The Best Vegan Deli Meat for the Ultimate Plant-Based Sub

The best vegan deli meat is flavorful and meaty. You shouldn’t miss real meat when you slap a good plant based deli meat onto a sandwich.

There’s been a lot of innovation in the plant based meat arena over the past decade, but when it comes to sandwich slices—particularly ones that are widely available—you’re going to find a lot of old standbys at the grocery store. Many of the brands you’ve become familiar with over the years, like Torfurky and Yves, are still the most ubiquitous purveyors of fake sandwich meat. We tasted the classic plant based deli meat brands, as well as some new names on the market, to find out which meatless meats we’ll be stacking our sandwiches with moving forward.

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vegan turkey

Best Turkey

Simple Truth Salt & Pepper Turkey Style Deli Slices

Simple Truth, a brand sold at Kroger and its sister stores, makes some great and extremely underrated vegan products. This vegan turkey is one of them. It’s not exciting or super flavorful, and that’s what I love about it. It’s exactly what deli turkey is supposed to be: kind of boring! This would go great on any sandwich with any toppings. It’s easy, it’s versatile, and it’s one of the best vegan deli meats we tried.

Credit: Merc / Ralphs




vegan ham

Best Ham

Simple Truth Black Forest Ham Style Deli Slices

Simple Truth strikes again! Their black forest deli ham is also delicious. It has a real smoky taste without tasting like artificial smoke and that’s why we love it so much. I wanted to make a panini with this vegan ham, brie cheese, dijon mustard, and a drizzle of honey. How good would that be?! You can really do anything with this, though, because it’s just plain delicious. Kroger, keep making plant based products. You’re really good at it!

Credit: Merc / Ralphs




vegan corned beef

Most Interesting

Unreal Deli Corn’d Beef

Unreal is doing the most when it comes to plant based deli meat. They’re making thicker, meatier, fancier vegan deli meat than any other brand. Their corned beef is especially delicious. While it’s not super versatile, it is super interesting. Vegan Reubens will never be the same now that Unreal’s corned beef is on the market. Plus, I think this feels elevated compared to most of the other vegan deli meats out there. If you’re looking to make a real deli-style sandwich, grab Unreal corned beef.

Credit: Merc / Ralphs




vegan salami

Best of the Best

Yves Veggie Salami

My mom has been making me vegetarian muffalettas with this Yves’ veggie salami for as many years as it’s existed (over 20). I was nervous it wouldn’t hold up in our taste test against all the newer brands, but I didn’t need to worry. Yves always has ruled, and always will rule. This veggie salami doesn’t taste like salami, but it is really dang good. The texture is meaty and there are spices peppered throughout. You really get fennel and garlic and onion. This meat has actual flavor. You could eat it on its own or add it to a sub. No matter what you do with it, you’ll love it!

Credit: Merc / Amazon




Other Products We Tried: Tofurkey Smoked Ham, Tofurkey Peppered, Tofurkey Hickory Smoked, Tofurkey Plain, Unreal Steak, Unreal Turkey, Yves Ham

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About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • I have to disagree on the best ham. To me, the Simple Truth version doesn’t taste like much of anything. The Tofurky kind is way better (but then, I love liquid smoke, so that might make the difference). The Simple Truth turkey-style is better than the Tofurky version, though (perhaps because, as you noted, it doesn’t taste like much. The pepper is a nice touch, and it’s got a better texture than Tofurky).

    The most interesting deli slices for me are Tofurky Italian style. They’ve got basil and sun-dried tomato. They kind of taste like pizza to me. They’re so good– but pretty hard to find! Vegetarian deli slices can be pretty hit-or-miss. I like the Yves stuff, but nobody in my area carries it anymore.