Vegetarians have chosen to eschew meat, fish, and poultry from their diets for ethical, environmental, or health-related reasons. But, it can be difficult to find snacks that adhere to their dietary guidelines. Animal crackers are one type of snack food that may give vegetarians pause. Animal crackers are a popular snack, but are made with animal byproducts like milk and eggs. Does this mean that vegetarians must give up this beloved snack? The answer is no. Vegetarians can enjoy animal crackers without compromising their values.
Determining the Ingredients
The first step in enjoying animal crackers as a vegetarian is to determine just what ingredients are in the product. Fortunately, animal crackers are usually easy to identify. The crackers are traditionally shaped like animals, and sometimes even have them printed on the package. There may also be a small icon of an animal somewhere on the packaging.
Once the animal crackers are identified, the next step is to read the ingredients list. Most animal crackers are made with wheat flour, butter, milk, sugar, eggs, and salt. The animal crackers may also include other flavors, such as nutmeg or cinnamon.
Making Vegetarian Animal Crackers
The most obvious way for vegetarians to enjoy animal crackers is to make them at home. This removes the worry about ingredients, as the vegetarians can use their preferred egg and dairy substitutes.
Most animal cracker recipes call for butter, but this can be replaced with any vegetable-based butter substitute that the vegetarian prefers. Milk can be replaced with a non-dairy milk substitute, like almond or soy milk. Vegetable shortening or vegetable oil can also be used in place of butter.
Eggs can be replaced in the recipe with flax eggs, or with other egg replacements like aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas) or mashed tofu.
Finding Vegetarian Animal Crackers
Fortunately, there are also store-bought options available. There are a few brands that make animal crackers that are certified vegan, meaning they do not contain any animal byproducts. Many of these vegan animal crackers are made with vegetable oil and non-dairy milk, as well as vegan egg replacers.
In addition to vegan animal crackers, there are also brands that make animal crackers with dairy-free, egg-free recipes. Some of these brands use coconut oil and non-dairy milk in place of butter and eggs.
Honey-Based Animal Crackers
Some brands of animal crackers, such as Barnum’s Animal Crackers, contain honey as an ingredient. This type of animal cracker is not suitable for vegans, but may be acceptable for vegetarians. Depending on the vegetarian’s beliefs, they may decide that honey is an acceptable animal byproduct.
Animal Crackers Fortified with Vitamin B12
Many brands of animal crackers are fortified with Vitamin B12. This is an important nutrient for vegetarians, as it is typically found only in animal products. Animal crackers fortified with Vitamin B12 are a great way for vegetarians to get their daily allowance of this important nutrient.
Vegetarian-Friendly Animal Cracker Toppings
Once the vegetarian-friendly animal crackers are found or made, the next step is to come up with some vegetarian-friendly toppings. Fortunately, there are many options. Nut butter, jelly, cream cheese, and hummus are all excellent options for animal cracker toppings.
For a sweeter topping, vegetarians can choose dried fruit, like cranberries or raisins. Chocolate chips or vegan marshmallows are also great options for adding sweetness to the animal crackers.
Vegetarian-Friendly Animal Cracker Recipes
For those who prefer to make their own animal crackers, there are many vegetarian-friendly recipes available. Many of these recipes call for the same ingredients used in traditional animal cracker recipes, but with vegan or egg-free substitutes.
One popular vegan animal cracker recipe calls for all-purpose flour, vegan butter, non-dairy milk, maple syrup, and vegan egg replacers. The recipe also calls for baking powder, salt, and optional cinnamon for flavor.
For those who prefer an egg-free animal cracker recipe, one option is to use chickpea flour, vegan butter, non-dairy milk, and maple syrup. This recipe also includes baking powder and salt.
Vegetarians do not have to give up animal crackers in order to stay true to their dietary beliefs. With a little research and creativity, vegetarians can find or make vegetarian-friendly animal crackers that are both delicious and adhere to their dietary restrictions. From vegan animal crackers to egg-free recipes, there are plenty of options available for vegetarians who still want to enjoy the classic animal cracker snack.
I’m Brooke, and I love being vegan. I know all there is to know about the vegan lifestyle, and I love sharing that knowledge with others.
I own a vegan restaurant in Boston, and I love helping people make the switch to a plant-based diet. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it!