10 Tasty Treats You Didn’t Know Were Vegan

the unscary vegan junk food

I’ll admit to being one of those vegans: I think avocados are proof of a benevolent universe, I genuinely love Brussels sprouts, and my mom never had to tell me to eat my vegetables when I was a kid.

That being said, sometimes I just want junk food. (Don’t we all?)

So while I generally advocate healthy foods, I’m also a firm believer that cutting out junk food entirely is as unhealthy as eating nothing but junk food. When you deny yourself something you really want, you’ll either A.) Eat massive portions to fill the hole left behind by your unfulfilled craving without ever feeling satisfied, or B.) Eventually snap and gorge yourself on an entire bag of Oreos because you haven’t allowed yourself to eat a few Oreos in months.

Sound familiar?

Yup, thought so. Definitely eat your fruits and veggies, but go ahead and have a freakin’ Oreo when you want one. Treat yourself to one of the following ten snacks, and you’ll be doing something for your mental health. Because they’re all vegan, you’re also doing something for the animals. Enjoy!

the unscary vegan unintentionally vegan snacks

1.) Oreos: Do I even have to mention these bites of deliciousness since I’ve already babbled about them several times? (You can’t tell these are a favorite, right? I’m totally unbiased here.) But how?! They taste so buttery and creamy! Oil. It’s a cheaper way to manufacture foods, and it has the added bonus of making them vegan-friendly.

2.) Cracker Jack: A lot of caramel is made with milk — ew, why? — but good, old-fashioned Cracker Jack is vegan. The ingredient list is actually short and sweet, too: Corn, corn syrup, peanuts, popcorn, sugar, molasses, and soybean oil.

3.) Pop Tarts (unfrosted only): The frosted ones are laden with milk and gelatin — why so gross, people? — but the unfrosted variety? Vegan-friendly and a quarantine staple for me. I literally have a case of the blueberry ones. They’re delicious in the toaster, but I actually prefer them cold. Maybe it’s just me. I can’t be the only one. Please comment if you prefer your Pop Tarts cold so I won’t feel like the weirdest person on the planet.

4.) Pillsbury Crescents: Despite the buttery taste, these carb-loaded rolls of deliciousness are vegan, and when you slather them in vegan butter, yum! They’re off the chain.

5.) Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup: I literally texted all my vegan friends and family about this one while researching for this post. That’s how excited I was. It’s kind of ridiculous, really, but I won’t apologize for my love of chocolate. This is especially exciting given my next unintentionally vegan treat.

6.) Sara Lee Sweet Hawaiian Rolls: I used to miss King’s Hawaiian Rolls, but now that I’ve discovered their vegan alternative, I don’t even think about them anymore. Made without the eggs, milk, and butter of their more famous counterparts, these Hawaiian rolls pair perfectly with Hershey’s syrup. Not even kidding. Warm them up, dunk them in chocolate syrup, and prepare to live your best life.

the unscary vegan snacks you didn't know were vegan

7.) Skittles: Aw, I have a cat named Skittles. It’s because she’s a calico and therefore “rainbow colored,” and Skittles’ slogan is “taste the rainbow.” The brand, not the cat. She doesn’t have a slogan. But I digress. They’re made of sugar, citric acid, corn syrup, and vegan-friendly dye. No crushed beetles here!

8.) Thomas’ Bagels: According to PETA, their 100% Whole Wheat, Blueberry, Cinnamon Swirl, Cinnamon Raisin, Everything, Onion, Plain, and Plain Made With Whole Grain are all vegan! Slather them with vegan butter — or vegan cream cheese — and you have the world’s most perfect breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or 4am snack… who are you to judge me?! Ahem.

9.) SkinnyPop White Cheddar Flavored Popcorn: Wait, what?! I did a double take, too, until I read the ingredient list, which reads as follows: Popcorn, sunflower oil, natural non-dairy cheddar flavor, salt, rice flour, natural flavor, and lactic acid. Gimme a second while I add some to my Instacart order.

10.) Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies: I actually wept tears of joy over this one. Okay, so… it’s that time of the month, and I’m a little emotional, but I feel no shame in admitting I happy cried over cookies. Thin Mints are my all-time favorite cookie and one of my favorite things on the entire planet, so I was thrilled to find out I can still eat them.

Were you surprised by anything on the list? What are some of your favorite accidentally vegan snacks?

Vegan Gnocchi With Kale And Walnuts

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Quarantine Day 50. I can no longer remember what a Starbucks coconut milk latte tastes like. I have not worn real pants in two months. The concept of “day pajamas” and “night pajamas” is a thing of the past; I just wear the same pajamas until I shower again.

But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about food. I have lots of cool things in the works, and I recently collaborated with my brother-from-another-mother on a recipe over FaceTime. We played around with ingredients, tweaked it until it was utterly delicious, and now I’m sharing it with you because he’s a luddite without a blog.

You’ll need:

  • Gnocchi
  • Kale
  • Walnuts
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt
  • Shredded vegan parmesan cheese (we love this one)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (canned works well)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or mashed (you can use less if you’re not big on garlic, but why?)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (check out Barnivore to find out which wines are vegan!)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

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What to do:

1.) Boil some water and cook your gnocchi according to the directions on the package. It’s usually 2-3 minutes. During the last minute, add your kale to the pot. Drain the tasty gnocchi/kale mixture and make sure it cover it with a plate to keep it from drying out.

2.) Add your oil to a large pot along with the garlic, taking care not to let it burn. When your kitchen starts to smell like you’ve crawled inside a loaf of garlic bread, it’s time to add the flour. Mix it in with your garlic until it forms a paste, and then pour in the wine. Allow this to simmer for 3-5 minutes until it starts to reduce.

3.) Pour in your coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil, and let it bubble away for 5-7 minutes until it thickens. Make sure to stir it occasionally, but don’t stir it continuously, as this will make it take forever to thicken, and you’ll want to eat now.

4.) Add your gnocchi, kale, and walnuts to the pot, stirring to make sure everything is coated evenly. Cook for about a minute to warm the walnuts through and release their natural oils.

5.) Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then sprinkle your shredded parmesan on top. You can also garnish it with more walnuts or a dash of red pepper flakes for a bit more bite.

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There you have it! A hearty, fulfilling recipe with all the creamy goodness of dairy with none of the cruelty. You can definitely adapt this recipe to suit your taste if you hate kale or walnuts like some of the weirdos in my family, but keep in mind that all veggies require different cooking times. If you want something like broccoli or carrots, that will take longer to cook. Or you could do what I do and cheat — I use the frozen versions from Bird’s Eye all the time.  Steam them in the microwave, stir them in, and voila! (Note that some of the Bird’s Eye veggies come packed in a butter sauce, so read the labels carefully.)

What’s your favorite pasta recipe? Leave me a comment, or tag me on Instagram using #theunscaryvegan so I can see it!

Go-To Vegan Granola

After naming my last entry after granola, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes for granola. From here on out, there’ll be no more shelling out big bank for tasty goodness. Best of all, you can customize it to your preferences. My granola is great on its own as a snack, served with your favorite vegan yogurt, or as the perfect crunchy topping for oatmeal. (Keep it in the fridge in a sealed container for added freshness.)

theunscaryvegangotogranola

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (or your nut or seed butter of choice)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (you can use vanilla, but almond extract is my secret ingredient to almost everything I bake)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

theunscaryvegangranolarecipe

What to do:

1.) Preheat your oven to 325F. While the oven is heating up, mix all your wet ingredients in a bowl.

2.) Add the oats, seeds, and nuts into your wet mixture, folding your ingredients to make sure everything is evenly coated. Then dump it onto a coated or lined baking sheet, spreading it out into a thin layer.

3.) For baking, I always use the bottom rack in the oven because it seems to cook more evenly, but some ovens differ. Use whichever rack you use for baking and pop it in for 20 minutes. Take it out, add your cranberries — or whatever dried fruit you want to use — give it a quick stir to incorporate the fruit, and pop it back in for an additional 5-7 minutes.

4.) Eat! The granola will keep for a month in the fridge or at room temperature in sealed container.

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It’s that easy. What’s your favorite way to use granola?

The Granola Gamble: Why I Rebranded

theunscaryvegan

As you probably noticed, a few things have changed around here. I’ve been waffling back and forth with the idea for months but finally decided to take the plunge. Littleevil.co is now officially theunscaryvegan.com, and I’m honestly still a little bit freaked out. I’ve had some version of my old blog name for close to four years now, and I wondered, “What will this do to my organic traffic? Am I going to take a hit?” In the end, I decided it was better to stay true to myself and take the risk than it was to cling to something because it was already there.

I decided on the name The Unscary Vegan because I firmly believe that being an asshole isn’t helping the vegan movement at all. If I get up in somebody’s face and scream at them, they’re going to call me a lunatic and walk off. On the other hand, if I feed them a heaping serving of my vegan taco salad and then tell them, “Hey, it really is that easy,” they’re much more receptive. This is important to me. I care about animals, and I care about the planet. End of story. It was time for my social media to reflect it no matter how much I giggled over naming my blog after one of my cats.

friendsnotfood

So here’s the thing: I’m going to cheer you on every step of the way. Every little change helps. If you drink almond milk instead of dairy, good for you! If you participate in Meatless Mondays, that’s awesome! If you decided to buy your leather handbag secondhand so you don’t contribute to animal cruelty, I’m so proud of you.

Here’s another thing: we are all human, and guess what? Humans are animals, too. I don’t want to be a dick to animals. Any of them.

veganfortheanimals

I’m still recovering from whatever the hell this is — my uncle, who is a doctor and not an armchair diagnostician, thinks it’s Covid — so I can’t promise a dozen new posts right off the bat, but they’re coming. Skincare is still my passion, so I’ll be sharing loads of products with you, and while I do use my old leather bags because I don’t believe in being wasteful, I also want to highlight some awesome vegan brands, too.

Sound off in the comments and let me know what you want to see!