The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Vegan Doritos®?

Posted on October 17, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou

An online reader recently asked The VRG if any Doritos products available in the United States were vegan. To find out, The VRG in August through October 2014 called Frito-Lay®, maker of Doritos. We spoke with different customer service representatives and nutrition specialists each time.

On the Frito-Lay website, there are several different lists of products suitable for people with special dietary needs: Among those of interest to vegetarians and vegans are lists of Frito-Lay products that do not contain milk, do not contain pork enzymes, or do contain eggs. There are two lists of products certified kosher by two different certifying agencies. There is no list of vegan products on the Frito-Lay site.

We asked Frito-Lay employees why a vegan list wasn’t available. A nutrition specialist told us that “since ‘vegan’ means different things to different people such a list would not be could confuse people.” The specialist advised The VRG to develop its own list based on website ingredient information.

In looking over all of the lists and comparing them, The VRG concluded that there are four possible Doritos products that are vegan-eligible. These four are on the lists of products containing no milk nor pork enzymes and they are not on the list of products containing egg.

Our preliminary vegan list was as follows (Note: keep reading below!):

Doritos Reduced Fat Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips
Doritos Salsa Verde Flavored Tortilla Chips
Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips
Doritos Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips

The VRG called Doritos again about the ingredients in these products. We discovered that the Salsa Verde Flavored Tortilla Chips listed as containing “natural chicken flavor” is “from chicken.” Therefore, this is not a vegan item.

We also learned that the Reduced Fat Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips (sold only in schools’ vending machines) and the Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips contain natural flavors that are not animal-derived.

A customer service representative at Frito-Lay told us that “none of the natural flavors in any Doritos product is animal-based.” A nutrition specialist confirmed this. However, she elaborated further by saying “if a natural flavor contained an animal ingredient it would be identified on the label.” (As we learned, the natural chicken flavor mentioned above is from chicken.)

Doritos employees told us that the sugar used in the Reduced Fat Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips and the Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips “is either cane or beet sugar…it depends on our suppliers and availability.” We learned from the customer service representatives and nutritionists that “ingredient processing is not considered a part of ingredient information so we will not be able to tell customers if cow bone char was used.” All Doritos employees read to us from a prepared statement when we asked about the sugar in their products.

The VRG received confirmation from Frito-Lay of our tentative vegan listing for the Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips. The nutrition specialist told us that they are all-vegetable referring to the Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips as “vegan.”

Vegetarians may wish to note that all Doritos products containing cheese or cheese flavorings “do contain animal enzymes” according to two nutrition specialists we spoke with on the phone. The VRG asked if Frito-Lay made such a general statement to avoid potential mislabeling issues as other manufacturers may do or if all cheese and cheese flavoring in Doritos actually contain animal enzymes. The reply we received was “This is true in all cases.” Beside pork enzymes, Frito-Lay provides no further information on which type of animal enzyme or which animal species is used.

All VRG readers may wish to know that Doritos Jacked™ Ranch Dipped Hot Wings Flavored Tortilla Chips contain chicken fat, chicken powder, and chicken broth.

The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, sources of microingredients can be unknown, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.


Posted on October 16, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Thank you to Jessica Schiappa, RD, Eric Sharer, RD, and Andrew Getz who staffed our booth at Vegan Mania in Chicago, Illinois. They gave out information to over 360 people who came by the VRG table. Eric and Jessica were also on a vegan nutrition panel.

If you would like to volunteer at VRG booths, contact
To support VRG outreach, donate at
To join The Vegetarian Resource Group, go to


Posted on October 16, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Don’t forget that many employers will match your donation to nonprofits such as The Vegetarian Resource Group, often up to $5,000. A partial list of employers that match can be seen here at by checking employer to match and clicking on Please Select.


Posted on October 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

When encouraging your college or other food service to offer more vegan options, you should find out what vegan items their distributors actually carry. This way you will be making practical requests that can be met. Ask the food service manager if he/she can obtain a list, which often changes.

For example, Gordon Food Service operates coast to coast in Canada, and from Michigan to Florida, with plans for further expansion. Their customers include restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, recreational and lodging establishments, and other operators who prepare meals. In 2014 vegan items offered (subject to change and availability) included:

Baked beans

Couscous cooked

Quinoa cooked

Vanilla almond milk

Dark chocolate almond milk



Cole slaw

Cucumber marinade

Pasta fettuccini

Pasta penne

Pasta spaghetti

Roasted red peppers

Cranberry orange relish

Bean medley salad

Bean mojito salad

Couscous apple wheat berry salad

Couscous with feta and mint

Pasta rotini salad

Quinoa salad

“Bacon” bits

Malibu Gardenburger

Alu Chole

Khatte Meethe Baigan


Vegetable base for soups

Creamy tomato bisque

Black bean soup

Plus fruits, vegetables, and grain items.

For a current list from Gordon Food Service, your food service can contact:

Try this Fattoush Salad (omitting the Feta Cheese) with Lemon Garlic Dressing:

For more food service ideas, go to:


Posted on October 13, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group gave out information to over 120 dietitians and other health professionals, who work in setting such as assisted living, continuum care communities, and correctional facilities. Institution staff generally catered to meat eaters, but dietitians enthusiastically took information for their few vegetarian patients, relatives, and themselves.

For information on facilities which serve vegetarian seniors, see

To support VRG outreach, donate at

The Vegetarian Journal Index on is Now Updated!

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Thanks to the hard work of Sonja Helman, Alan Polster, and Debra Wasserman, the Vegetarian Journal Index is now up-to-date on The Vegetarian Resource Group website. The index to all the wonderful articles that have ran in past issues of Vegetarian Journal can be found here:

Here are some examples where this index might be useful to you and others interested in a veggie lifestyle:

Let’s say you want to prepare an ethnic vegan dish for dinner. Go to the Cooking and Recipes category then scroll down to Ethnic Cuisine and you’ll find a long list of all the ethnic food recipe articles we’ve published including dishes from countries such as India, Japan, Mexico, Persia, Turkey, Peru, etc. The list of countries is endless.

If you have a friend that is wanting information on vegan diets for children, you might refer them to our Nutrition Section then scroll down to the topic Children Here you’ll find articles on subjects such as Avoiding the Baby Food Trap, The Vegan Teen Athlete, Ways to Get Toddlers to Eat Veggies, etc.

Looking for tips on how to use certain food items? Turn to the Vegan Cooking Tips section in our index and you’ll find quick-and-easy tips on cooking with items such as polenta, soyrizo, vegan yogurt, cornmeal, egg replacers, and much more.

Winners of the Simply Vegan Give Away Announced

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

VRG is pleased to announce the two winners of our Simply Vegan Give Away: Jeanette Culpepper and Marya Deluna!

We would like to thank everyone who participated in this contest! We enjoyed reading your comments and appreciate your support! Not a winner but still want your own copy of Simply Vegan? Please visit our online catalog.


Posted on October 09, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Josie is a winner of The Vegetarian Resource Group Video Contest. Josie stated:

I think it’s safe to say that I’m more than just interested in vegetarianism/veganism. I think being vegan is the purest and the most honest thing you can experience in this world. It’s something I hope for everyone, and I wish people weren’t so stubborn, so they could be open to the idea of veganism. I don’t have that narcissistic way of thinking that the rest of the human race has; I know that human beings are the most intelligent species because of that amazing gap from animals to humans called ‘language’, but I know that animals weren’t ‘created’ -if you believe in God- or meant for man to use selfishly. I think that animals should be living comfortably right next to humans, if not as their equals, as their friends. Animals should be respected as souls not much different than ours. Veganism makes me feel more connected to the Earth, and takes the guilt off of my chest because I can honestly say that I am cruelty free. ​

See videos at:

The deadline for our $5,000 scholarship contest for high school seniors is February 20, 2015. For more information go to:

If you would like to support VRG internships or our video scholarship contest, please donate at:

Join at:

Last Call to Join The Vegetarian Resource Group Vegan Dinner in Atlanta, Georgia!

Posted on October 09, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

In conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, The Vegetarian Resource Group will be hosting a vegan dinner in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 6pm. The dinner will be catered by Soul Vegetarian Restaurant. Dietitians, members, students, and the public are welcome to attend!

Buffet Includes:
Crisp vegetable tray with onion, cucumber, or garlic dip
Garden Salad and Prince Dressing (house dressing made with soy milk)
Dinner Rolls or Cornbread

Sides (choice of 2):
Tender Greens
Sweet Potatoes
Herb-Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Entrees (choice of 2):
Southern Style Baked B-B-Q Tofu
Smothered Steak with Gravy and Onions
Cheesy-Spinach-Tofu Lasagne
Mediterranean Cauliflower with CousCous

Dessert: Apple Pie or Vanilla Delight Cake

Beverage: Lemonade

BBQ Tofu

LOCATION: Morehouse School of Medicine, GA
1.9 miles from the Georgia World Congress Center

PAYMENT: $25 by September 30, 2014. Includes tax and tip. If seats
available, $30 after September 30. Send payment to The Vegetarian
Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203; Call (410) 366-8343 with a credit card Monday to Friday, 9AM to 5PM Eastern Time, or go to and write Atlanta dinner in the comments area. Refunds only made if we can replace your seat.

NUMBER ATTENDING: x $25/person before 9/30/14= $ Enclosed

Preparing and Serving Vegan Dishes at Church Cafe

Posted on October 08, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Almost every Wednesday, VRG member John Lytle, his daughter, and sometimes his wife volunteer with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ at MESH (Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless Inc.) Cafe. John is known as the dessert guy, although sometimes he cooks for other parts of the meal. At a recent meal, John prepared 72 portions of the vegan Chocolate Pudding recipe in Simply Vegan published by The Vegetarian Resource Group. It was well received. John said:

I usually doesn’t make 72 portions of anything, but we had 60 guests and the math worked well, grossing up the recipe that is, for making 3 batches of 24 portions each. Having 60 or more guests seems to be the new normal, we used to assume 50-60, and when I began doing this it was 35-40. We plan on preparing 65 generous portions for next Wednesday. Below is a copy of your recipe with the ingredient amounts for 12, 24, and 30 portions.

We have never served a vegetarian entree to all of our guests, but we always prepare a vegetarian alternative entree. Typically 10% of our guests request the vegetarian option. Also we always serve a soup course, and it is almost always vegetarian. John would like to lead the effort to plan a completely vegetarian MESH Cafe meal and recently purchased Vegan in Volume published by The Vegetarian Resource Group.

Original recipe – From the book Simply Vegan

Chocolate Pudding (Serves 3)
1 1/2 Cups soy milk
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 Cup maple syrup
1/4 Cup cocoa powder
2 bananas, sliced (optional)

Whisk all the ingredients (except the bananas) together in a pot.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until pudding thickens.
Remove pot from stove. Stir in sliced bananas if desired. Chill for at least 15
minutes before serving.

Variation: Replace chocolate powder with non-dairy carob powder.

Total calories per serving: 198 Total fat as % of daily value: 6%
Protein: 7 gm Carbohydrates: 36 gm
Fat: 4 gm Calcium: 92 mg
Iron: 1 mg Sodium: 155 mg Dietary fiber: negligible

Store Brands John used:

Measurements for 12 servings:
soy milk: 6 cups ( 1.5 quarts )
corn starch: 3/4 cups
vanilla extract: 1 teaspoons
maple syrup: 1 cups
cocoa powder: 1 cups

Measurements for 24 servings:
soy milk: 12 cups (3 quarts)
corn starch: 1 1/2 cups
vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons
maple syrup: 2 cups
cocoa powder: 2 cups

Measurements for 30 servings:
soy milk: 15 cups ( 1 gallon minus 1 cup )
corn starch: 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tbsp
vanilla extract: 2 ½ teaspoons
maple syrup: 2 ½ cups
cocoa powder: 2 ½ cups

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