OPINIONFood

7 plant-based products you should try at the National Restaurant Association Show

From plant-based eggs and steak to non-dairy ice cream, the Show floor is filled with plant-forward fare. Here's a look at some products you shouldn't skip.
Yo! Egg's plant-based poached egg.
Plant-based eggs took center stage at the National Restaurant Association Show this year. / Photos by Nico Heins

The National Restaurant Association Show is the perfect place to get out of your comfort zone and test out some new cuisine.

A great way to do just that is tasting some of the many plant-based options scattered throughout the Show. And if you’re a fan of meat and dairy analogues, you’re in for a treat.  The Show floor is filled with an abundance of plant-based fare—think ice cream, burgers, seafood and eggs.

Some of the Restaurant Business team spent Saturday testing as many plant-based products as possible. We’ve complied this list of our top seven products.

1. Chunk Foods' plant-based steak

Meat analogues are nothing new, particularly beef or chicken analogue products. But Chunk Foods is pushing the envelope with its plant-based cuts. The supplier is taking on beef first, but has plans in the works to launch pork, lamb and poultry. On offer at the Show was a sample of the company’s steak cuts, and the product was absolutely delicious. The highlight of the dish was the texture, which was just the right amount of chewy.

Chunk Food's plant-based steak Chunk's plant-based steak

2. Atlantic Sea Farms’ Sea Veggie Burgers

Plant-based seafood seems to be popping up more and more often. Atlantic Sea Farms puts a new twist on the category with its Sea Veggie Burgers. The burgers are made from kelp, chickpeas, pea protein and other vegetables. The flavors of the seaweed complement the burger well and make for an interesting dish. 

3. Current Foods’ plant-based sushi

The highlight of Current Foods’ analogue sushi was the “tuna” fillet, which is made from pea protein. The texture and presentation was similar to that of a real sushi roll—and the presentation of the rolls was the real showstopper.

4. Violife’s alfredo

This plant-based cheese company is raising the bar when it comes to vegan fare. Violife had two items being sampled on Saturday, a plant-based burger with American “cheese” and a vegan alfredo dish. The alfredo dish is an absolute must-try: We had to double check the dish was actually vegan—it was creamy and bursting with flavor.

Violife's alfredo pastaViolife's vegan alfredo

5. Just Egg’s taco bites

One product that took center stage this year was plant-based eggs. Just Egg paired its mung-bean based product with a tortilla and topped with greens. The result was a flavorful taco bite that left us wanting seconds.

Just Egg's taco biteJust Egg's plant-based taco bite 

6. Yo! Egg’s plant-based eggs Benedict

Yo! Egg is another vendor you shouldn’t skip. The plant-based company offers a variety of egg-like products that come sunny-side up and poached. We tried the poached egg, and it exceeded our expectations. The “yolk” was runny and flavorful, and the presentation was stunning.

7. Temptation’s oat milk soft-serve 

If you’re looking for something sweet to finish your day at the Show, look no further than Temptation’s oat-based soft-serve. The ice cream comes in three flavors—vanilla, chocolate and chocolate-vanilla swirl. We opted for the swirl. The dessert was sweet and smooth with nearly no notable difference from dairy-based ice cream. 

@restaurantbusiness Associate editor Reyna Estrada takes you through a #plantbased taste test of the #2023RestaurantShow. This is NOT the full extent at the show, but a tasteful start! #food#event♬ original sound - Restaurant business

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