It's complicated enough being allergic to soy as an omnivore, given how it's often hiding in all sorts of foods. But, when you're pursuing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, you're suddenly confronted with a whole lot more soy. Tofu, tempeh and textured vegetable protein are off limits. Likewise, you'll find that a number of meat substitutes like Tofurky, Gardein and Morningstar brand products contain soy.
So, what's a soy-allergic vegetarian or vegan to do?
Well, the best foods for soy-free vegan or vegetarian are fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. You'll find lots to explore in all of these food categories!
But, sometimes you might want a convenience food or need a substitute for meat or dairy in a traditional dish. The good news is, as one of the top seven allergens, soy is now more prominently labeled at the end of an ingredient list. You can see two examples here from a box of gingersnaps (contains soy!) and baked wheat crackers (may contains soy! See - it's everywhere!)
Here are products I've found that are vegetarian and/or vegan friendly, but don't contain soy. Since I know a number of folks who have gluten issues, I am also noting those products that are gluten free, since I know a number of both veg and ominvore folks who have issues with gluten.
This list will be a work in progress, so watch this space for new additions!
When I had to start checking labels, I was really surprised to see how many breads contain soy! Here are some soy free options:
Spring Mill Bread Company (Vegetarian - Contains Honey) - This DC area bakery has its own locations, and also sells its breads in local stores, such as Grosvenor Market. No dairy products or oils are used in the making of the breads. While they're more expensive than your average loaf of bread, the quality is excellent, and it's worth having a soy-free option for this staple.
Sunshine Burger (Vegan) - Sunshine Burgers get are made with raw sunflower seeds, brown rice and produce. There are six different varieties available, all of which are vegan and appear to be gluten-free.
Flamous Falafel Chips (Vegan) - Flamous Falafel Chips are made with fava beans, chickpeas and black beans. In addition to being vegan and soy-free, they are also gluten-free and kosher certified.
Food Should Taste Good "The Works" Chips (Vegan) - While some varieties of these chips have soy, this one I tried does not. It's also gluten free. It was good with both hummus and guacamole.
Almond Breeze (Vegan) - Available in original, vanilla and chocolate flavors, as well as in refrigerated and shelf-stable forms. Great on cereal!
Daiya Cheese (Vegan) - Daiya is a shredded cheese substitute. It is currently available in cheddar, mozzarella and pepperjack styles. Daiya is also gluten free.
- View a list of stores that carry Daiya
- View my cooking experiments with daiya
- Follow Daiya on Twitter
Earth Balance Soy Free (Vegan) - I use this as a spread, as well as to saute vegetables and finish sauces. While the original blend of Earth Balance (contains soy) is widely available in DC-area grocery stores, I have only been able to find it locally at Whole Foods. This product is also gluten free.
Pacific Natural Foods Nut and Grain Beverages - Pacific Organic makes a variety of milk alternatives, including beverages made from almond, hemp, oat, rice and hazelnut. Flavors include unsweetened varieties, vanilla and chocolate.
Rice Dream (Vegan) - Rice Dream is a milk substitute and is available in a variety of flavors. I like to use this as a milk substitute when making vegan friendly pastas and other heated dishes. You can also buy it in juice box style six packs, which is great if you only need a little.
Falafel Republic (Vegan) - Falafel republic makes a traditional and roasted garlic falafel that you can easily reheat at home. Falafel Republic products are also gluten free.
Amy's Kitchen (Vegetarian & Vegan Options Available) - Amy's has 88 products to choose from, all of which are vegetarian or vegan. Amy's is incredibly sensitive to food allergies, proving special diet and allergen resource pages (including one on soy) a search page where you can look for products that are soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. My soy-free search came up with 191 results! Some of my favorites include Palak Paneer (Vegetarian, Gluten Free) and Black Bean Tamale Verde (Vegan, Gluten Free).
Macaroni and Cheese
Amy's Rice Macaroni with Dairy Free Cheeze (Vegan) - The "Cheeze" flavor comes from daiya, nutritional yeast and mustard powder. This product is also gluten free.
- View a list of stores that carry Amy's products
- View my product review of Amy's Mac & Cheeze
- Follow Amy's Kitchen on Twitter
Follow Your Heart Soy Free Veganaise (Vegan) - This product is both soy free and gluten free! I've seen veganaise used in vegan aiolis, as well as to help breading stick to veg.
Field Roast Grain Meat Company (Vegan) - Field Roast makes vegan friendly sausages, lunch meats and roasts.
- View a list of stores that carry Field Roast products.
- View my cooking experiments with Field Roast products
Quorn (Vegetarian - Contains Trace Amounts of Egg & Milk) - Quorn products are made of mycoprotein, which come from the mushroom family. It's available in a variety of forms, including grounds, patties, nuggets and cutlets. I'm a particular fan of their Chick'n Nuggets. Keep in mind that most Quorn products do contain gluten.
- View a list of stores that carry Quorn Products
- View my cooking experiments with Quorn Products
- Follow Quorn on Twitter
Amy's Kitchen - Amy's gets the nod here again. I particularly like their Minestrone (Vegan) and their Lentil Vegetable (Vegan and Gluten Free).
Wild Harvest Organic - Wild Harvest has a variety of fresh produce and grocery products. I've enjoyed their Lentil Soup (Vegan).