It’s been a while since I did a random round-up of vegan snacks (re: Vegan Chocolate Attack, Healthy Snack Obsession and Vegan Sweets and Snacks) but I’ve been having really good luck trying new things lately and wanted to share. Some of these are not so much snacks as pantry items, but hear me out because they’re worth a try.

1. Rule Breaker Snacks

Duuuuuuuuuuude. The folks at Rule Breaker Snacks reached out to me to see if I wanted to try their new Birthday Cake flavor (they’ve had Deep Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Chunk Brownie for a minute now) and I went from having zero expectations to being a fan in one bite. These chickpea-based brownies (in some cases, blondies) are gluten-free, free of most of the top allergens (nuts, dairy, eggs) and good god, so good. They aren’t in any stores near me (Chicago) but you can buy them by the case on Amazon – and you should.

2. Aloha Organic Protein Bars

Aloha and my company I Heart Keenwah did a product swap – it’s a fun thing food brands do, mail each other snacks. They sent us a million protein bars and again, I had no expectations. I’ve just been burned by too many gross, chalky protein bars. But theirs remind me of cookie dough – they’re chewy and sweet (but not too sweet). I tried the peanut butter chocolate chip one and it honestly tastes like dessert, but has the nutritional profile of a healthy snack. I’ll also be talking about their protein powder in an upcoming post about, um… protein powder.

3. Endorfin Foods Chocolate

I saw Endorfin Foods in a list of NorCal products for something I was doing for work. Curious, I checked out their website and almost fell off my chair when I saw they offer an Absinthe flavor. You might recall that I’m obsessed with controversial flavors like licorice and absinthe. While I do love the complex flavor of that bar, my favorite is their Coconut Mylk Chocolate with Ginger and Rose. It’s a must for any chocolate lover. I’m hoping they get expanded distribution this year, but in the meantime you can order them online, and keep an eye out for a collab bar with I Heart Keenwah.

4. Beyond Sausage

OK. Before we begin, let me tell you that these are $8.99/pack and a lot of people on Twitter have a lot of opinions about that. My opinion is don’t buy it if you don’t want to. Me? I bought four packs the day they hit the stores because I’m the fuckin’ 2 Chainz of vegan sausages. These gluten-free links are unlike any vegan sausage you have ever tried. They aren’t seitan. The taste and texture is so realistic I panicked. The casing crisps when you cook them, and has a snap. If you can get your hands on a pack it’s worth the (apparent) splurge. (Oh and if you’re curious about why some foods are pricier than others check out the “Food Biz” archive on my Instagram bio where I break down pricing and distribution from a professional’s POV.)

5. Shishito Gold Mustard

I don’t know why my job is coming up so much in this post, but I actually tried this mustard because of a collab we did with Punk Rawk Labs. My boss takes all of our social media pics, and after he received his package from PRL he chatted me online, “Have you tried this mustard? It’s legit.” Ravi isn’t one to casually hand out compliments, so I picked up a jar at Heartland Cafe, a local restaurant with a little natural grocery attached. I’ve been told mustard obsession is a Chicago thing, but I think it should be a people with mouths thing because it adds amazing flavor to everything – especially vegan cheese sauces. Shishito Gold Mustard is really bold, a little sweet, and kind of spicy but in a flavorful way, not a hurt your face way.

Bonus: Elmhurst Plant-Based Milks

I just read in Forbes (yeah, I read Forbes, shut it) that plant-based milks now make up 10% of total milk sales. Which, as someone who used to have to buy soy milk in a can from Asian grocery stores, is very amazing. Elmhurst actually used to be a dairy producer, until they shifted to a 100% plant-based model. Now they make “milked” nuts and grains in pretty white cartons that look really fancy. They were nice enough to send me a sampler and Teno finished off the Milked Peanuts with Chocolate in one day. Peanut milk is unique, to be sure, but really good in smoothies. My nut allergy friends are really excited about their grain-based options, and I like that many are available unsweetened.