The top 10 best vegan products of the year—number 7 may shock you
As a freelance journalist covering the plant-based and veg-friendly space — which includes doing lots of product reviews — I sample TONS of products. Wading through product labels, scrutinizing ingredients and materials, sussing out sustainability, and interviewing founders and experts. I do the hard work to cut through the marketing jargon, influencer hype and Instagram ads and discover products that are really good, and made by people who really care about making better-for-the-planet products.
So, I've rounded up my top 10 favorite vegan products of the year that I have been loving...and I think you will too. I've included a mix of food, beauty, drink and more—all the things I cover on my blog and social channel, and that I write about for various publications. Enjoy!
#10: Peet's Coffee - Everything Plant-Based Sandwich
I was stopped in my veg-foodie tracks by this one. I am not a huge fan of the faux meat burgers, sandwiches, etc.—I'll always give them a try, but I eat them seldomly. So, they really have to impress me to get me as a repeat customer: the Peet's Coffee Everything Plant-Based Sandwich managed to do just that. Launched this year, the breakfast sandwich is made with a Beyond Meat sausage patty, JUST folded egg, and Violife cheese. It's quite honestly a perfect amalgamation of flavors, filling but not too heavy. My favorite part is the fluffy JUST folded egg which really makes this a hit.
#9: Tesla: Model Y
This year I finally bought my first electric car. I was carless for a while, relying on my electric bike, but once the Model Y—Tesla's crossover vehicle with an all-vegan interior—came out, one test drive and I was all in. Every car I have ever bought I have slightly regretted afterward. Not with this one—it was the best decision I made. The liberation from the pump, and knowing I am taking action to help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is rewarding. Beyond Tesla, there are now so many electric cars to choose from at a host of different price points, many that are using vegan materials. I highly recommend considering electric!
#8: Gunas New York - About Last Night vegan clutch
I discovered Gunas New York while doing research on high-quality vegan leather. I came across Gunas and fell in love with its trendy bags, many made from novel plant materials like this About Last Night clutch that I bought to go with a formal outfit ... but turns out I wear this thing everywhere! Perfect size to fit cell phone lip gloss, a mask and sunglasses, and is structured so your belongings don't get squished!
#7: Canned chickpeas
I know, what a strange item, and maybe a little cheat, to have canned chickpeas on a “favorite products” list, but there is a good reason for this: For me, 2021 was the year of the chickpea. I am a simpler-the-better recipe kind of person, and chickpeas satisfy this. I’ve become obsessed with my easy, no-measuring-needed chickpea “tuna” dish which I make weekly—and trust me anyone will love it. Plus, I have a secret trick to get the texture nearly identical to tuna. (Watch the video displayed here to see how it's done!) Chickpeas are versatile, and a staple for many whole-food plant-based eaters, and for plant-based/vegan eating in general. Chickpeas—also called garbanzo beans in case you were confused, I once was—are also high in fiber and protein. (Recipe video overview of how to make this super easy, no-measure chickpea tuna.)
#6: MingsBings - Original Veggie-Filled Bing
I was invited to a digital press cooking demo with Chef Ming Tasi before he launched MingsBings, a frozen, packaged veggie-wrap-type-thing—their a take on a Bing, which is a traditional Chinese flatbread that originated in the Ming Dynasty of China. MingsBings are a blend of veggies wrapped into a brown rice-based light and flaky wrapper. They are super easy to make in a frying pan, or my personal favorite, in the air fryer. I like the Original Veggie-Filled Bing, which has all whole-food ingredients, but they have other flavors too which are all great.
#5: Aveda - Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
Walk into CVS or really any mainstream store that sells beauty products, and there are endless shampoos, body products, etc. to choose from; but you may be shocked to learn that very few household names are both vegan and cruelty-free. But one that is both, vegan and cruelty-free, is Aveda. I recently discovered their Deep Conditioning Hair Mask which is incredible. Especially because I swim, and the chlorine can be damaging to hair, this product works wonders to make my hair silky smooth.
#4: Follow Your Heart - Thousand Island Dressing
I don't know how I went so long not trying any of the Follow Your Heart dressings. But while doing a taste test for The Beet to undercover the best rich and creamy store-bought vegan salad dressings, one taste of Follow Your Heart's Thousand Island Dressing and I was hooked. I now keep multiple stocked since I go through it so quickly! I use it not only on salads, but in a wrap, on a burger, and more.
#3: Kelly's Croutons
Open my kitchen cabinet and you'll wonder why it's packed with all these Kelly's Croutons bags—because all hell would break loose in my house if we ran out. I always have on hand both the classic Kelly's Croutons and the Just Crumbs, which are the crumbs that come off of the croutons. I use them to jazz up salads, soups and even sprinkle the Just Crumbs inside my veggie wraps for a little bit of crunch!
#2: Flying Embers - Grapefruit Hard Kombucha
People are probably sick of my flooding my Instagram with pictures of me drinking hard kombucha—sorry but I am continuing my life goal to make sure everyone knows and tries this damn good drink. Kombucha, which is a fermented tea drink with probiotics, can be fermented for additional time to turn into alcohol—thus, you get hard kombucha. I've sampled probably every brand there is, and so many are great, I pretty much like them all. BUT, my favorite, and the one I buy at the store, is Flying Embers. I particularly like their light (lower alcohol content) hard kombucha line-up which has no sugar or carbs, and only 85 calories per can. Both the Grapefruit and the Berry flavors are winners.
And, the #1 best vegan product of the year is...
#1: Miyoko's Creamery - European Style Cultured Vegan Butter
I have always been an Earth Balance butter person...that was until I tried Miyoko's butter that launched this year. It's made with cashew milk, coconut oil and a few other ingredients. You can use it for baking, or just for everyday needs. For me this on a piece of sourdough toast is perfection. And, after a battle to be able to even call this "butter,"—an obstacle the company faced with a lawsuit that tried to block their use of that word—Miyoko's prevailed, and launched their vegan butter, and called it butter. It is SO good, words can't describe. You'll have to give it a try yourself. And I promise, vegan or not, anyone will love!