The Economist, along with several other dominant media publications such as The Guardian and Maclean’s, has named 2019 “The Year of the Vegan,” and it comes at no surprise. Major lifestyle outlets and companies have predicted the food trends of the new year, and there are more plant-based foods on these lists than ever before. It’s time to celebrate and savor the oh-so-trendy plant-based eats of 2019!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1. Mushrooms
From the humble white button to the superpowered adaptogenic variety, mushrooms are the “it” food of 2019. Vegan chefs have been touting the culinary creativity of mushrooms for years, but now, these fungi are mainstream—and chefs are using them for far more than stir-fries and burger substitutes. Chef Chloe Coscarelli has lured in a loyal omnivore fanbase with her highly addictive shiitake bacon that tops her creamy plant-based mac & cheese at by CHLOE (now under different ownership); entrepreneurs Chad and Derek Sarno gave away their best mushroom secrets with their 2018 cookbook, Wicked Healthy Kitchen, turning these fungi into everything from scallops to satay; and the year’s most-anticipated snack food, PigOut Chips, perfectly replicate bacon, but they’re made from mushrooms. Try any one of these meaty mushroom options to keep the trend going strong.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Cauliflower
Oh yes, cauliflower is still in. Like mushrooms, this cruciferous veggie can transform into a seemingly endless variety of comfort foods. Of course, there are classics like buffalo cauliflower and cauliflower rice, but there are also juicy cauliflower steaks, stunning whole roasted cauliflower heads, commercially available cauliflower pizza crust, and surprisingly delicious sweet cauliflower smoothies (vegan Olympian and former pro soccer player Kara Lang Romero swears by this). Find gourmet cauliflower dishes in both vegan and omnivore restaurants, or try this Hot For Food recipe and make a show-stopping whole roasted cauliflower at home. Try the trend in less time by purchasing frozen cauliflower rice and gnocchi at Trader Joe’s or a frozen Green Giant cauliflower pizza crust at your local supermarket.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Oat and Pea Milk
Companies like Oatly and Ripple are leading the way in the ever-evolving, plant-based milk craze. Although almond milk is still a popular choice, oat milk takes a slight advantage in regards to its ultra-creamy texture and smooth taste. As for pea milk, it’s hard to beat its protein content, with 8 grams per one-cup serving. Try a sophisticated oat milk latte at your local coffee shop, or, for a protein-packed beverage, sip some Ripple pea milk, available nationwide at various supermarkets and health food stores.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Bread
The low-carb days are long gone; artisan bread has prevailed. Bread-makers have become increasingly en vogue, particularly those who specialize in sourdough. It’s all about the starter; any devoted baker will tell you the rich history behind their starter and the detailed processes needed to maintain it. From proofing times to oven temperatures, bread baking has become a (delicious) art form, and the vast majority of bread varieties are vegan! Just be wary of traditional challah and brioche, which contain eggs. Try this Bob’s Red Mill recipe to make your own sourdough, or leave it to the pros at your local bakery.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Unconventional “Healthy” Desserts
2018 launched a myriad of sweet treats that raised a few eyebrows. The world had grown somewhat accustomed to bean-based brownies and blondies, but avocado ice cream, dessert hummus, and hummus milkshakes came out of left field. Despite the unorthodox ingredients, these desserts have won over sweet tooths, and the trend continues into 2019. Give them a try! Cado avocado ice cream and Delighted by Hummus sweet hummus can be found in grocers and select cafes nationwide. For a thick and creamy vegan hummus shake, track down your closest The Hummus & Pita Co., located in New York and other select states (and expanding!).

 

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Gut-Friendly Foods
Expand your knowledge of pre and probiotics beyond kombucha and sauerkraut; Whole Foods and Uber Eats predicts that good-for-your-gut foods are going to be big in 2019. Ride the vegan trend by trying out one of the many probiotic-infused plant-based yogurts. Companies like Califia Farms, Good Karma Foods, and Forager Project all make drinkable or spoonable dairy-free yogurts packed with healthy bacteria cultures for a probiotic punch.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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7. Seitan
A protein staple from the hippie days, seitan has endured the decades and remains a favorite among the plant-based meat crowd. This simple food made from water and vital wheat gluten has helped new vegan companies emerge and create the perfect chew to mimic meat. Like tofu, it is easily customizable and can be flavored to taste like a wide variety of meaty favorites, from fried chicken to traditional beef roasts. Companies keeping the trend alive in 2019 include The Herbivorous Butcher, No Evil Foods, and Vbites, among others.

 

Tanya Flink is a writer and journalist living in Orange County, CA.

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