Veggie Bits

Just Like Honey!

It’s not unusual for companies to make lofty claims, but when testing this product amongst fellow Vegetarian Resource Group staffers and friends, they repeatedly confirmed, “It tastes just like honey!” We’re not just excited because the product is so aptly named; with such a convincing new substitution, all sorts of possibilities flooded my vegan brain. Just Like Honey will be at home sweetening black tea, spread on a just-baked biscuit, or drizzled over oatmeal. The traditional Rosh Hashanah snack that symbolizes a sweet new year has just not been the same with apples and maple syrup or agave nectar, so it’s a good thing that Just Like Honey is certified Kosher, as well as organic and gluten-free. It is made of a blend of brown rice syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup, and other natural flavors by Suzanne’s Specialties. There are other rice nectar blends available, including blueberry, raspberry, and maple, but the chocolate rice nectar syrup is worth a special mention. It has a rich cocoa flavor and sauce-like consistency that would perfectly top off a vegan ice cream sundae. You can purchase any of the rice syrup blends, including Just Like Honey, in 16-oz jars for $5.25, or even in gallon jugs, for $34, at You can also look for them at Wegmans, Shaw’s, Whole Foods, or your local natural foods store. Written by Samantha Gendler.

Tasty Taft

The Taft Seitan Gyro is always one of the most popular products at every vegetarian event I’ve attended in New York City; there are always lines forming to try the samples. Created by Jessica Taft, a graduate of The National Gourmet Institute, the innovative vegan seitan creations offer texture and flavor that’s hard to overlook. These mock meats possess a lot of character in their flavor and make a mean vegan sandwich. Taft products are certified vegan, Kosher, and contain no GMOs or preservatives.

For my Taft Gyro experience, I made a grilled sandwich with vegan cheese. The Taft meat comes precooked and could be consumed without being heated, but the taste is enhanced when served hot. The strips are the perfect portion size and come in a wonderful resealable bag for storing. Taft products can be stored in the freezer or fridge for extended lengths of time and still retain freshness. I used only 2 to 3 slices to make a complete sandwich, which means a little goes a long way. The Taft product also packs a lot of protein at 25 grams per serving! You could use this product on pizza and salads, but in my opinion, Taft Seitan Gyro always tastes best as a sandwich.

Whether you’re a fan of innovative products or just enjoy wonderful mock meats that don’t lack flavor, you will love the Taft Seitan Gyro. Written by Gabrielle St. Claire, VRG volunteer.

Simple and Healthy Boxed Rice Entrees

I have a gift for messing up dishes that should be quite simple to cook, like rice. However, I executed several of Lund-berg’s new Organic Whole Grain Rice and Seasoning Mixes without a hitch, and was rewarded with so much more than just rice. There are 11 varieties total, ranging from Organic Wild Porcini Mushroom Whole Grain & Wild Rice, which has a lovely nutty flavor, to my favorite, Organic Whole Grain Jambalaya, which blends brown rice with garlic, onion, bell peppers, tomato, and other Bayou-reminiscent spices. There are also rice blends options, which mix in lentils, and red or black beans. A variety of flavor profiles, from Mediterranean (Organic Garlic & Basil Whole Grain Wild Rice) to East Indian (Organic Mild Curry Whole Grain Lentils & Rice) are explored. All mixes are organic, vegan, Kosher, gluten free, and pleasantly foolproof. They are hearty alone, but could make an impressive dinner with veggies or tofu mixed in. I’m particularly excited to revisit the Jambalaya mix, topped with my favorite vegan spicy sausages. Lundberg’s new organic rice entrées are available in supermarkets and natural foods stores nationwide and sold at a suggested retail price of $3.69 for a 6-oz package. Written by Samantha Gendler.

Juice Boost

Nothing beats the taste of fresh-pressed juice, but who has time for all that washing, peeling, and chopping, followed by 10 minutes of cleaning out the juicer? R.W. Knudsen’s Nature’s Peak juices blend fruits and cleverly hidden veggies without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Don’t let the olive-green color of the Orchard Veggie Blend throw you off; it tastes only of fruit—apple, kiwi, and pear—but contains spinach and carrot juice, sweet potato, and spirulina. The Berry Veggie Blend is tart and wonderful, and tastes like crushed blackberries, which are the fourth ingredient. Kids especially are sure to enjoy the Tropical Veggie Blend, not suspecting the carrot and sweet potato juice hiding behind the pineapple and mango flavors. All three blends are 50/50 mixes of fruits and veggies and are delicious alone or added to a smoothie. Visit to locate Nature’s Peak juices near you. Written by Samantha Gendler.

Treeline Cheeses

If you know a vegetarian who is having a difficult time transitioning to a vegan diet because of a love for gourmet cheese, Treeline Cheese just may be the answer.

The two varieties of soft cheeses, Scallion French-Style Soft Cheese and Herb-Garlic French-Style Soft Cheese, are elegant. They are at home paired with a glass of wine, dabbed on a salad of field greens and balsamic vinaigrette, or spread on a baguette. They are made through a process of fermentation of cultured cashews, but taste just like dairy. It’s tough to believe this soft, creamy, flavorful goodness is vegan, and cholesterol-free, too.

The two hard cheeses offered by Treeline, Classic Hard Cheese, which has a smoky flavor and edible rind, and Cracked Pepper Hard Cheese, which is tangy and dusted with spicy, freshly-cracked black pepper, are less convincing as animal-based cheese stand-ins than the soft varieties, but are still impressive. They’d be a hit grated over pasta, stirred into risotto, or served plain with crackers or bread. To locate a natural foods store that sells Treeline Cheeses near you, visit Written by Samantha Gendler.

Vegan Cuts

‘Surprise’ subscription services have become all the rage. The premise is exciting: you pay a flat rate for a monthly delivery of goodies. You never know what you’ll get, and that’s the fun of it. I received a 3-month beauty product subscription from another popular service as a gift, and while it was fun opening surprise packages, the products were seldom in line with my values. Enter Vegan Cuts. They have two subscription services of all vegan products: one for food – Snack Box – and one for beauty – Beauty Box. The Snack Box contains 7-10 completely vegan goodies, with a different selection each month. Favorites in my recent Snack Box included Harvest Snaps snap pea crisps, Barbara’s animal-shaped cereal, and a Raw Revolution coconut chocolate energy bar. The Beauty Box contains 4-7 cruelty-free personal care products, from shampoo, to makeup, to skincare. My sample included some familiar brands, like Pacifica, but others completely new to me, like Rainbow Honey. Vegan Cuts subscription boxes make great gifts, for yourself or others, and are $19.95 per month. Visit to order or to shop the products offered in their boxes. Written by Samantha Gendler.

Amy’s Ice Cream

From Amy’s Kitchen, maker of so many other vegan products we love, from burritos to rice bowls and soups, comes four new flavors of vegan ice cream: Chocolate, Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, and the hands-down office favorite, Mocha Chocolate Chip. The non-dairy frozen goodness has a coconut milk base and contains all organic ingredients. It’s also certified Kosher and gluten free. The ice cream originated at ‘Plant,’ a vegan restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, where it was a popular dessert. Once the Amy’s family tried it, they knew it had to go mainstream. You can now find Amy’s frozen desserts in major supermarkets and natural foods stores nationwide. To locate the closest retailer near you, visit Written by Samantha Gendler.