(Image courtesy of Spero Foods)
The holidays are a time for gathering with loved ones and celebrating another year together. And while we all love hosting and toasting, every year it seems there's something we forget. As you grab those last-minute items for the weekend, consider choosing some that are plant-based. Even if you don't go fully vegan or vegetarian, studies show that eating less meat and dairy can have a significant positive impact on the environment — and serving your guests something they'd "never guess!" was vegan is a great way to start the conversation about how choosing plant-based sometimes can be tasty, sustainable and fun. Interested? Try adding a few of these seasonal plant-based favorites to your last-minute shopping list, all conveniently available at mainstream grocers.
If 'nog is your thing around the holidays, you'll find a growing number of vegan options to mix things up a bit. Chobani, Trader Joe's and Elmhurst offer varieties made from oat milk, while Danone-owned brand So Delicious opts for coconut milk for its holiday nog. Other seasonal plant-based nogs include almond milk varieties from Califia Farms and Almond Breeze.
Bring that holiday charcuterie to new heights with seasonal plant-based cheeses that can stand toe-to-toe with the real thing. Start with New York-based Treeline, which has been perfecting the art of vegan cheesemaking for over a decade using cashews and good ol' fermentation. Available at mainstream grocers like Ralphs, Giant and Whole Foods, the brand's impressive lineup includes cheese board favorites like goat cheese, and its newly released Reserve line features cashew-based varieties of blue cheese and brie.
Next up, try a seasonal treat like the limited-edition white cheddar and cranberry plant-based cheese wedges from Good Planet Foods, or go classic with the long-anticipated vegan take on The Laughing Cow wedges and Babybel mini-rounds from France-based Bel Group — all of which are available at major grocers. You can also find aged artisan cashew cheeses from woman-owned Miyoko's Creamery at retailers like Walmart, Target and Safeway.
Even 150-year-old brand Philadelphia, owned by Kraft Heinz, is getting into the plant-based cheese game — launching its first vegan cream cheese earlier this month at select retailers in the U.S. Southeast. Spero Foods, a favorite of celebs like Lizzo, is also rolling out its hit sunflower cream cheeses in California Ralphs stores just in time to meet your seasonal schmear needs (the brand is already available at natural retailers like Whole Foods and Fresh Market).
With the ever-growing selection of dairy-free milks and plant-based egg substitutes, making vegan desserts from scratch has never been easier. But if you're looking for something ready-made to lend a hand this holiday season, your local grocer has plenty on offer. For starters, Black-owned brand Partake has your cookies covered, with its limited-edition vegan holiday sprinkle cookies bringing the cheer at major retailers like Walmart, Target and Kroger.
For a dairy-free topper for all your favorite pies, classic brand Reddi-wip now offers two vegan whipped cream options made from almond and coconut milk, and you can also find coconut milk varieties from brands like So Delicious and Truwhip. For ice cream, it's tough to get more festive than NadaMoo's seasonal plant-based peppermint bark.
Mary Mazzoni has reported on sustainability in business for over a decade and now serves as managing editor of TriplePundit. She is also the general manager of TriplePundit's Brand Studio, which has worked with dozens of brands and organizations on sustainability storytelling. Along with 3p, Mary's recent work can be found in publications like Conscious Company, Salon and Vice's Motherboard. She also works with nonprofits on media projects, including the women's entrepreneurship coaching organization Street Business School. She is an alumna of Temple University in Philadelphia and lives in the city with her partner and two spoiled dogs.