Apart from its obvious health benefits, veganism brings with it other positive side effects. For one, going vegan means decreasing your carbon footprint by foregoing animal products, the production of which being a major contributor to pollution. A study has revealed that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.
These are some of the reasons more people are going vegan today. And you don’t even have to worry about the loss of an easy protein source or not being able to enjoy recipes that traditionally have meat ingredients. With the meat substitutes below, you can enjoy meals that aren’t only healthy but mouth-watering, too.
Probably the most popular alternative to meat, tofu is enjoyed by lots of people whether they’re on a vegan diet or not. Low in calorie and rich in protein, tofu is made from soybeans, is soft, and has a bland taste. It also tends to be as firm and chewy as meat products and can easily absorb the flavours of whatever you cook it with. These characteristics make tofu a perfect alternative to chicken, pork, beef, or seafood. From salads to stir-fry, you can enjoy tofu as the main ingredient of your vegan meals.
Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, except it undergoes fermentation. It is also firmer and has a more grainy texture than tofu, but it’s just as protein-rich. Tempeh is a perfect alternative to fish in recipes. You can also grind tempeh slices in a food processor and use them as a substitute to ground beef. With its versatility, though, you don’t need to have a certification as a natural chef to whip up a culinary masterpiece starring this ingredient.
Derived from wheat protein, seitan is the meat alternative that has the most meat-like texture. Its dense and chewy texture makes it perfect for grilling or frying, which is why it’s also a popular ingredient in a range of products including vegan sausage and other cold cuts. Just bear in mind that seitan is made from wheat gluten so it’s not suitable for you if you’re on a gluten-free vegan diet.
Known for its meaty taste and texture, mushrooms cannot be left out of this list. You can cut them up into small pieces or use the entire head as your meat substitute, like a Portobello mushroom burger. Not only are these cheaper than meat, but mushrooms are also low in calories but rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, making them one of the healthiest meat alternatives.
Lentils, beans, and peas all make up the legume family and their textures make them a great substitute for meat. They are inexpensive, can cook easily, and come in a variety of colours and flavours. Whether you’re filling your soups and stews with beans or you’re stuffing your tortillas with spiced lentils, legumes make for the perfect meat alternative.
These are only five of the many meat substitutes you can try while on a vegan diet. With these alternatives, you can enjoy classic meat dishes in a healthier and more environmentally-conscious way.