Before I went vegan, turkey sandwiches were basically what I ate for lunch every day. Twice a week I would go to the deli counter at Whole Foods and order sliced turkey for the fridge. When I switched to a vegan diet over a decade ago, Tofurky already made some pretty good deli slices and I was so grateful to find them. Going vegan becomes super easy when you can just replace cruel animal products with vegan versions that taste similar.
Nowadays I don’t do sandwiches for lunch as often as I did years ago, but I do love a good deli sandwich every now and then. And I’m happy to report there are some amazing vegan deli slices out there. Tofurky has several versions of their slices to satisfy anyone’s pallet and Field Roast has also gotten in the deli game.
Now remember, just like a burger, a deli sandwich is as much about the bread, the condiments, and the veggies as it is about the “meat.” Think of these vegan slices as a great replacement rather than an exact replica. Don’t forget to add vegan mayo, mustard, pickles, tomatoes… you get the picture.
So, here are my favorites:
1. Tofurky Smoked Ham
This is my favorite vegan deli meat on the market right now. The flavor is fantastic! A year or so ago, Tofurky released its ham-style roast for the holidays and it was sensational. These slices taste just like that ham except thinly sliced for sandwiches. Pair this with Follow Your Heart’s smoked Gouda cheese, stoneground mustard, lettuce, and tomato. Seriously, this product is GREAT!
2. Tofurky Peppered
Compare this product to pastrami. The black peppercorn give it that deliciously smoky and slightly spicy flavor. These slices are PERFECT for vegan Reuben sandwiches. Grab some the Chao creamy original cheese slices by Field Roast or the Provolone by Follow Your Heart and grill it with sauerkraut and FYH’s Thousand Island dressing. OMG!!
3. Field Roast Smoked Tomato
OK, so what I really love about Field Roast is that their products don’t seem to really want to mimic meat or cheese exactly. They take the textures of these foods and then invent something entirely new. The smoked tomato slices are a good example of this. They are packed with flavor and make a great sandwich but I could also see taking these and some Miyoko’s cheese and creating a vegan charcuterie board or antipasto salad. The savory taste of the smoky tomato and old world spices is superb! And I like the fact that these are sliced kinda thick like Canadian bacon.
4. Tofurky Hickory Smoked
This reminds me the most of the turkey I used to buy from the deli counter before I went vegan. The slightly sweet and smoky taste of hickory works great here. These are excellent in a traditional deli sandwich. I load mine up with lettuce, tomato, avocado, mayo, and mustard. Throw some Lightlife tempeh bacon in there for an even smokier vibe or sub hummus for the mayo for a lower-fat version.
5. Field Roast Wild Mushroom
Like I said before, Field Roast does its own thing and we love them for it! This is definitely unique like the smoked tomato above. I would compare this to roast beef. The mushrooms and balsamic in these slices give them a real umami flavor. There’s a heartiness too. Grab some vegan cheddar slices, grill up some peppers and onions, and make a vegan cheesesteak with this stuff!
UPDATE, May 2020
Since I wrote this last year, a new product came on the market that I think is truly revolutionary: Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli. Right now, they only make a vegan corned beef but it is truly next level (you can read our review here).
Seriously, this stuff is like the Impossible Burger of vegan deli meats. At the moment, you can only find them at select retailers. We found Mrs. Goldfarb’s at our local vegan market, Besties. Thankfully, you can order from their website, but keep in mind, it ain’t cheap — but it’s worth it!
UPDATE, May 2021
A month ago, a new vegan deli meat producer called Plant Provisions reached out to me and asked if they could send us some of their slices to taste. My husband and I sampled them on our podcast and they were exquisite! What I love about these deli slices, besides the flavor, is that they’re all gluten- and soy-free, so people with food allergies can enjoy them.
Though they’re not widely available yet, you can purchase Plant Provisions’ slices from their website. The Black Pepper Beet was our favorite!
Main Image via Tofurky’s Instagram