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17 tasty products that fit into a vegetarian diet, plus 4 vegetarian recipes that use them.

Whether you're following a vegetarian diet full-time or part-time, and whether you're eating more vegetarian foods because of health, budget, or ethical reasons, you probably want to know which vegetarian products are worth buying. I’m a practicing "part-time vegetarian," so I have tried all sorts of non-meat and alternative meat products. Some products I buy again and again, while for others, one taste was too many.

Vegetarian products generally fit into these categories:

  • Meat substitutes, which are made to replace or look like popular meat or dairy products. Products like soy cheese and vegetarian versions of hot dogs, breakfast sausages, chicken nuggets, ground beef, and burgers are included in this grouping.
  • Unapologetically vegan foods, which are not meant to look or taste like meat. This group includes frozen entrees that feature tofu or beans instead of chicken or beef, for example.
  • Foods for lacto-ovo lovers (lacto-ovo vegetarians are those who consume milk and egg products as well as plant foods). There are many dishes that are naturally meatless or can be made in a meatless version. Dishes like vegetable lasagna, cheese pizza, and vegetarian burgers that include cheese would fit into this grouping.

Thinking back to some of the products I’ve tried over the last couple of years and including products recommended by friends, here are some of the best-tasting vegetarian products that can be found in supermarket chains and specialty markets. Below that, you'll find some vegetarian recipes using these products.

Best Supermarket Vegetarian Foods

Here are some favorites that are available in most major supermarket chains. 

Morningstar Farms Meal Starters. You can use this instead of cooked ground beef. The first three ingredients listed on the label are textured vegetable protein, water, and corn oil

How Does It Taste? It has a mild pleasant flavor and seems to work best when added to a mixed dish like chili, enchiladas, or casseroles.
Nutrition Information: 2/3 cup has 80 calories, 10 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 240 mg sodium. Calories from fats: 28%.

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