Everyone loves to snack. Whether your tastes run sweet, salty, or both, this year’s Plant Based World Expo had a wide selection of foods to tickle your taste buds. Most of them were kosher (and a few were in the process of getting approval).
Plant Snacks makes a variety of chips from cassava root, the same plant that is the source of tapioca. These savory and light crackers have a great crunch, are colorful, and come in sea salt, salt & vinegar, super seed, cheddar, beet & goat cheese, and ranch. The beet and goat cheese had a very mild flavor, and the Super Seed Mix was mildly savory, the latter made with pea protein, mushroom powder, flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Both would be excellent neutral chips for dip. All are grain free, gluten-free, nut and other allergen-free, and certified pareve by the Kof-K. Find them online and at Whole Foods, Walmart, Shoprite, and Wegmans.
Puffed Quinoa is a light snack to add to cereal or yogurt, or to just eat out of the bag. Think of it like Rice Krispies without the sugar. They are marketed as crunchy, though my sample pack was a bit soft. Available online from Hkav Industries; certified fair trade and organic; and certified kosher by the London Beit Din.
With all the hullabaloo about Impossible Pork, you might think that a snack called pork rinds would never get approval from the OU, but you would be wrong. Pig Out Porkless Pork Rinds from Outstanding Foods do not taste like pork, but they have the crunch and savory flavors of the ubiquitous snack. Available in several flavors (Texas BBQ, Nacho Cheese, Hella Hot, and original), these puffed snacks will satisfy any pigskin fan watching the Super Bowl. If you are like me and never ate real pork rinds, they are made from dried skins that are fried and puffed. Pig Out Porkless Rinds have a similar texture and, like real rinds, are high protein, low carb, and have about the same amount of fat. However, unlike their animal-based counterpart, these vegan rinds have very little saturated fat, no trans-fat, and no cholesterol. They are thicker than regular chips, like very crunchy and substantial cheese puffs. The salt and vinegar flavor had good umami and a nice saltiness. Find this OU-certified snack at Walmart and gourmet shops, as well as online.
Crunchsters. This was my absolute favorite salty snack. Available in bags and single serve pouches, they are made from sprouted mung beans. They have about 5g of protein per serving. Small (about the size of Rice Krispies), crunchy, salty, and flavorful, they come in four flavors. The Simply Sea Salt was neutral in flavor, like a salty chip. The Sweet Heat BBQ was spicy, with hints of tomato, pepper and smoke; Tangy Balsamic was sweet, sour, and irresistible. I enjoyed the Beyond Bacon on baked potato with sour cream. They make a nice topping for salads, vegetables, soup, or mac and cheese. They are certified pareve by the Star-K. Find them on Amazon, Thrive, Whole Foods and FreshDirect
So you got the chips, you need dip, right? Veggiecopia makes single serve hummus, roasted red pepper hummus and black bean dips with OU pareve certification, perfect for on the go snacking, packed lunches, day trips, and anytime you don’t want to take a big bowl with you. They also make pitted green olives (OK). Available as a subscription from their website or direct from Deliciousness.com.
And when you want a spread, dressing or dip, OU-certified Plant Bliss makes a vegan mayo as well as chipotle, ranch, and blue cheese-style spreads.
Dried fruits are ubiquitous, so what makes RIND Snacks different? First, they don’t peel the fruit slices. The peel has fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus keeping it on means less processing and no waste. They contain no added sugar, gluten-free, and are made of whole fruit. There are several varieties, including crispy Kiwi, Apple and Orange chips and chewy snacks: Strawberry/Pear/Apple (our favorite), Peach/Apple/Persimmons, Kiwi/Pineapple, Orange, and Watermelon/Coconut. A mix with banana chips is on its way. These were irresistible. My family really loved them as snacks, and they can be great additions to smoothies, cakes, ice cream, or even a charcuterie board (there are lots of recipes on their website). Certified by the Star-K and available online, at CVS, Whole Foods, and other retailers.
For a more substantial snack, many of us love protein bars. Lupii makes an OU-certified bar from the very high protein lupini bean. We tried the Almond Butter Cinnamon Raisin, which was reminiscent of a Lara Bar but was both less sweet and dense, hence easier to chew– a perfect texture without a hint of graininess. The Peanut Butter and Cacao Nib was fruity. Lupii bars are sweet without added sugar, are grain free, and are full of whole food soy-free protein and fiber, which differentiates them from other bars on the market. You can find them online.
Whoa Dough Cookie Dough bars are gluten free and come in Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Sugar Cookie, and Brownie. The Peanut Butter was well balanced between sweet and salty and had a strong nutty flavor. The Chocolate Chip was soft, sweet, slightly grainy with strong hints of brown sugar and vanilla. Certified by the OU and available online and from Amazon and Whole Foods.
Fat Badger Bakery makes individually-wrapped cookies in 8 flavors: Vanilla Bean, Toasted Coconut, Sweet Raspberry, Oatmeal Chip, Cinnamon Sugar, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Sea Salt, and Chocolate Chip. Cookies are made to order and are certified by the OU. Pas Yisroel versions are available on special order; all are non-GMO, peanut, egg and preservative-free. Our tasters found the Vanilla to have a very mild flavor. One taster liked the balance of sweet and salty in the Chocolate Sea Salt while the other felt it was too salty.
Rule Breaker makes snack packs of cookie bites: Birthday Cake, Deep Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Chunk Blondie, Mint Chocolate, peanut-free P’nutter Chocolate Chip, and Pumpkin Spice. The P’nutter Chocolate had a mild nutty flavor that was not too sweet, very chocolatey and chewy. Their Deep Chocolate Brownie was similarly not overly sweet or fudgy, and had a deep, intense dark chocolate flavor. Made from chickpea flour and Kof-K certified, Gluten-Free, top-8 allergen-free, and non-GMO, you can find them in kosher markets and online.
Marshmallows have always been hard to find kosher since they traditionally require gelatin. One brand on the market for many years had a very questionable certification, and the most popular kosher brand one’s currently available are made with fish gelatin, which is not suitable for vegans.
Enter Dandies from Chicago with plain, maple, pumpkin, peppermint, and vanilla flavors, and in regular size and mini. These are the real thing, perfect for backyard smores, roasting on a stick, in Rice Krispie bars, or as an addition to sweet potato casserole or hot cocoa. The texture is perfect and the taste is spot on. Certified by the CRC (Chicago), they are available on Amazon, Fresh Direct, Whole Foods, Wegman’s, and other local markets.
For chocolate lovers with allergies, there is now No Whey Foods chocolate bars and candy-coated chocolates. They are free of milk, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, eggs, soy, sesame, artificial colors and flavors. They have truffles, lemon hearts, filled chocolates (caramel, raspberry, etc.), sunflower butter cups, cookie bars, “no-no’s” (like M&Ms), rice crunch, morsels, mints, pretzels, gummies, and seasonal treats for Chanukah as well as national holidays. I brought home some “No No’s.” They use natural colors, so they are not the bright, neon colors of the mainstream candies, but they were crunchy, tasty, and satisfying. Certified by the OK and available in kosher stores and online.
Finally, two very interesting products whose certification is in progress: P-nuff peanut and navy bean puffs, and the one I am most looking forward to, Wonderlab’s Doozy Pots oat and hemp-based gelato in flavors like chocolate raspberry swirl, banana cinnamon date swirl, vanilla bean, coffee, and chocolate mint.
The Plant Based World Expo returns to New York in September, so look for more new product updates in the fall.