Vegan meat substitutes come in a variety, probably more than animal-based meats! In the world of carnivores, only chicken can make chicken. Only cows can make beef. In the plant world, you can make different meatless alternatives with a whole range of ingredients like soybeans, wheat gluten, and so much more! It makes it easier for people with all kinds of diets to enjoy vegan meat alternatives.
The next thought would probably be wondering, “are vegan meat alternatives healthy?” Well, yes! Vegan meat substitutes are easily lower in fat and even cholesterol in most cases. Plus, they’re packed with all the good plant-powered nutrients that fruits and vegetables provide!
Also known as bean curd, tofu originated in China about 2,000 years ago. While it’s a staple food in a lot of countries in the east, it has made its way here… and we love it! Tofu comes in different firmness and textures. It even absorbs flavors and sauces well. That makes it quite versatile and one of the best vegan meat substitutes around!
Tempeh is the next soybean-based vegan meat substitute we have on this list. How is it different? Well, the former is made by shaping curdled soy milk (another soybean byproduct) into cubes. Tempeh, on the other hand, is a compact, cake-shaped food made with cooked whole soybeans. While tofu has a more neutral taste, tempeh normally has a stronger, nuttier taste.
Because of its texture, tempeh is normally sliced and made into bacon alternatives. One such pick is The Brinery’s Plant-Based Tempeh Bacon Style Strips!
It doesn’t seem like it to most, but jackfruits make wonderful vegan meat options! It has a naturally shredded meat texture - so you’re right in thinking that it can make lovely pulled meat alternatives! It can even make fantastic ground meat options, too. With their mild flavor, canned jackfruits are a wonderful ingredient to savory, meaty recipes.
If it’s mild and meaty jackfruit meat you want, none comes better than Native Forest’s Jackfruit in a can! No need to break open the fruit to get some yourself. Just get this!
One unique jackfruit-based meat is this Boneless Ribz by The Very Good Butchers. Sticky, smoky, and sweet, it tastes just like the real thing!
Beans, beans, the musical fruit! They’re great to eat and tasty to boot! Beans are nutritious meat alternatives that are actually quite affordable. If you’re just starting out your journey to the vegan lifestyle, none are as accessible and pocket-friendly as beans! While, yes, you can have beans simply in a chili or stew, you can also make meat-like mains with them - just like the ones we've got here at Vegan Essentials!
First order of business is getting some good burgers - like The Very Good Butchers’ The Very Good Burger. Other bean-based vegan meat alternatives they have are their Pepperoni and The Very British Banger!
For all our mushroom lovers, fear not because we’ve got vegan meat options made with them! There are about 14,000 species of mushrooms in the world, but we’re only after the tasty ones. King oyster, portobello, shiitake… these plump and juicy mushrooms are just a few!
Mushroom burgers… we’re sure you’ve heard of them. You can make your own at home with The Very Good Butchers’ Flippin' Good Burgers!
Did you know that once you dry up mushrooms, you can even make a fine selection of plant-based jerky? Let Pan's Salt & Pepper Mushroom Jerky, Eat The Change’s Habanero BBQ Mushroom Jerky, and Country Archer Provisions’ Spiced Bacon Plant-Based Jerky show you just how good they can be!
When posed with the question, “Are vegan meat alternatives healthy?” Our response would be that it depends on the ingredients. Another legume on our list, lentils can cook in a shorter time compared to beans. Both are low-fat as well as high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients! Lentils have a nutty and earthy taste to them, similar to pinto beans. This makes them great for making savory meals and meat substitutes.
Lentils are quite versatile. Check out the range of vegan meat alternatives that can be made with them! Fish is one meat that is made with lentils, just like Good Catch’s Plant-Based Breaded Fish Sticks.
Lentils can also be the main component of plant-based deli meats. Sounds tasty? Get hold of Field Roast Deli Slices’ Lentil & Sage!
Like a lot of the options here, peas make more sustainable meats than animal-based ones. Just think how much CO2 emissions we can cut by swapping beef with pea-based meats! And, listen, we get it. Not all folks are fans of peas. But, give these vegan meat options a try. They don’t simply just come tasting like peas and having their texture. Seriously, these substitutes do taste and have the same texture as the real deals…
Speaking of, ever had a fishy slice of peas? Plant-Based Smoked-Flavored Salmon from Current Foods is, mind the pun, quite the catch!
Cooking up some tacos or making a supreme plate of nachos? Well, Lightlife’s Plant-Based Ground Beef is what you’ll need to bulk it up!
By mixing wheat flour with water, you can extract all the starch. Wash, knead, and drain your dough until you’ve got wheat gluten! If you have time to spare, making your own at home is possible. But, for a lot of us, making homemade can be tedious. Plus, the mixing of ingredients to make it taste as good as the meat it’s replacing? That’s time-consuming!
Nutritious and the base for a lot of delicious meals, chickpeas are also rather easy to find as well as easy on the wallet. You can get canned chickpeas that you can use as an ingredient. Let’s not forget that aquafaba (chickpea water) that you can use as an egg replacer or meringue!
Unreal Deli’s Plant-Based Deli Meat Corn`d Beef Slices makes a meaty sub and a delicious stuffed wrap!
As you can see, meat can easily and tastily be replaced by these plant-based options. There’s so much under the sun, you’re spoiled for choices! When you’re ready to check vegan meat substitutes out, literally check them out here at Vegan Essentials!