To find tasty plant-based products, you don’t need to patronize fancy natural markets or high-end grocers. In fact, savvy shoppers can find plenty of veg-friendly products at big-box stores, chain grocers and even convenience stores. This might not seem like a revelation—at its core, a plant-based diet requires fairly basic ingredients, like beans, rice and fresh or frozen veggies. But these grocers stock some unexpected plant-based items, too.

For example, big-box stores and chain grocers sell a wide range of plant-based meat and dairy products. On your next grocery run, ask a staff member which aisle they’re in and see what you can find—maybe it’s time to try non-dairy ice cream or an egg-free mayo.

Plant based burrito with beans and rice
Replace beef with beans when using taco or fajita kits for a filling plant-based meal.
Michelle Riley

Crave familiarity? Let me introduce you to “accidentally vegan” foods, mainstream items that are already plant-based. These products can make it easy for folks transitioning from the standard American diet to a more humane one—especially if you’re trying to feed picky kiddos. Check the labels of your favorite products, and you might be surprised that they’re already vegan. (For example, many breakfast cereals are plant-based—so why not try almond, oat or soy milk instead of cow milk for an animal-free breakfast?)

If you’re not going from omnivorous to fully plant-based overnight, no sweat: You’re already making a huge difference for animals, just by incorporating simple switches. Read on for some easy-to-find accidentally plant-based products, and feel free to share your favorite discoveries with us.

Plant-based pancake mix

That ubiquitous yellow box of biscuit mix that’s probably already in your pantry? Yeah, it’s vegan. With some simple modifications, you can serve up a plant-based version of your favorite Saturday-morning pancakes: Combine 2 cups biscuit mix, 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons baking powder, then gently stir in 1 cup plant milk, adding up to ½ cup more milk to reach your desired consistency. Cook as usual and top with maple syrup and plant-based butter.

Savory staples

Many meals you already enjoy can be made animal-friendly with minimal effort. Most boxed pastas are plant-based (a few use eggs) and plenty of jarred sauces are good to go. Some boxed rice mixes, canned veggie or lentil soups, noodle bowls and taco/fajita kits are veg-friendly, too. Just replace beef with beans in your tacos—or try a plant-based meat alternative.

Oreo cookie
Many mainstream items in your grocery store are “accidentally vegan,” including some tasty treats!

Sweet treats

No need to skip dessert! Many cookies, candies and even cake and brownie mixes are already plant-based. Grab a package of Oreos or Nutter Butters if you need a quick treat, or pick up a mix if you’ve got more time (Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury all have animal-free options). When baking, replace the egg with your favorite substitution (some easy options: ¼ cup applesauce, ¼ cup vegan yogurt, 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water, or a commercial egg replacer). Bake and top with a vegan frosting from Duncan Hines (look for the home-style and whipped varieties).

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This was written and produced by the team behind All Animals, our award-winning magazine. Each issue is packed with inspiring stories about how we are changing the world for animals together.

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