The sound of ‘vegan food’ comes with many common misconceptions such as being boring or that vegans can only eat dirt, grass and twigs (maybe an iced water if they’re really feeling adventurous). However, that certainly does not have to be the case as the variety of animal-free food available is bountiful, only growing by the day!
These 10 rather quirky and uncommonly known foods are here to prove that plant-based foods are far from boring – prepare your palette if you’re brave enough to try!
10 of The Most Unusual Vegan Foods You May or May Not Want to Try
Traditional Haggis is a savory dish made from minced sheep organs (such as liver, heart, lungs) that are blended with onion, oatmeal, suet, seasoning and stock and then encased in the lining of an animal stomach or artificial lining (artificial lining is more common these days as it is cheaper).
For those looking for an animal-free alternative to this nutty-flavoured, traditional Scottish dish, Macsween has you covered! This vegan-friendly haggis uses vegetables, pulses, oats, seeds and spices rather than animal-derived ingredients.
Found at many Asian grocers, this ‘Peking Roast Duck’ doesn’t actually have any duck in it although is has the taste and texture of the real thing! Similar to the ingredients of Seitan, this duck meat alternative is made from wheat gluten to mimic the texture and consistency of animal meat.
This frequently canned product is perfect to eat in stir fries, pies, curries!
Just like the duck, this unusual product is produced to mimic the taste, texture and flavour of actual shrimp!
Made from non-GMO soy protein, plant-based starches, ocean-plant extracts, spices and seasonings with a hint of rice vinegar, this product is a great replacement for traditional animal shrimp and would go well in stir fries, sushi, dumplings and other ‘seafood’ dishes.
Sounds like a mouthful? This is a vegan-ized version of perhaps the world’s most common sushi, which can come with a range of different toppings but traditionally, raw salmon or egg is used. When thick slices of avo simply don’t earn you enough ‘vegan points’, try this raw cantaloupe and watermelon version of salmon nigiri-zushi!
Watermelon, cantaloupe or skinned red-bell pepper is vacuum-sealed then frozen. 24hrs later they are defrosted in a fridge. Next, the rice bases are mixed with a blend of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, a wee pinch of sea salt and ginger. The salmon-esque topping is placed on the rice base then wrapped in a thinly sliced strip of nori seaweed and garnished with seeds and horseradish.
5. Stinky Tofu
‘Chou Dofu’, one of the most famous Taiwanese dishes, literally translates to ‘stinky tofu’. It’s served in large, bubbling vats which look volcanic-like and can be found at night markets in Taipei. However, it’s called ‘stinky tofu’ for a reason, when bubbling away, it can be smelled from afar and mimics the aroma of sewage or those socks you forgot to wash…
Disclaimer: this dish is not guaranteed to be always vegan or vegetarian as it is sometimes cooked in milk or shrimp brine so if you are guts enough to try it, make sure you check!
Surprised? Actually, us too… These Cowgirl Veggie (vegan!) “Steaks” by Viana are juicy and flavorful, and can easily be grilled to perfection! They are the perfect hearty main course to a down-home vegan dinner. Certified organic and GMO free. Each 7.4 oz (210g) package contains 2 veggie steaks.
Jerky is usually made from dehydrated animal flesh but this ‘beef jerky’ delivers all the protein (10g per serve) and all the flavour (a variety of flavours, even!) without any animal ingredients! A hit with athletes, chewers and people who love the outdoors, these snacks are perfect for on-the-go fuel anywhere. Primal has the lowest single-serve prices jerky on the market which strongly mimics the taste and texture of animal jerky.
When chickpea tuna just isn’t vegan enough, this vegan alternative to tuna fish changes the fish-free game. If you crave a hearty tuna casserole, tuna sandwich or classic tuna salad, this product is just right for you! VeganToona by Sophie’s Kitchen even comes in two classic tuna flavours: Sea Salt (conveniently soy-free) or Black Pepper.
Caviar, caviar, wherefore art thou caviar? Made from seaweed, this vegan-friendly black caviar comes in jars with 7 servings that are perfect for your plant-based canapés and appetisers. Tasting salty, looking clean and delivering endless applications to dishes, this vegan black caviar will take your next party platter to ‘seafood’ heights without the salt-cured fish eggs!
Traditional Japanese sweets are often vegan, especially those made with mochi (sticky) rice and azuki bean paste. Doesn’t sound like a dessert, but trust us, they are delicious! Also included are warabi mochi, made from a fern root, kanten (a jelly made from seaweed gelatin). Dango (mochi that is shaped as a ball) is also vegan. Yay!