It’s a great time to eat vegan. There are more plant-based meat options than ever before, and they’re available everywhere, from your local co-op to big-box stores, including Target and Walmart. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which ones to try first—so we’ve taken away the guesswork with this handy list. Vegan meats have gotten so delicious that there’s no excuse to keep eating animals. Whether you’re already vegan or considering making the switch, think of this as your go-to vegan meat guide and try this stuff ASAP. Also, check our delicious vegan meat recipes.
Vegan Meat Products
Tofu is a great substitute for meats including pork, chicken, beef, and seafood in recipes. It’s made from soybeans and is high in protein and calcium. Tofu has been a staple of Asian cuisine for ages, but most people think of tofu when they hear the words “vegetarian” and “vegan.” Tofu gets a bad rap as being soft, spongy, bland, and tasteless, but that doesn’t have to be true. Buy extra-firm tofu and press the heck out of it. Or, freeze it and then press it. Tofu can be as firm and chewy as meat. It also has an amazing ability to absorb flavors through spices and marinades, so be liberal with seasoning before cooking it.
Tempeh is firmer than tofu and has a more grainy texture. It is made from fermented soybeans and has a nutty flavor. It’s packed with protein as well as fiber, calcium, and vitamins. One of the advantages to cooking with tempeh is that you don’t have to press it. Just slice it, dice it, or grind it up in a food processor. If you find tempeh to be a bit bitter, however, try steaming it for a few minutes before using it. I find tempeh to be the perfect texture to emulate fish in recipes. It also is a great substitute for ground beef in chilies and other dishes.
3. Textured Vegetable Protein
TVP or texturized vegetable protein is an inexpensive, easy to use the ingredient. It’s dehydrated soy, and once you rehydrate it, you can do just about anything with it. It comes in granules or chunks. You can use it for ground beef dishes, to make cutlets, or delicious burgers and meatloaves. It is also listed sometimes as TSP or texturized soy protein.
Jackfruit may be a healthy tropical fruit, but its texture and mild taste make it a wonderful stand-in for meat. If you want the jackfruit to be chewier, just roast it on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Other than a slightly sweet taste, almost like pineapple, the jackfruit is pretty much a blank canvas, so you can use whatever spice and flavor panels you like best – Indian, Mexican, Chinese, etc. It can be used to make pulled “pork” or BBQ jackfruit.
When you want that savory, meaty taste, that umami, mushrooms are the way to go. Their flavor is rich, earthy, and meaty, especially cremini or Portobello mushrooms. They are healthy and filling and can replace meat in any recipe.
How To Make Vegetarian Meat From Scratch
Here is a simple recipe for you to make vegetarian meat. This is one of the best vegan meat recipes that you must try for sure.
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup liquid amino acid
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup tamari
- Stir vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, liquid amino acid, olive oil, and garlic in a bowl until ingredients come together into a ball. Knead ball until the dough has a rubbery texture. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces and shape into 1/2-inch thick patties.
- Bring 4 cups vegetable broth, water, and tamari to a boil in a large pot. Carefully place patties into boiling broth; cover pot and return to a boil. Set lid slightly askew to vent steam and reduce heat to low. Continue simmering patties until firm, turning patties occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove pot from heat and set the lid aside. Allow patties to cool in broth for 15 minutes before serving.
2. Vegan Popcorn Chicken
This is definitely one of the most favorite items among the chicken lovers, but what if you are a chicken lover but suddenly want to or happen to be a vegan, don’t worry here is the vegan version of the recipe.
- 2 cups dried soy chunks (TVP chunks work too)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 inch cube of ginger, grated
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth (use what you had soaked from the TVP)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp lemon pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- For the dip:
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1/3 cup sour cream (use soy sour cream to keep it vegan)
- dash of salt and pepper
- In a large bowl, combine soy chunks, mashed garlic, ginger, 1 tsp salt and fill the bowl with vegetable broth until it covers the soy chunks. Soak for about 20 minutes or until the chunks are soft.
- Heat a pot with about an inch of oil on medium high heat.
- Mix together 1/2 cup flour and 3/4 cup vegetable broth from the soaking soy chunks and whisk until no lumps remain. Divide between two bowls.
- Once the chunks are soft and soaked, gently squeeze the excess liquid from the soy chunks and coat in one of the bowls of flour mixture.
- Transfer the chunks to a ziploc bag with 1/2 cup cornstarch. Shake until coated, then transfer to the second bowl of flour mixture, coat, then transfer to another ziploc bag that has the garlic powder, bread crumbs, lemon pepper, and salt.
- Fry the chunks in oil in batches until golden. You may need to push them around to fry all sides because they tend to like to float in one way.
- Remove and drain on a paper towel.
- In a food processor, blend the dill, sour cream, salt and pepper to make the dip.
- Serve the fried chunks with dip and enjoy!
3. Vegan Fried Chicken
There is no reason to head out for fried chicken, when you can make this amazing recipe at home without harming any animals!!
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten
- 5 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1½ cup Franks hot sauce (for a less spicy version sub ¾ with vegetable broth instead)
- 5 tbsp tahini
- 6 cups of vegetable broth
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ chipotle powder
- ⅓ Frank’s Original Red Hot Pepper Sauce
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 3 eggs worth of prepared egg replacer (I like The Vegg)
- Oil for frying
- In a mixing bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder and poultry seasoning.
- In a larger bowl, combine Franks and tahini and whisk until smooth.
- Mix the dry ingredients with the wet and stir until well combined.
- Knead the dough until it is elastic but not dry. Sprinkle some additional gluten flour if you find you have made your dough too sticky.
- Divide the dough into chicken size pieces. Keep in mind they will grow to about twice their size, so make them a bit smaller than a normal chicken breast.
- Place the nuggets in a pot filled with boiling broth, ensure they are totally covered.
- Cook nuggets in broth for 1 hour at a low boil, stirring every 15 mins.
- Remove from broth and place on a wire baking rack to dry.
- Combine the hot sauce, egg replacer and mustard in a small bowl.
- Combine the flour and all spices in another shallow bowl, and whisk until well combined.
- Working with one piece of seitan at a time, coat each piece with the flour, then dredge it in the hot sauce mixture, and coat again in the flour mixture.
- Set aside until the rest of the seitan is breaded.
- Heat up plenty of oil in a skillet, or heat up your deep fryer. When hot (350 degrees) fry the filets for 8-12 minutes or until they are light brown and crispy.
- Remove the seitan and place on paper towels to drain
What is Vegan Meat Made Of?
Essentially, meatless meats are foods derived from non-animal proteins—soy, other legumes, and fungi are common sources—and processed so they have the texture and flavor of popular flesh foods.
On the one hand, they provide healthy, low-fat sources of protein for those who eat little or no meat. Plant-based alternative meat products are comparatively lower in fat, cholesterol, and salt, and richer in fiber than products derived from animal flesh. Veggie meats are also high in protein, which may be important for vegetarians or vegans whose diets are otherwise protein-deficient. Additionally, the ecological footprint of alternative meat production is far lighter than that of animal foods, making faux meats an eco-friendly dining option.
On the other hand, no matter how they’re sliced, most veggie meats fall into the category of packaged, processed, convenience foods. A review of the nutrition labels of some common meat substitutes reveals long ingredients lists peppered with curious and unfamiliar items. Many of the most popular meat substitutes contain colorants, thickeners, preservatives, stabilizers, and emulsifiers, which are requisite to maintaining texture, flavor, and shelf life.
Gardein Vegan Meat
We love that Gardein offers fishless fish, including a golden fishless fillet, as well as mini crabless cakes. Its website also features fun recipes and a page of gluten-free products. There are a range of vegan meat products available from Gardein, so that you can simply go as per your wish and you can try cooking some amazing vegan meat recipes.