Food, Health & Fitness

Top 5 Meat Substitutes for Vegans & Vegetarians

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Top 5 Meat Substitutes for Vegans & Vegetarians

The vegetarian diet is effective for many health benefits including low blood pressure, low cholesterol, and low BMI. But you have to make sure that you are eating balanced meals and getting nutrients that can be lacking for vegans and vegetarians like iron, omega-3s, and vitamin B12.  

Meat alternatives are an advantage over meat as they are free of cholesterol and typically contain less fat and calories. Meat substitutes are made from nuts, vegetables, soy, wheat gluten, or sometimes from the combination of all. 

If you are looking for substitutes for animal proteins or just want to change your dinner game. Even if you are not on a plant-based diet and just want to cut down your consumption of meat. Try these top 5 meat substitutes for vegans and vegetarians.

      1. Lentils

Lentils are an affordable source of plant-based protein. These legumes are high in protein and can be very filling. Lentils come in various colors like red, black, brown, and green. You can buy them canned or dried. The texture and flavor of lentils make them a great substitute for ground beef in many recipes. 

      2. Tofu

Tofu is one of the most common meat substitutes and is readily available. It is made from curdled soybeans and is a low-calorie source of protein. Tofu is available in soft, firm, and extra-firm textures. You can grill, fry, or bake the tofu.  It also has a neutral flavor because of which it can be paired with any veggies, sauces, and grains.

      3. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a great option if you are looking for unprocessed and whole-food meat substitutes.  It naturally has a meat-like flavor and is rich in umami. Portobello mushroom caps are used in burgers by grilling or boiling them. Mushrooms contain low calories and high fiber but do not provide much protein. You can use mushrooms to make stir-fries, burgers, salads, and tacos. 

      4. Jackfruit

Jackfruit is a large tropical fruit with a subtle fruity flavor. It has a chewy flavor and is used as a substitute for shredded chicken or pulled pork. You can purchase jackfruit either raw or canned. Jackfruits contain high carbs but are low in protein. You can use jackfruit to make a pulled pork sandwich, nachos, chili, and tacos. 

      5. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and has a distinct nutritional profile from tofu. Tempeh is rich in protein, vitamins, and fiber, unlike tofu. Furthermore, as a fermented food, it has more digestive benefits. Tempeh has a strong nutty flavor and firm texture. It is usually paired with peanut-based sauces. You can make grain bowls, sandwiches, lettuce wraps, or Thai salads with tempeh.