7 Best Plant-Based Meat Substitutes – You Need to Try

7 Best Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

Hey there, welcome to this blog post “7 Best Plant-Based Meat Substitutes – You Need to Try.” You may be following a vegetarian or vegan diet. But there’s no harm in trying meat. Let me rephrase that… Plant-based meat! They’re good for the environment, as well as your health.

In this article, we’re talking about plant-based meats you can try! Is tofu a good meat substitute? What about tempeh? What’s the difference? What is texturized vegetable protein? We’ll be talking about all of these AND more…

1 – Tofu

Tofu - 7 Best Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

Tofu is not just some recent trend. It’s been a part of Asian cuisine for a long time. More importantly, it’s always been a vegetarian alternative to meat. The best part about tofu is it takes on the flavors of the dishes it goes into. It doesn’t have any flavor of its own.

Tofu is prepared in a similar fashion to cheese. Except, instead of cow’s milk, it’s soy. Some brands of tofu also come with added nutrients like calcium and iron. Tofu is sometimes also made with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride.

As long as you’re aware of what tofu has in it, you’ll be fine. If you’re not into GMO products, tofu’s probably not going to be your thing. This is because most soy in the United States is genetically engineered.

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Tofu can also be used as a substitute for eggs and cheese. Cubed tofu can be used in a stir-fry as well. My favorite way to eat tofu is to saute it with broccoli. Make sure you use olive oil and season it with black salt and pepper. Saute until the tofu turns crispy. You now have a delicious tofu broccoli salad ready to eat!

Have you tried tofu? Which is your favorite tofu dish? Let us know in the comment, and start a conversation with our community…

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2 – Tempeh

Tempeh - 7 Best Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

Tempeh is a variety of soy products made from fermented soy. It differs from tofu in that it’s not made from soy milk. Soybeans are cultured before they’re made into cakes. In the case of tempeh, the entire soybean is used instead of just milk. This naturally means tempeh has a richer nutritional profile compared to tofu. Tempeh comes packed with more proteins, vitamins, and fiber.

Also, because it’s a fermented food, tempeh can improve your digestive system. It’s common for tempeh to be supplemented with barley. So if you’re following a gluten-free diet, you need to check the label before you buy tempeh.

Half a cup of tempeh gives you 17 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 92 milligrams of calcium. You also get about 6 grams of carbs along with 2 milligrams of iron. All of this at the cost of just 160 calories.

Tempeh also has a stronger flavor compared to tofu. The texture is much more firm. Tempeh is best used with peanut-based sauces. It also goes well in stir-fry or Thai salad.

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3 – Texturized Vegetable Protein

Texturized Vegetable Protein

Texturized vegetable protein also known as TVP, is another meat substitute. Just keep in mind that it’s highly processed. TVP is not a new food. It was invented as far back as 1960. TVP is a byproduct of soy production. It’s made from soy flour. The fat is removed with the help of solvents. Because the fat’s removed, TVP is not only high in protein, but also low in fat.

While you can buy TVP in a dehydrated condition, the more commonly available product on the market is processed and frozen. You’re able to turn the soy flour into any shape or size you want. Similar to tempeh, TVP is made from traditional soy. This means most TVP brands could be using produce that’s been farmed using genetically modified seeds.

Much like tofu, TVP lacks flavor, which helps it blend with whatever dish you mix it into. If you’re cooking up a vegetarian meal, TVP adds some good meaty texture.

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4 – Seitan

Seitan - 7 Best Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

Seitan is made from gluten, the protein present in wheat. It’s prepared by adding water to the wheat flour and then getting rid of the starch. The texture of seitan is dense, and usually quite chewy. Just like tofu, seitan doesn’t have a taste.

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When this meat substitute is used, it’s usually accompanied by sauces like soy. Seitan is usually made in the form of chunks or strips. It’s a food high in protein and is a great source of iron. More importantly, seitan is quite low in carbs. As seitan itself is prepared from gluten, it’s not to be used by those on a gluten-free diet.

If you’re used to eating meat and want to wean off that and follow a veggie diet, seitan is your best alternative. It acts as a perfect substitute for those foods in almost every recipe.

Before we move ahead, there are some foods that are safe to eat, and some that aren’t. Read and learn more about the Top 16 Exotic Foods That Can Actually Kill You. Now back to our discussion on plant-based meats.

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5 – Mushrooms

Mushrooms - 7 Best Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

Although there’s still no clarity on whether mushrooms can be considered vegetables, they make for a great alternative to meat. Considering the fact that they’re unprocessed, people on gluten-free diets can also use them as a substitute. If you’re firing up the grill, cook portobello mushroom caps to be used in burgers instead of meat.

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If you’re not a burger person, you can always slice them and use mushrooms in tacos. But seriously, who doesn’t like a good burger? Mushrooms give you the benefit of high fiber. They’re also low in calories. This means it’s an ideal food for people trying to drop weight.

The only downside of mushrooms is that they don’t come with a lot of protein. This is also the problem with other alternatives. While they are low on protein, they’re still packed with other essential nutrients. They’re a rich source of many B vitamins, and also for selenium.

Mushrooms are a whole-food option that can be used in pasta, as well as salads and stir-fries. While they don’t completely make up for the nutrients in meat, they taste great as an addition to your meal.

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6 – Jackfruit

Jackfruit

This next entry has been a popular fruit in Southeast Asian cuisines for a long time now. Not only does it go well with meals, but you can also eat it on its own. Weirdly enough, jackfruits have only started to become popular in the United States.

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A jackfruit might remind you of pineapple. Not just in taste, but also in texture. It’s really chewy. This particular fruit is now being used as a substitute for pulled pork in most barbeque recipes. You could get jackfruit in its natural form, or as a canned food. If you’re choosing the canned variety, they’re usually stored in syrup to make them last longer.

So you’ll need to check the label to see if there’s any added sugar. Jackfruit is not such a great alternative in terms of nutrition. It’s a high-calorie food and also offers low amounts of protein.

But if you want a convincing substitute for your meat, look no further than jackfruit. You can pair it up with other high-protein foods. This way, you’ll get all the nutrients you need.

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7 – Beans and Legumes

Beans and Legumes

If you don’t want processed meat, try some beans or legumes. Not only do they serve as a filling alternative to meat, they’re also affordable and packed with protein. And I mean PACKED. Granted, beans don’t contain all the essential amino acids your body needs. But it’s still a great source of plant-based protein.

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Moreover, beans are rich in fiber content and are also a good source of iron. There are so many different kinds of beans out there. Each type has a different flavor. This is a pretty good deal.

You can use different beans for different recipes, and have them all taste different. Let me give you an example… If you’re working on a Mexican-style meal, the best choice of beans would be black or pinto. When it comes to Mediterranean cuisine, chickpeas and cannellini beans are probably going to be your best bet.

Beans can also be used in soups, stews, and burgers. Yes, I said it, burgers. You need something to boost up the flavor from time to time. As I said earlier, who doesn’t like a good burger? Are you worried that you might not be getting the right nutrients?

There’s no doubt that meat and meat substitutes are great sources of protein. But not everybody wants to eat them. In that case, there are veggies you can eat for your daily protein. Why should you focus on this nutrient so much? What does it do for your body? Let’s look at a couple more articles, shall we?

Read Best High Protein Vegetables – Healthy Plant-Based Proteins. You can also try Top 5 High Thermic Foods – Boost Your Metabolism Naturally. Or better yet, read both, and learn more about becoming a healthier person! Are you thinking about trying plant-based meats? Let us know in the comments!

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