For many people who are starting off adopting a vegan lifestyle, it can be difficult to find something to replace the meat they are used to consuming in their diet. For example, what do I have instead of a burger patty? What about something to put in spaghetti sauce or instead of chicken in a stir fry? Over time, as you get more used to consuming and making vegan food, it will become easier to find appropriate substitutes, but in the early stages, you can try out some of these popular options for meat replacement.
Made from gluten grains, seitan starts as a grain-like ingredient, which is granular in texture, or ground fine like a flour, depending on the type you are using. Combined with water, spices and different flavouring options, the mixture comes together to create a sticky product that can then be cut into the desired shape and size before steaming or baking. The result is a product that looks like sliced meat, and has a slightly chewy texture. It holds up well when cooked in things such as stews, stir-fries and sauces, making it an ideal solution to use in foods like these which are typically meat based. It can also be ground up, to resemble ground meat for things such as tacos, or stay in a larger size for burgers.
While soy may get a bad rap from some, when consumed in moderation and from an organic, non-GMO source, it can offer a lot of health benefits for vegans, especially its content of calcium. Tofu is the most common soy option, while other products, such as textured vegetable protein, or imitation meats are also soy based. Opt for non-flavoured tofu when possible and stay away from pre-made meat alternatives, as they often are highly processed and contain unhealthy ingredients. To enjoy your tofu, marinade for a few hours, and then bake, BBQ, or sauté in a pan. Enjoy in a Buddha bowl or add to any classic Asian dish!
A fermented product, tempeh is made from soy beans or other legumes, such as chickpeas. The beans are fermented for several months, before being pressed into molds and flattened into a square or rectangle shaped product that is one to two centimetres thick. The tempeh can be left as is or flavoured prior to sale. Once purchased, as part of your regular vegan meal kit, slice or cube the tempeh. If it has no flavour added already, marinade for a few hours prior to cooking and then bake in the oven or sauté. Tempeh is great for a protein source in bowls, to be added to sandwiches or wraps, or to use in stir-frys. You can also cook it on the BBQ for a delicious, smoky addition to your meal.
Don’t think that just because you aren’t eating meat, you can’t have foods typically associated with meat ingredients. Instead, you can just enjoy an even tastier version. Or better yet, have someone else make a tasty version for you and sign up to our vegan meal subscription service.