VT’s 2011 Foodie Awards: Market Marvels

VT readers pick 26 favorites from our editors' ultimate shopping list
Market Marvels

No time to scour natural-food stores and supermarkets for the very best buys? No worries. This year, VT staffers spent many an afternoon sipping, slurping, and nibbling our way down the aisles, sampling foods and ingredients old and new. We then nominated 114 products in 26 categories for our annual Foodie Awards, and asked you, our readers, to choose your favorites.

Boy, did you come through—with more than 170,000 votes cast at vegetariantimes.com. Read on for your top picks and yummy runners-up, and don’t forget to print out these pages to stow in your shopping cart the next time you restock your kitchen.

Balsamic Vinegars
READERS’ CHOICE
Spectrum Organic Golden Balsamic Vinegar
Lends slight tang without overpowering.

Runners-up
Lucini Savory Fig Balsamico Artisan Vinegar
Rich, pungent, and oh-so-fruity.
Monari Federzoni Organic Balsamic Vinegar di Modena This inexpensive supermarket staple is the real deal, with no added sugar.
O Oak Aged California Balsamic Just a drizzle needed for sweet-and-smoky zing.

Condiments
READERS’ CHOICE
Annie’s Naturals Organic Horseradish Mustard Don’t let the horseradish fool you—this thick, grainy mustard is just a teeny bit spicy.

Runners-up
Bubbies Sauerkraut Adds tangy crunch to your veggie dog or sausage.
Eden Shake One shake of this seaweedy seasoning delivers instant umami.
Follow Your Heart Soy-Free Vegenaise A sweet, creamy spread
sans egg or soy.
Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup The ketchup classic made organic.


Finishing Salts

READERS’ CHOICE
Himalania Himalayan Pink Salt Mineral-rich salt that’s almost too pretty
to eat.

Runners-up
Artisan Salt Company Fleur de Sel Moist, sprinkle-on-anything flakes of sea salt.
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes A favorite of top chefs, thanks to mild flavor and crunchy texture.
The Spice Hunter Brazilian Sea Salt Grinder Switch between coarse and fine grinds with a flick of the wrist.

Firm Cheeses

READERS’ CHOICE
Organic Valley Raw Sharp Cheddar Cheese A sharp Cheddar in the classic style, made with raw cow’s milk from the Organic Valley cooperative of farms.

Runners-up
BelGioioso Vegetarian Parmesan Cheese Most Parmesan cheeses use animal rennet; this aged Parmesan is made the veg way.
Cypress Grove Creamline Lamb Chopper Firm Sheep Milk Cheese Mild, buttery sheep’s milk cheese from the company that brought us Humboldt Fog goat cheese.
Redwood Hill Farm Smoked Goat Milk Cheddar Smoky-flavored artisanal goat’s milk Cheddar from a Certified Humane Raised and Handled dairy.

Frozen Pizzas
READERS’ CHOICE
Amy’s Rice Crust Spinach Pizza Lots of spinach, a crust that crunches, and just the right “cheesiness” for dairy-free satisfaction.

Runners-up
Kashi Stone-Fired Thin Crust Basil Pesto Pizza VT staffers snatched up slice after slice.
Red Fork Thin and Crispy Pizza, Bianca With a crispy-thin crust, toppings like kalamata olives and mushrooms, and a garlicky ricotta sauce, this pie tastes downright fancy.
Tandoor Chef Cilantro Pesto Naan Pizza Naan for pizza crust. Why didn’t we think of that?
Tofutti Pan Crust Pizza Pizzaz Sicilian-style pizza gone vegan.

Gluten-Free Beers
READERS’ CHOICE
Green’s Discovery Amber Ale All the bittersweet bliss of a traditional Belgian ale.

Runners-up
Bard’s Original Sorghum Malt Beer Brewed with 100 percent sorghum for sweet, malty flavor.
Lakefront Brewery New Grist Beer So light and crisp—the perfect antidote to a hot day.
St. Peter’s Sorgham Beer Refreshing, citrusy English-made ale.

Gluten-Free Crackers
READERS’ CHOICE
Mary’s Gone Crackers, Original Pop these flax-studded rounds like potato chips—no dip required.

Runners-up
Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers, Original An addictive blend of sesame, quinoa, flax, and amaranth seeds.
Edward & Sons Baked Brown Rice Snaps, Tamari Seaweed A smack of seaweed flavor makes these whole-grain goodies stand out.
Sesmark Ancient Grains All Natural Snack Crackers, Sea Salt Intensely crunchy, with a dash of salt and pepper.

Granola
READERS’ CHOICE
Nature’s Path Organic Hemp Plus Granola This oat-flax-hemp cereal is light and crispy rather than hard and crunchy.

Runners-up

18 Rabbits Pecan Gracious Granola A bit of butter goes a long way in this not-too-sweet snack.
Back to Nature Sunflower & Pumpkin Seed Granola Jumbo oat-and-seed clusters that won’t get lost in your yogurt.
Julie Anne’s Sweet Citrus Granola Imagine an orange Creamsicle, with bursts of vanilla and refreshing bits of orange zest.
Udi’s Gluten Free Original Granola Sprinkle this crumbly blend of honey- sweetened oats and nuts on just about anything.

Hot Cereals
READERS’ CHOICE
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Extra Thick Rolled Oats Simply the best old-fashioned oats, cut extra-thick to take the mush out of your a.m. oatmeal.

Runners-up

Eco-Planet Organics Instant Hot Cereal, Original A hearty blend of gluten-free grains for a convenient, wholesome breakfast.
McCann’s Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal Chewy steel-cut oatmeal you can whip up in five minutes.
Pocono Cream of Buckwheat If you liked cream of wheat as a kid, you’ll like this. If you’re avoiding gluten in your diet, you’ll love it.

Indian Bites
READERS’ CHOICE
Tasty Bite Vegetable Korma We heart the generous veggie-to-sauce ratio in this shelf-stable heat- and-eat superstar.

Runners-up
IndianLife Samosas, Mixed Vegetables A street-food staple as close as your freezer.
Kitchens of India Red Kidney Beans Curry Plentiful whole beans in a lightly spiced, tomato-based sauce.
Sukhi’s Spinach & Tofu NaanWich Skip the sandwich; grab Indian food wrapped inside a big, fluffy naan.
Tandoor Chef Masala Dosa Potato-packed crêpes that taste fresh off the griddle.

Kefir
READERS’ CHOICE
Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Kefir, Blueberry-Pom-Açai Silky-smooth, berry-licious, and easy to digest—what more could you want?

Runners-up

Lifeway Organic Lowfat Kefir, Plain Great, tangy basic for stirring into cereal or adding to smoothies.
Nancy’s Lowfat Cultured Milk Kefir, Blackberry Extra-thick and loaded with blackberries.
Redwood Hill Farm Naturally Cultured Goat Milk Kefir, Traditional Plain Unsweetened kefir that lets the flavor of good, unhomogenized goat’s milk shine through.

Meatless Burgers
READERS’ CHOICE
Gardenburger Veggie Medley Veggie Burgers The winning combo of brown rice, rolled oats, and veggies galore stands up beautifully to the grill.

Runners-up

Amy’s Sonoma Veggie Burger Quinoa and walnuts rule in this hearty vegan patty.
Dr. Praeger’s Tex Mex Veggie Burgers Black bean chili meets veggie burger near the Rio Grande.
Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Burger Gardein delivers another meatless wonder—a cookout-ready frozen burger with smoky flavor and “meaty” burger texture.

“Meaty” Meal Makers
READERS’ CHOICE
Morningstar Farms Sausage Links Spice up your breakfast with these cute mini sausages.

Runners-up

Field Roast Grain Meat Co. Deli Slices, Smoked Tomato The perfect vegan sandwich stuffer.
Gardein BBQ Pulled Shreds “Meaty,” chewy, and seasoned with a hint of sweetness and spice—the way barbecue is supposed to be.
Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix Just add water for ground “meat” that can be used in burgers and tacos.
Yves Meatless Ground, Original
A convincing take on ground beef that’s precooked and ready when you are.

Noodles & Pasta
READERS’ CHOICE
Eden Organic Soba Pasta The traditional Japanese noodle adds buckwheat-y flavor to soups and stir-fries.

Runners-up
Annie Chun’s Chow Mein Classic Chinese Noodles Deliciously chewy noodles that cook up in 5 minutes
or less.
Bionaturæ Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti Our go-to whole-wheat spaghetti has satisfying firm texture and nutty toasted flavor.
Garden Time Organic Whole Wheat Orzo All the tastiness of traditional orzo with the health perks of whole wheat.
Tinkyáda Organic Brown Rice Lasagne Bake up a lasagna with these noodles, and you won’t even notice that they’re gluten-free.

Olive Oils
READERS’ CHOICE
California Olive Ranch Fresh California Extra Virgin Olive Oil This smooth, grassy-tasting olive oil is very gourmet—and very affordable.

Runners-up

Colavita 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil A budget bottle with plenty of flavor for making salad dressing.
L’Estornell Organic Farming Extra Virgin Olive Oil Delicate and fruity, with a hint of almond flavor.
Nuñez de Prado Extra Virgin Olive Oil A longtime foodie favorite, this Spanish oil is dripping with fresh flavor.
Spectrum Organic Extra Virgin Unfiltered Varietal Olive Oil, Chemlali Rich, fragrant finishing oil that tastes great on its own.

Organic Sweeteners
READERS’ CHOICE
Florida Crystals Organic Agave Nectar, Light This mild agave is not only organic but also easy to find in mainstream supermarkets.

Runners-up

Heavenly Organics Rare Wild Forest Honey Dense, floral must-have for stirring into tea.
Lundberg Family Farms Sweet Dreams Organic Brown Rice Syrup Thick and not too sweet, with a brown sugar–caramel flavor that enhances pancakes and baked goodies.
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Molasses Robust flavor with a milder bite than most blackstrap molasses.

Quick Lunch Options
READERS’ CHOICE
Kashi Spicy Black Bean Enchilada Gets its kick from lively tomatillo-and-jalapeño salsa.

Runners-up
Amy’s Light & Lean Soft Taco Fiesta You won’t believe these satisfying tacos have only 220 calories each.
Annie Chun’s Udon Soup Bowl Low-cal comfort food you can stash in your desk drawer.
Evol Wraps Veggie Curry For a protein-packed meal on the go, grab this curry-tastic wrap loaded with brown rice, veggies, and tofu.

Raw Treats
READERS’ CHOICE
Two Moms in the Raw Blueberry and Apple Granola Delectable mix of dried fruits and heart-smart nuts and seeds for staving off midday munchies.

Runners-up

Earth Café Life Is Sweet Potato Pie A velvety vegan and gluten-free pie.
Hail Merry Blonde Macaroons These little coconut cuties didn’t last long in the VT office.
Navitas Naturals Power Snack, Cacao Goji Superfood The chocolaty richness of a truffle meets the raw power of nutrient-dense berries and seeds.

Rooibos Teas
READERS’ CHOICE
The Republic of Tea Natural Organic Raw Green Bush Tea Minimally processed to preserve antioxidants and impart delicate, grassy flavor.

Runners-up

Choice Organic Rooibos Superfruit Tea A sweet-tart blend of apple, hibiscus, and orange peel.
Numi Green Rooibos Organic Tea Light, fragrant, and naturally caffeine free. What’s not to love?
Rishi Tea Organic Blueberry Rooibos Who needs dessert when you’ve got blueberries in your tea bag?

Salad Dressings
READERS’ CHOICE
Bragg Organic Braggberry Dressing & Marinade Just the right balance of sweet and tangy—and totally fat free.

Runners-up
Annie’s Naturals Organic Goddess Dressing Ultra-creamy but never heavy.
Follow Your Heart Organic Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing We were already fans of FYH’s vegan Caesar, and then they went and made an organic version. We dig it.
Marzetti Simply Dressed All Natural Dressing, Coleslaw Ready-made slaw topper with a hint of apple and a wide-mouth bottle that lets you measure it out with a spoon.
Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Herby goodness to make the simplest salad shine.

Shade-Grown Coffee
READERS’ CHOICE
Cafe Altura Sumatran Fair Trade Dark Roast Smooth, potent flavor that’s ideal for espresso.

Runners-up

Allegro Coffee Organic Mexican Zaragoza Select A mellow, anytime brew with a chocolaty aroma.
Audubon Premium Shade Grown Coffee, Shade Song French Roast Hints of caramel and lingering bittersweet flavor.
Caffe Ibis Organic French Roast A strong, smoky blend stamped with the Smithsonian’s Bird Friendly seal.
Mount Hagen Organic Café Instant Coffee Just as rich as freshly brewed joe—and it’s ready in a jiffy.

Snack Bars
READERS’ CHOICE
Larabar Carrot Cake Fruit & Nut Food Bar With chunks of dates, nuts, pineapple, raisins, and coconut, this is a whole-food take on the spicy-sweet cake.

Runners-up

18 Rabbits Cheeky Cherry Chocolate Granola Bar The chocolate-cherry pairing satisfies your sweet tooth without sending you into sugar shock.
Earnest Eats Maple Almond Crunch Granola Plank Equal parts chewy, gooey, and crunchy, with sweetened nuts and seeds.
Pure Organic Cherry Cashew Tangy-sweet, rich, and moist, with nutty nuggets.
Ruth’s Cranberry Trail HempPower Bar Trail mix in a bar!

Soft Cheeses
READERS’ CHOICE
Organic Valley Organic Spreadable Neufchatel Cheese A low-fat version of cream cheese with rich, milky flavor and spreadable texture.

Runners-up

BelGioioso Mascarpone Fabulously fluffy, subtly sweet, totally decadent.
Galaxy Nutritional Foods Classic Plain Vegan Cream Cheese You won’t miss the dairy in this creamy, bagel-ready topping.
Tofutti Plain Better Than Cream Cheese Tastes just like cream cheese—and it’s vegan.

Sourdough Breads
READERS’ CHOICE
Rudi’s Organic Bakery Rocky Mountain Sourdough Bread Light, fluffy sourdough that’s great plain, as toast, or for sandwiches.

Runners-up

Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted Sourdough Bread Amp up the heartiness factor with sprouted organic whole wheat berries.
Francisco International Sourdough Sliced Bread These tangy slices are small and thin, so you can enjoy a sandwich without overloading on carbs.
French Meadow European Style Sourdough Rye Bread Dark, dense, German-style rye for all your veg Reuben cravings.

Stocks & Broths
READERS’ CHOICE
Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth Earthy flavor booster for risottos, soups, and stews.

Runners-up
Imagine Organic No-Chicken Broth The taste and aroma of chicken noodle soup—minus the chicken.
Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Cooking Stock This rich, yummy stock contains only 240 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Wolfgang Puck Organic Vegetable Broth Dark, complex, and seriously homemade-tasting.

Tahini
READERS’ CHOICE
Arrowhead Mills Organic Sesame Tahini The perfect nothing-but-sesame-seeds paste, great for making hummus or slathering on pita bread.

Runners-up
Artisana Raw Organic Tahini Made from select raw sesame seeds for fresh, not-as-bitter flavor.
Joyva Sesame Tahini This canned tahini requires a bit of stirring, but it’s as luscious as they come.
Once Again Organic Tahini Stays smooth and creamy even after you refrigerate it.

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