Published On: Thu, Dec 19th, 2019

Meat Substitutes For Vegetarians

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There is a common belief that “meatless meats” are made out of tofu, but usually they aren’t. Other forms of soy protein, however, are common ingredients, as is wheat protein. Some meat substitutes are far from the “real thing”, others can easily fool even the pickiest omnivores with their taste and texture.

The meaty taste is achieved by various means, often with yeast extracts and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. In home cooking miso, soy sauce and mushrooms can be used. There are also vegetarian bouillon stock cubes with a meaty taste. Mild meats like poultry are easier to “fake”. Some seaweeds can be used to create “fishy” taste.


Seitan is a soy-free option made out of wheat gluten. It has been used in Asia for centuries. These days gluten flour like Vital Wheat Gluten is widely available. Seitan is also available ready-made, but making it at home is much cheaper.

Gluten can be boiled, steamed, baked or fried, or prepared using a combination of methods, each resulting in a different texture. Most methods of preparation naturally result in a stringy and chewy seitan very similar to meat.

Soy-Based Fake Meats

Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is dried, concentrated soy protein. It is another inexpensive option which is sold dried, so it keeps almost infinitely. It is briefly soaked or added to boiling liquid. If properly seasoned, especially the mince variety is very close to mince meat.

Tofu as such is more like bland cheese than meat, but pressed (to drain out liquid, which results in a firmer texture) and marinated it can resemble chicken. It can be utilized in the making of faux meats, usually in combination with gluten. Smoked tofu is quite similar in taste to smoked mild fish.

Tempeh is a fermented soy bean product with a firmer texture and more flavour than tofu. It is not the kind of a food that would ever fool a meat-eater in its natural state, but can be considered a “faux meat”.

More Specialized Options

Meat Substitutes For Vegetarians

Quorn is a meat replacement available in some European countries. It is available as patties, burgers, “mince”, pies and even lasagna. It is made out of mycoprotein (mushroom protein) and is quite flavourful, but unfortunately for many vegetarians it contains egg whites.

Many Asian food stores offer mock meats, sometimes even mock seafood and mock mutton, which are generally difficult to find. Some of these are based on gluten, others are soy-based.

Nutritional Value

Most faux meats are high in protein. Some, but not all, are also low-fat and/or low in carbs. They are all naturally cholesterol-free and most are very low on saturated fats. Soy is rich in iron and other minerals. It also contains flavonoids and phytoestrogens which may lower cancer risk.

Some commercial mock replacements contain possibly harmful additives and vegetable gums. Carrageenan has been associated with an elevated risk of some cancers and inflammatory bowel disease. Some people consider all commercial mock meats too processed to be healthy.

Why Eat Them

Some people have problems understanding why a vegetarian would want to “pretend” to eat meat. It is true that some vegetarians find too-authentic mock meats repulsive, but most people don’t quit eating meat because of the taste, but for moral or health reasons. Meat substitutes also offer a way of continuing to make your old favorite recipes, such as pot pie or sausage gravy.

Meat substitutes also offer an alternative for those who are avoiding animal protein due to high cholesterol or other health problems. In some European countries they are actually cheaper than meat and widely enjoyed by non-vegetarians for this reason.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News andTech Preview.

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