It can be difficult to find vegan store bought candy for any holiday, especially one so close to Easter. Jelly beans, malted milk eggs, fun-size candy, and dozens of different chocolate bunnies line the store shelves, but most of them contain milk and gelatin, or are coated with bees wax and confectioner’s glaze. So, what can a vegan use to fill an Ostara or Easter basket? I am making several Ostara gift baskets, so I needed to come up with some ideas.
You can make your own candy, and I have already posted a recipe for Chocolate Dipped Apricots & Chocolate Bark.
I will also be sharing recipes for white chocolate coconut nests, chocolate pretzel nests, rice crispy treat carrots, and peanut butter eggs, so subscribe if you want to be notified when they are posted!
Sometimes, though, you really need the convenience of being able to buy candy from the store. And, what about dyeing eggs? Is there a way that vegans or those with egg allergies can participate in this traditional activity? I spent several hours scouring my local store shelves and reading labels to see what is available this year for vegans and people with food allergies. I am not claiming that any of the candy I found is healthy, but they are all vegan to the best of my knowledge, and all but one are gluten free as well. If you have food allergies, please double check the labels to be sure I didn’t miss anything!
There are two brands of vegan friendly jelly beans. Neither has any top 8 allergen ingredients or any allergen declarations. The Sweetarts ones really do taste like chewy Sweetarts! They are not actually sour, though, just a bit tart. The Jolly Rancher ones are much shinier, and not at all tart. Both were too sweet for me, but I have never been a fan of jelly beans! If you are, then either of these is a good choice:
I found two kinds of fruit snacks that are made with natural colors and flavors, but are gelatin, beeswax, and confectioner’s glaze free! Neither has any top 8 allergen ingredients or any allergen declarations. They are both very good, and are actually firm and chewy, unlike so many others I have tried. I slightly preferred the flavor of the Mott’s, but like the colors of the Sunkist better:
The Sour Patch bunnies and Swedish Fish eggs are cute, and they both look good from a vegan and top 8 allergen free perspective:
The Sour Patch strawberries are both cute and really tasty! The Skittles are not themed, but I got them anyway to fill some plastic eggs. Neither has top 8 allergen ingredients nor any allergen declarations. (The Skittles do have palm oil as an ingredient, though):
I also got Mamba candy in both regular and sour versions to use as egg fillers. They contain wheat, but no other allergens are listed. Both are labeled vegan, but they do contain palm oil. There are three flavors in individually wrapped smaller packs in each long package, and each small pack has six wrapped pieces:
Lindt has dark chocolate bunnies that are vegan! My Wal-Mart only had the milk chocolate ones, but Meijer had the vegan dark chocolate ones. They are labeled as may contain peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and milk, so are not suitable for people with allergies to those ingredients. However, they are gluten free and vegan! If you want more information on what the “may contain” statement means, I recommend watching this video by The Vegan Activist.
Update: I recently saw an article that said that none of the Lindt bunnies are gluten free, because they are not on Lindt’s gluten free list. I called Lindt and found out that they do not include seasonal items on their GF list, but the dark chocolate bunny IS gluten free!
I didn’t buy either of these, but the Dum-Dums bunny pops are vegan and are labeled as major allergen free. The Sweetart chicks, ducks, & bunnies look ok for vegan, and the only “may contain” ingredient listed is egg:
￼I found biodegradable grass for my gift baskets, and some large plastic eggs to fill with candy:
I was really excited to find craft eggs to decorate for an Ostara wreath at both Wal-Mart and Meijer! They look pretty much the same, but the Meijer ones were twice as much as those from Wal-Mart:
I still needed baskets, but they were fairly expensive at both Wal-Mart and Meijer. So, I went to a dollar store and found plastic baskets, basket bags, and pretty favor boxes. Then, I found the woven baskets at a thrift store and they were only $2.50 for all three:
I’ll be posting again soon with more candy recipes, part two of the Ostara baskets, and some of my very favorite vegan recipes that are not full of sugar!