5 Best Meat Substitutes for Vegans


Although veganism is now mainstream with more people shifting to a vegan diet, some are not ready to give up the meaty texture and taste. And to help them stick to their decision to go vegan, vegan meat substitutes stand the only way out when cravings strike.

But with a variety of meat substitutes in the market, making a choice can be quite daunting. And let’s not ignore the fact that some may not be as healthy as they claim.

Here are some of the best vegetarian meat replacements that you should aim to include in your diet.

  1. Tofu

Tofu is a common soy-based vegetarian meat substitute with all the essential amino acids.

It’s made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curd into blocks.

Tofu is rich in proteins and can be fortified with B12 and calcium, making it even more nutritious.

  • Tempeh

Unlike tofu, tempeh is a fermented soy product pressed to form a compact cake. It’s a common vegetarian meat substitute rich in protein, minerals, and prebiotics.

  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)

TVP is a highly processed vegetarian meat substitute obtained from the byproducts of soy oil production.

It’s commonly found in frozen and processed vegetarian products.

Although flavorless on its own, TVP can add the meat texture to different vegetarian dishes.

  • Seitan

Seitan is another vegetarian meat product that can be an excellent substitute for beef and chicken.

Seitan is obtained from wheat gluten, and it’s high in protein and iron.

However, it’s unsuitable for people on a gluten-free diet.

  • Jackfruit

Yes, that exotic tropical fruit with a delightfully sweet taste when ripe, almost similar to mango, pineapple, and banana, can be a great meat substitute for vegans.

When raw, jackfruit has a neutral taste, like that of a potato. This allows it to take all kinds of seasonings.

Its meaty texture offers a great meat alternative for vegans.

For instance, jackfruit can be made into a plant-based version of pulled pork, shredded chicken, and other meat-based dishes.

But unlike other substitutes, jackfruit has insufficient amounts of protein. So you’ll have to incorporate other plant sources.

Nonetheless, it offers other health benefits, including

  • It may help control blood sugar.
  • Its antioxidant compounds may help prevent disease.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • It is high in vitamin C, which may help prevent skin problems.
  • It’s high in immune-boosting vitamins A and C, improving immune response to diseases and pathogens.
  • It contains carotenoids, an anti-inflammatory that prevents the development of chronic diseases.
  • It’s high in nutrients including potassium, manganese, magnesium, riboflavin, and copper.
  • May help lower cholesterol levels
  • It has antifungal and antibacterial properties that may be beneficial in wound healing.
  • It’s a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, all of which are great for digestion.

But besides its lack of enough protein, jackfruit’s got you covered when craving for barbecue.

And while you’re trying to find a great meat substitute, take note that a healthy diet ought to be less processed. Make sure to check the labels as most meat substitutes are rich in sodium, additives, and preservatives.