With the rise of vegetarianism and veganism, more and more companies have been shifting to plant-based ingredients. While I love all vegan food, some vegan-friendly products truly have a special place in my heart. This list explores my favorite vegan-friendly foods and the companies that are passionate enough to make them.

1. Sari Nutritional Yeast

A relatively new brand, Sari strives to bring its customers the “essence of food.” Some vegans opt for fortified "nooch" (an affectionate nickname for nutritional yeast), but fortified products often don’t have high bioavailability, meaning that it is harder for our bodies to digest and absorb the added nutrients despite them being present in the food. With Sari, you can be confident in purchasing whole superfoods that have never seen the inside of a lab.

2. Ben and Jerry's Non-Dairy Coconut Seven Layer Bar Ice Cream

Behold, the rich decadence of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has left behind the cows and gone vegan! Now with nine vegan flavors, Ben and Jerry’s has gotten the Vegan Certified stamp of approval and carefully crafts their flavors with an almond milk base. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but Coconut Seven Layer Bar is definitely up there: extra creamy and loaded with fudge chunks, walnuts, and swirls of graham cracker and caramel, it’s a hard temptation to resist.

3. Victoria Vegan Alfredo Arugula Pesto

Victoria Vegan is a branch of the Victoria company whose philosophy and motto is that ingredients come first. Their sauces are vegan, vegetarian, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and peanut-free, and some are even soy-free and nut-free. My personal favorite is their Alfredo Arugula Pesto—it’s a creamy pesto sauce with a cashew cream base that will make you ditch the parmesan for good.

4. Field Roast Sausage

Field Roast is an entirely vegan brand that produces non-GMO and soy-free meat and cheese substitutes. They use wheat protein to replicate the texture of meat, bind the ingredients together, and create high protein products. Their sausages are delicious—probably because they focus on sustainability, high-quality products, and the heritage of their ingredients and flavors. My personal favorite is their smoked apple sage sausage. The flavors are dynamic, the texture is dense, and to be honest, it is the best sausage I’ve ever had.

5. Lightlife Fakin' Bacon

Lightlife is a company dedicated to providing great tasting vegetarian food. Since 1979, their company has been growing; from beginning by working out of a converted car wash to their new and improved current factory, their focus has always been on plant proteins and great tasting foods. They’ve also been dedicated to using non-GMO products since 1999 and all their products are certified by the non-GMO project. If you’re trying to cut out meat but missing the bacon, their Fakin’ Bacon is perfectly seasoned and super delicious without any of the cruelty.

6. Annie Chun's Noodle Bowls

Forget other instant noodles—the Annie Chun brand has continuously offered more and more non-GMO, gluten-free and organic choices. What’s more is that they obviously care about their customers; after several customers reached out to them on Twitter, they changed their noodle and soup bowls back to entirely vegan ingredients. Their recipes are delicious, nutritious, gourmet, and authentic. For a mild noodle bowl, reach for the Teriyaki, and for a little bit more heat, grab a Kung Pao bowl.

7. Eat Pastry Cookie Dough

Eat Pastry is a 100% non-GMO and vegan company. Their facility is a dedicated vegan facility, which means absolutely no cross-contamination with eggs or milk. The facility is also certified Gluten Free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization and they even make a few varieties of soy-free cookie dough. They truly have something for everyone, and they even treat the flour they use so you can be confident in taking a spoon and digging right in.

This list is not an all-inclusive list of my favorite vegan foods. Heck, I could've written a list of vegetables and it still would have been a list of my favorite vegan foods. Rather, this is a guide for the vegan or vegan-inclined foodie who may be struggling to give up the ice cream and bacon (may or may not be speaking from personal experience) or to simply try something new. My challenge for you is to try new foods, experiment with new cuisine, support dedicated companies, and keep up (or try) your vegan diet. And, most importantly, bon appetit!