With the emergence of vegetarian and vegan movements, people turn to nutrition excluding genuine meat and try to substitute it with products whose flavor reminds them of their favorite steak, chicken, or beef. Some of them do that for the reasons of solidarity with animals, others do that for health issues. Since genuine meat represents a large source of proteins, people try to find other protein sources in plants. Soya has been a leading meat substitute for years, yet other healthy ingredients can taste like your favorite piece of meat.
Tofu is a soy-based cheese described as soya curd or bean curd. It consists of soya condensed milk mixed with nigari and molded into thin blocks. If you haven’t heard of nigari, nigari represents refined natural salt, more specifically magnesium chloride. Tofu doesn’t have a particular flavor, and it absorbs the flavors of other food, just like spices.
Tofu can substitute cottage cheese or ricotta cheese in most of the recipes.
Boiled lentils can serve either as a starter or as a main dish of your meal, and it is believed that it is a good substitute for beef. When preparing lentils, be careful not to peel the skin, and choose brown, black, or green lentils. 500 gr of beef can be substituted with 150 gr of dried lentils. Lentils consist of large amounts of potassium, folate, and fiber, and therefore can act as good antioxidants.
Seitan represents wheat gluten from which starch granules have been previously removed. If you want to prepare seitan as meat, you first put it underwater to become elastic like a dough, and then you add spices. Therefore, its texture can remind one of meat since it is chewy, stringy, and elastic.
It can be a good alternative for meatballs, meatloaf, and veggie burgers.
Mushrooms are a good solution if you want to avoid meat in terms of its vitamin and mineral sources. They are rich in vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, and B12, and with minerals like zinc and selenium. If you want to prepare a blended burger, mushrooms can be cooked in their juice without blanching. They do not contain fat or carbohydrates which makes them good antioxidants.
These sausages are usually made of rice, fava bean, potato starch, fruit and vegetable juice, apple fiber, coconut oil, and sunflower oil.
There are two different types of plant-based sausages: those that remind meat in shape, color, texture, and flavor, and those that rely on spices and vegetables that have a different flavor from the meat. The plant-based sausages that remind of meat usually have the flavor of pork.
Jackfruit is an Asian tropical fruit close to figs. This fruit has a subtle flavor that reminds of pulled pork. It is usually sold in cans or frozen packages. It can be a nice addition to your sauces, sandwiches, or nachos. There are a lot of recipes with this ingredient on the internet: it can be prepared as barbeque meat, served with sweet potatoes, baked as the main ingredient of pot pie, or served as a nice addition to mushroom gyros.