Whether the aim is to eat healthier or avoid certain foods due to intolerance or allergies, more and more people in the U.S. are going gluten-free and vegan each year. Once upon a time, eliminating gluten or animal products from your diet meant severe restrictions on what you could eat, with things like cheese, pizza, pasta, beer, and sweets all but off the table.
Today, thanks to a growing understanding of what it means to be vegan or gluten-free and a new wave of gluten-free and vegan menus and products, these restrictions are a thing of the past. To find the best vegan and gluten-free food and restaurants, an expert panel nominated their top picks across nine categories, from cider to gluten-free bakeries to vegan cheese. Then, readers voted for their favorites to decide the winners.
Click on each category below to see the full winners list:
Best Cider: Raindancer – Gypsy Circus Cider Company
Try award-winning Raindancer from Gypsy Circus Cider Company — Photo courtesy of Gypsy Circus Cider Company
A Tennessee cider, Raindancer from Gypsy Circus Cider Company is semi-dry with a finish and flavor that’s reminiscent of champagne. It’s made from 100% locally sourced and fresh pressed apples.
Best Cidery: ERIS Brewery and Cider House in Chicago, Illinois
ERIS Brewery and Cider House offers a wealth of ciders to try — Photo courtesy of Alycia Stack
Blueberry-forward Van Van Mojo, cherry-infused Blush, and classic Granny Smith apple Pedestrian are just a few of the products up for grabs at ERIS, a woman-led cidery in Chicago’s Irving Park. While cider is the main attraction around here, the venue also doubles as a brewery, offering a wealth of crisp pilsners and hoppy IPAs for guests to sample.
Best Gluten-Free Bakery: Guncles Gluten Free in Mobile, Alabama
Indulge without worries when you order from Guncles Gluten Free — Photo courtesy of Guncles Gluten Free
Guncles is a dedicated gluten-free bakery specializing in artisan treats that incorporate organic and locally sourced ingredients. Products include breads, biscuits, bundts, and much more. Plus, they ship nationwide.
Best Gluten-Free Beer: A Dark Night – Departed Soles Brewing Company
Gluten-free drinkers can safely enjoy A Dark Night from Departed Soles Brewing Company — Photo courtesy of Departed Soles Brewing Company
A Dark Night from Departed Soles Brewing Company in New Jersey is a black IPA made with 100% gluten-free ingredients. The hop-forward beer, designed to taste like a shaken-up black and tan, finishes with flavors of roasted malts.
Best Gluten-Free Pizzeria: Via 313 Pizza – Multiple locations
Via 313 Pizza makes classic Detroit-style square pizzas, and gluten-free customers can order an 8-by-10-inch pie with over a dozen topping combinations. Follow up your delicious pizza with their gluten-free cinnamon sticks.
Best Restaurant Chain for Vegans: PLNT Burger
You’ll only find plant-based options on the menu at PLNT Burger — Photo courtesy of Evangeline Pergantis
Meat and dairy are nowhere to be found at your local PLNT Burger, with each location priding itself on crafting savory sandwiches made entirely from plant-based ingredients. In addition to the classic roster of meatless burgers, the venue also excels at the art of crispy chik’n and vegan fish fillets. They even offer a hearty chili bowl that’s brimming with dairy-free cheddar and sour cream.
Best Vegan Cheese: Treeline Dairy-Free Blueberry Goat Cheese
Treeline’s spreadable vegan Blueberry Goat Cheese has replicated the flavors and textures of goat cheese without the dairy. It’s sweet and creamy but has the tart kick that one might expect from traditional goat cheese.
Best Vegan Ice Cream: Wicked Kitchen Birthday Cake Ice Dream
Go plant-based for your birthday with Wicked Kitchen Birthday Cake Ice Dream — Photo courtesy of Wicked Kitchen
Crafted entirely from lupin beans, Wicked Kitchen’s Birthday Cake Ice Dream is perfect for ensuring that all family members can join in on the fun. In addition to its bean base, this plant-based frozen dessert is also packed full of sweet cake bites and rainbow sprinkles for an added pop of color and texture.
Best Vegan Pizza: Clo-Clo Vegan Foods Meatless Italian Sausage Pizza
Get your pizza fix with Clo-Clo Vegan Foods Meatless Italian Sausage Pizza — Photo courtesy of Clo-Clo Vegan Foods
One of several fully plant-based pizzas offered by Clo-Clo Vegan Foods, the Meatless Italian Sausage Pizza serves as an entirely vegan take on a traditional Mediterranean pie. This rendition ditches the nitrite-loaded sausage in favor of plant-based crumbles served alongside basil, tomato sauce, and savory dairy-free mozzarella and cheddar.
Congratulations to all these winners! Remember to visit 10best.usatoday.com daily to vote in all of our Readers’ Choice Awards contests.