The Most Exciting Plant-Based Groceries Every Home Cook Needs Right

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JustEgg frittata with vegan cheese, cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs
Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Earlier this month, we launched our 2022 version of Kitchn Essentials. It’s our annual list of the most exciting and necessary groceries for right now. This year, that list includes 146 items across 14 different categories (sauces, pantry, snacks, and more) The biggest category? Plant-based. 

Last year was the first time we dedicated an entire section to plant-based goodies — and the category has grown exponentially since then. All of the awesome options made it quite a challenge to narrow the list down, but we did it! Here are the 17 plant-based picks you’ll want to add to your shopping list.

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Oat Milk

For a sustainably made, certified organic, plant-based milk, try Willa's Oat Milk in any of the company's three offerings: Original, Creamy, or Dark Chocolate. Smooth, rich, and creamy, this oat milk packs fiber and protein into every cup. Named after their grandmother and inspired by her original recipe, this milk is free of artificial ingredients and made with an entirely zero-waste process.

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Nut Milk
Thrive Market
was $6.99

The lineup of Elmhurst Nut Milks includes almond, hazelnut, and walnut, but we especially love the cashew one. According to Copy Chief, Lauren Kodiak, it has the most neutral, creamy flavor. She uses it daily in coffee and smoothies! These beverages are organic, relatively inexpensive, and shelf-stable with one ingredient: the nut (okay, and water).

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Plant-Based Yogurt

Made with a creamy coconut milk base and pea protein, the Icelandic-style yogurt brand has hit this plant-based option out of the park. It’ll keep you full whether it’s your breakfast or afternoon snack. If you haven't already, we strongly recommend you try Toasted Coconut and Mixed Berry.

4 / 16
Vegan Cheese

Vegan cheese in seven different varieties might sound too good to be true, but Violife has nailed the flavor and texture. Melty, stretchy, creamy, and tangy, this vegan-dedicated community from Greece is all-in on claims that its "Just Like" product line — including Colby, cheddar, mozzarella, and feta — really is just like cheese. And chefs are quick to back them up.

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Vegan Butter

Butter is a staple that's hard to replicate in vegan form, but Miyoko's is up to the challenge. The company's vegan butter does everything you want from a butter: It melts, browns, bakes, and has a rich, buttery flavor. The hint of sea salt makes it taste even more like, well, butter.

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Vegan Mayo
Hive Brands

You may have read about our love for Duke's mayonnaise (in this very list!). Well, one of our writers wants you to know that HLTHPUNK Vegan Mayo is just as good — and not just because of the super-cool squeeze tube. The sunflower oil- and oat milk-based recipe is remarkably tasty, and the vegan spread especially shines on sandwiches.

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Veggie Burgers

No freezer should be without a box of Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers. The non-GMO and vegan patties cook up within minutes, making a filling, nutritious lunch or dinner super fast and easy. Did we mention they’re loaded with 10 types of vegetables? These truly put the “veg” in veggie burger.

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Soy Chorizo

Frieda's Soyrizo packs all the flavor of traditional chorizo, but is vegetarian and gluten-free. It crumbles into the skillet, without being too sticky nor too dry and has a well-balanced and robust, smoky flavor. Simply remove the casing and try it anywhere you’d use chorizo. This recipe is a good place to start!

9 / 16

Why treat tofu as a blank canvas, when it can star as the main event? This freshly made, artisanal tofu handcrafted in Oakland is a revelation. It's voluptuously creamy, complex, and deeply flavorful, so it can and should get the spotlight in any meal. Don’t believe us? Try it straight out of the package. We won't even say we told you so.

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Plant-Based Burger

If the name didn't already give it away, these plant-based burgers look and taste impossibly like beef burgers. For vegans, flexitarians, or experimenters looking for the closest thing you can get to beef burgers — complete with "blood" — it’s Impossible Burger you're after. Our taste tester said the texture and flavor was almost identical, calling it a realistic alternative to ground beef.

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Vegan Pesto
Trader Joe's

Venture beyond the usual with Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto. This creation tastes so homemade, one of our writers called it her favorite TJ’s find in months. Like any pesto, it goes well with so much more than pasta — try it as an easy way to punch up eggs, sandwiches, salad dressings, and marinades.

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Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Wonderlab's Doozy Pots

Created by Ben & Jerry's alum and genius food scientist Kirsten Sutaria and her husband, Karl, Wonderlab Doozy Pots serves up creamy gelato made with hemp and oats. The company aims to craft tasty treats made with ingredients that are sustainably sourced, and they've done a stellar job so far. For a cool, refreshing dessert, snag each one of four flavors: Smooth Coffee, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Raspberry Swirl, and Banana Cinnamon Date.

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Dairy-Free Ice Cream Bar

Looking for a non-dairy ice cream bar that boasts the same creamy, melty, richness of traditional ice cream? That’s what we found with Daiya Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bars — specifically the Classic Vanilla Bean version. These frozen treats get dipped in fair-trade chocolate for a crunchy candy shell. Chocolate Fudge Crunch and Salted Caramel Swirl flavors also came in hot in our taste test.

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Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets

For a crispy, crunchy, dippable plant-based nugget that's packed with protein, try Daring Breaded Plant Chicken Pieces. Our Senior Lifestyle Editor, Mara Weinraub, says "I always have a pouch of these stashed in my freezer. They're great for impromptu lunches and dinners and they, pardon the expression, 'taste like chicken.'"

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Plant-Based Eggs

Thanks to Just Egg, we now have an ingredient that does everything the versatile egg does. Made from mung beans, the plant-based scramble is the answer to fluffy eggs, crispy waffles, quick breads, and more. Even better? It comes in a convenient squeeze bottle, so you can say goodbye to messy cracked shells.

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Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
Modern Kitchen

Made without the use of animal products, Modern Kitchen's spreadable, delicate line of cream cheeses boasts bold flavors with a surprisingly creamy texture. The next time you grab a bagel, make sure you have one of Modern Kitchen's three flavors — Strawberry, Spring Onion and Chive, or Harissa Pepper — on hand to go with it.