg products runny or have a strange texture. I’ve tried the Earth Island and Vegg and I don’t like them. However, Vegg’s Egg Yolk – if you like runny yolks – is quite good.

Best Vegan Mayo: Hellman’s

I’ve tried Wildwood, Simply Simple, Earth Island mayo, but they taste more like Miracle Whip than mayo. Hellman’s simply makes the most authentic vegan mayo.

Best Vegan Sour Cream: Tofututti 

Great for your Mexican favourites. I believe they might be a Canadian company as well. Wayfare is really yummy, but they come in much larger containers.