Interested in trying our FREE 7-day healthy diet plan? Click here and choose between our meat eaters, vegetarian or vegan meal plans.


Being vegetarian should be a relatively simple thing. However, there are foods out there that you might expect to be veggie-friendly, which contain sneaky animal products. Occasionally, to get the right texture or look, animal products are used where you least expect them. You might not even bother checking the labels of these foods if they're masquerading as something typically vegetarian-friendly. But never fear, normally there are vegetarian alternatives for every crafty non-veggie product.


Tray of tomatoes with ricotta and lentils

Don't panic just yet! This isn't always the case but certain cheeses contain rennet (taken from calves' stomachs) to aid in coagulation. However there are plenty of veggie cheeses without this unwelcome addition. Check the labels in health food shops and supermarkets to be sure. Common offenders include Parmesan, Gorgonzola and Grana Padano, which if made using the traditional method must contain rennet.

In the mood for a veggie feast? Try our whole baked ricotta cheese with lentils and cherry tomatoes for an indulgent supper.

Or, for something spicier, try this paneer with broccoli and sesame.


Honeycomb nest on top of chocolate mousse with an egg

Even creamy, chocolate mousse isn't safe from secret meat products. Most supermarket mousses contain gelatine to help the setting process. However, it's seriously easy to avoid this unexpected add-on, if the mousse is whipped thoroughly and chilled adequately in the fridge. Ingredients such as double cream and egg whites can create that moussey texture.

Bear Grylls' chocolate mousse has just a handful of ingredients and is veggie to boot.

Or, for a chocolate mousse perfect for a special occasion, try our Easter chocolate mousse cake.

Beer and wine

Guinness pint on a table

It's safe to say even the most avid meat eaters would question why animal products would need to be used in the booze making process. Unless specified as veggie, it's likely that animal products such as gelatin or fish bladders have been used to clarify wine and remove secondary yeast from beer. Don't despair! As with everything, there are readily available veggie beers and wines.

More like this

Wondering whether a glass of wine has any hidden health benefits? Take a look at our guide on wine and nutrition.

Put your skills to the test and learn how to match wine with food.

Omega-3 enriched products

Bowl of porridge covered in kiwi and pomegranate seeds

Products which aren't naturally high in omega-3 but advertise themselves as being 'enriched with omega-3' are often not vegetarian, containing products derived from fish. Another buzz word is 'heart-healthy', which may also indicate the addition of fish-derived minerals.

Get your vegetarian sources of omega-3 from flaxseed, chia seed and walnuts. Our lemon roast vegetables with yogurt tahini and pomegranate are naturally full of omega-3.

Alternatively, if you want to get your omega-3 in before lunch, try our summer porridge or raspberry ripple chia pudding.

Soft drinks

Jug of blackcurrant cordial and two glasses

Surprisingly, certain soft drinks can contain trace elements of gelatin, used as a stabiliser. Red soft drinks might also contain cochineal (derived from insects) as a colouring. It's not that prevalent but always worth checking.

If you want to skip the additives and make your own soft drinks, our recipes are all you need. This carrot lemonade is a simple veggie drink you can make in 10 minutes.

And our blackcurrant cordial recipe is full of flavour with no hidden ingredients.


Jar of homemade pesto

If it doesn't specify it's veggie, it's likely to contain our old meaty friend, Parmesan. Most traditional pesto recipes and shop-bought jars won't be suitable for vegetarians. It's worth double-checking pizzas and pastas which contain a drizzle of pesto, just to be sure. It's often safer and simpler to whizz up your own sauce using a vegetarian Parmesan alternative.

There are a variety of greens you can substitute if you're bored of basil too, read our guide to 11 alternative pesto recipes.


Pile of assorted vegetable crisps

You might expect crisps to be relatively safe, but it really is an ingredient jungle out there. Until recently, even the most meaty flavoured crisps were safe for veggies to eat. However, these days vegetarians have to contend with animal fat or meat extracts as part of the flavouring.

If you're craving crisps, you can make your own veggie version in a flash. Why not try our sweet potato crisps?

It's not just sweet potato that gets the crispy treatment, there's a whole variety of veg you can pig out on - check out our guide to 5 ways with vegetable crisps.


Biscuits covered in jam, marshmallow and chocolate

A lot of marshmallows contain gelatine to set them and give them that characteristic 'wobble'. It's always best to check packets when purchasing marshmallows as more often than not, they'll be non-vegetarian.

Got a craving for soft and fluffy marshmallow sweetness? Try making our chocolate marshmallow wheels and watch them disappear.

Or, try our delicious cookie base classic s'more with veggie mallows and hazelnut spread for an indulgent treat.

We have a Good Food collection for every occasion, whether you're looking to get that sweet sugar hit from our veggie dessert collection or a simple, filling veggie lunch.

Like this? Try:

Vegetarian family classics
The best vegetarian recipes
20-high protein vegetarian foods
The best vegetarian protein sources
Vegetarian diet: health benefits & tips


Is there anything we've missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post