You know when you're watching Food Network and have the overwhelming desire to eat everything the chefs cook? Well sometimes that desire pushes you as far as deciding to purchase $50 of vegan snack food after watching a YouTube video, but when it's Lauren Toyota's video, it's okay.
For those of you who aren't as into the tube as me and her >250k fan base, Lauren Toyota is basically an herbivore's best resource. But, coming from a non-vegan, I'd say her channel, hot for food, proves she's one of the best chefs in the YouTube food business — period. I mean, who doesn't like comfort food like chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream and mashed potato waffles?
Recently, Lauren posted a Vegan Snack Haul, showcasing some snacks she picked and her first reactions after tasting them. Because of her food knowledge and experience, that grocery store when hungry phenomena, and her insane reactions to the snacks, I needed that food.
Three of my roommates (one vegan, two meat-eaters) and I taste tested the 12 snacks to experience Lauren's hype and give the Spooniverse some non-vegan perspective. So yeah, you're welcome, it was really taxing, but here are our thoughts.
A classic buttery, rich cracker may not seem that exciting, but you know who's gonna be there for you when you have a tub of dip and a grumbling stomach? Yep, Late July Organic Crackers will. These tasted the basically same as Ritz to us but with more crunch and less crumb. What more could you want amirite?!
"They're dang good" - We couldn't agree more, Lauren. These crispy caramelized sliced onions would def satisfy a chip craving and taste way more like an actual onion than your average funyon. And spoiler alert - Dang Onion Chips were one of our faves of the haul.
No, I thought Seaweed Pops was going to be a film about Hairspray's Seaweed singing pop songs too. I would've honestly been more disappointed but this snack makes up for it. This little seaweed *hand-wrapped* edamame pop really delivers on the sweet and salty flavor. Though not all of our panel liked this one as much, it just comes down to weather or not your a fan of seaweed (but know that Lauren says it's good for you aka you should probably be a fan). Would recommend if wanting to replace your sheets of nori.
Alright, so when you replace jerky with textured soy protein, it's not gonna be exactly the same. But for a vegan jerky replacement, LVJCo. did pretty well. The meat-eaters of the panel all agree that the flavor is there but the texture is not, and from a vegan perspective, it tastes just like jerky. Do with this information as you please, but vegan or not, why not sacrifice meat jerky texture for this animal-friendly product?
Okay so hi these are an absolute MUST TRY. These cookies are gluten free, nut free, and vegan, but they legit taste more sweet and crunchy and buttery than any cookie we've tried from the store in a while. I have no idea how or what these are made of, but I know that Lauren was right about these bad boys. And fun fact, this brand was created by an ER doctor - meaning you're basically prescribed to eat them.
You know that tiny piece of broccoli that gets burnt AF after you bake some florets? This snack = those. It's technically made from dehydrated broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and tossed in ranch seasoning, but really the burnt flavor is all that comes through. Personally, I'm into that and continued to eat this entire bag, but all the other roommates agree they'd rather just eat a carrot stick.
This snack is made by the same brand as the Dipperz, and they really seem to loooooove that burnt flavor. Somehow, we ranked these even a little lower than the Dipperz - but Lauren got her hands on the Cheezy Herb flavor that was sold out during our shopping trip. Definitely wish we could've tasted those instead of the Chili Pumpkin Seed Crunch, but overall, we think that if you were gonna pass up anything from this snack haul, these should be the first to go.
If you watched Lauren's video, you know how insanely good she made these look, and WOW she was right again. Unlike most candy, the peach flavor actually tasted accurate to the fruit. We loooooved, and also I guess they have a pomegranate flavor too?!? I NEED it, but I'm broke from buying all these snacks so you should try it out for me.
I definitely wish we could've tasted those, instead of the Chili Pumpkin Seed Crunch, but overall, we think that if you were gonna pass up anything from this snack haul, these should be one of the first things to go.
Sorry, I cheated here - Lauren tried the Forest Mint Dark Chocolate, but I absolutely despise mint chocolate and decided for my group that we could not order that ish. Instead, we tried the Sea Salt & Almond Dark Chocolate and queen, yaaaas. The richness, creaminess, and saltiness proved to us that vegan chocolate can be better than Dove. This brand is dark-chocolate-lover approved.
With Lauren's immediate "what the f#@%" reaction, needless to say we had no hesitation paying $10 to try this crack. While we agree with Lauren that "it would be really good on coconut yogurt" or even banana ice cream, we wouldn't say it was our absolute favorite thing ever. These rich clusters definitely satisfy a quick sweet craving, but we found the flavor to be more coconuty then us chocolate lovers would've preferred. I would use that money next time to get more licorice.
Unbeknownst to many, a ton of candy actually is not animal friendly due to the gelatin that gives the chewy texture. So treats like gummy bears, Starbursts, and marshmallows are a no-go for vegans. Now I know you Peach O lovers might be freaking out, but don't fret because these vegan Peach Rings don't sacrifice flavor. Though the texture better imitates those weird spice drop candies that your grandma might have, we still loved this candy.
Lauren is kinda known for her obsession with Mary's Gone Crackers, so she (and we) were pretty stoked to see what else this brand could offer besides their classic crackers. But these softer cookies didn't taste as authentic as Lucy's, and the chocolate chips sadly tasted like nothing. Though the "not too sugary" flavor tickled Lauren's fancy, we have to disagree. Sorry, but Mary - you gotta go back to crackers.
These rich clusters definitely satisfy a quick sweet craving, but we found the flavor to be more coconuty than we, chocolate lovers, would've preferred. I would use that money next time to get more of the licorice.
Okay so yes, we spent a helluvalata of our college budgets on these snacks, and yes we didn't love them all, but trying Lauren's snack haul showed us omnivore and herbivores the excitement in vegan snacking, and it introduced us to a lot of products that we most likely will purchase again. So go forth and watch Lauren's video, buy some of these snacks to justify me dropping $50 to write this article, and check out Lauren's coupon code on iHerb.com to get a discount on your order.Now, I know you peach ring lovers might be freaking out, but don't fret because these vegan Peach Rings don't sacrifice flavor. Though the texture better imitates those weird spice drop candies that your grandma might have, we still loved this candy. So, go forth and watch Lauren's video, buy some of these snacks to justify me dropping $50 to write this article, and check out Lauren's coupon code on iHerb.com to get a discount on your order.