VeganMoFo, Day 2: Accidentally Vegan

October 2nd, 2008 9:21 am by Kelly Garbato

When I first stumbled upon PETA’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” list of “accidentally vegan” products, I was suitable impressed. All these wonderful staples of American foodie culture! All vegan! And accidentally so!

And people think being vegan equals “deprivation.” Sniff.

After years and years and years of label-reading and aisle-surfing (I’ve been vegetarian for 12 years, vegan for roughly three, and allergic to milk my entire life – scrutinizing ingredient lists is a habit, yo!), I’ve slowly built my own pantry of must-have veg*n staples, of both the accidental and intentional variety. Some of my favorites are new additions (see #5), while others are long-time comfort foods (#2). Some are even old friends, long since forsaken, which were once non-veg*n, but have received veg*n makeovers (#1). (Mmmmm, #1. The tummy is rumbling just thinking about #1!)

In no particular order, my ten most favorite happy vegan “accidents.” Leave your own in the comments – please!

1. Mrs. T’s Potato and Onion Pierogies (food service size)

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Back when I was vegetarian, I used to scarf Mrs. T’s Potato & Onion Pierogies like there was no tomorrow. Then I went vegan, and had to give them up. (Damn eggs!) After several years of pining, I was finally able to track down a vegan brand of pierogies. The catch? They’re Mrs. T’s Potato & Onion Pierogies…but in the food service size!

That’s right. For some inexplicable reason, Mrs. T’s “baker’s dozen” packages of pierogies are made with eggs. Yet, the massive 72-count food service bags are vegan. Go figure.

To make matters worse, Mrs. T’s only sells their food service items directly to restaurants, schools and such, with one exception: they’re available in some Wegmans stores. Wegmans of, ahem, Wegmans [egg] Cruelty fame. Coincidentally, Wegmans is located in my hometown of Rochester, NY, and both of my parents work there. So I had Mrs. G. send me some Mrs. T’s ‘rogies last month. She didn’t even have to travel far to find them – just down to the frozen section in her store.

2. Goldenberg Peanut Chews (Original Dark)

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Growing up with a milk allergy, there were precious few candies for my chubby little self to indulge in. Halloween kind of sucked, since I had to trade most of my chocolates away, usually at a loss (that’s what happens when you’ve got zero bargaining power, I guess). Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews to the rescue! If just a few of these goodies found their way into my trick-or-treat bag, I was a happy toehead.

Beware when purchasing – the Original Dark Chocolate version is vegan, but there’s also a Milk Chocolate variety that most certainly is not.

3. Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos

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Stephen Colbert first introduced me to these sweet-n-spicy snacks, but I didn’t realize that they were vegan until I saw a laudatory post on the PETA2 blog. They are super-yummy, but I can only eat about a dozen chips at once, given my delicate taste buds.

See, peoples, PETA does good sometimes!

4. Bisquick

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Sure, it’s rather easy to make pancakes from scratch, as there are precious few ingredients in ’em. But I’ve yet to find a pancake recipe that’s half as good as Bisquick.

Doubly yummy with blueberries!

5. Oreos [Update, 1/17/10: Or not.]

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Oreos were not always vegan – oh noes! As a kid in the ’80s and ’90s, I never knew the delight of chocolate wafers with vanilla cream filling. Oreos were made with milk, and there just wasn’t a suitable substitute available, at least not that I was aware of. I lost my cookie-sandwich virginity to Newman-O’s, which will always be my first love, cookie-sandwich wise (RIP, Paul Newman, RIP).

But it’s nice having an alternative, for variety’s sake. I forget what I was surfing the internets for, but I stumbled upon a blog post from 2006 proclaiming that Oreos are now vegan! The author surmised that, when Nabisco revised their Oreo recipe(s) to exclude trans-fats, they also (accidentally) veganized the recipe.

So it was that I came to try my very first Oreo in August ’08. Yay for happy accidents!

6. Snapple Peach Iced Tea

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Unlike my formerly favorite beverages of old (e.g., Arizona Green Tea), the Snapple-brand iced teas don’t contain honey! I don’t usually drink anything but water and fruit juice, but when I want something sweet, Snapple is just the thing. Usually peach, sometimes raspberry, but always delish.

7. Cape Cod Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

Cape Cod Salt & Vinegar Chips

A number of companies offer vegan salt and vinegar potato chips – Kettle and Boulder both make really good versions – so there’s no scarcity there. But Cape Cod Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips will always rank top on my list. Unlike Kettle chips, which are heavy and greasy; and the Boulder version, which has a malty flavor, Cape Cod’s salt and vinegar chips are light and highly snack-able. They’re like Lay’s, but salty, vinegary and vegan. (Lay’s Salt and Vinegar chips contain whey or somesuch nonsense.)

8. Rose City Chocolatier’s Vegan Chocolates

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Sure – they market their vegan chocolates as “vegan” now, but when Shane first surprised me with a Valentine’s Day gift box of Rose City Chocolatier’s Dark Chocolates, the “vegan” part was obviously accidental. I think they’ve discovered the vegan craze, because Rose City really pushes the vegan angle now. And good on them – they make some of the finest (and most affordable) vegan chocolates I’ve ever tasted. I’m especially fond of the chocolate marzipan. Oh, and the cherry cordials. And I can’t forget the coconuts.

Damn, hang on one sec. I’d better wipe all this drool off my keyboard before I continue…

9. Rhodes White Dinner Rolls

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Most dinner rolls contain milk, whey, butter – or all of the above. Rhodes’s rolls taste delightfully buttery…but they’re not! Plus, they come frozen so you can defrost and bake as needed. Simple pleasures!

10. Cinnamon Toast Crunch [Edited on 7/12/09 to add: maybe not]

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I could have picked any one of a number of sugary breakfast cereals for #10, but I chose Cinnamon Toast Crunch because its counterpart, French Toast Crunch, contains animal by-products – which makes this the ultimate in accidental veganism!

(OK, well, except for those ‘rogies. That will never cease to boggle. Srsly, gaiz, wtf!?)

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5 Responses to “VeganMoFo, Day 2: Accidentally Vegan”

  1. jody Says:

    thank you so much for this info!!! it is great of you and i look forward to trying some new vegan treats.

    check out http://www.buykind.com for some more amazing vegan treats shipped to the door from some of the best vegan chefs in the country.

    Go Vegan!!

  2. Jay Says:

    Oreos are so good and also those doritios are really really awesome and spicy!

  3. Anna Says:

    great post! i had assumed all doritos are off-limits, but looks like i’m gonna be trying this particular flavor =)

  4. VeganMoFo, Day 31+: King Kong, Vegan Junk Food & Reflections on VeganMoFo » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] was a boring bowl of bran flakes (my usual), but for lunch I had some mouth-watering potato onion pierogies, while Shane downed vegan “egg” rolls. Later on, we made pizza for dinner: homemade […]

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