It has become a running social and environment-friendly trend from around the world, where people are either turning vegan or ditching meat to become vegetarian. If you’re interested in cutting down your consumption of meat and adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle but don’t know where to start, we have plenty of alternatives listed for you. It can also be difficult for meat lovers to transition immediately. The key is to take the process slowly by preparing yourself mentally. You need to ease yourself into it only if you’re comfortable. There is no gun to your head. If you’re someone who has recently made the switch and you feel a little clueless about what to eat, we’ve got you covered. With the right ingredients, you can add an interesting meaty flavor to your meals without having to use actual meat. From mushrooms to eggplants and tofu here is a comprehensive list of some delicious meat replacement options that will keep you satiated without sacrificing your taste:
While jackfruit is technically a fruit, there is no denying that its texture is very close to that of meat. For this reason, jackfruit is loved by vegetarians, vegans, and even non-vegetarians! The texture of jackfruit is similar to pulled pork and shredded chicken and is extremely chewy. You can easily use jackfruit to replace meats like pork, mutton, and chicken in curries. You can consume it as a salad or sweet dish with syrup. Fried jackfruit chips also count as a vegan. However, it should be noted that jackfruit is high in carbohydrates and has a lower quantity of proteins. Also, be warned about the strong pungent smell. You’ll either love it or absolutely hate it!
2. Soya Chunks
There is a reason why soya chaap is a much-loved dish among vegetarians. You can make this amazing street food at home and compare it to non-veg dishes anyday. It totally bangs! Soya is one of the most popular and commonly available meat substitutes in the market and it does a pretty good job at mimicking the texture of meat. You can add them to your super spicy curries and let them soak in the magic of the dish.
Mushrooms are a wonderful and healthy alternative to meat products. They have an earthy, chewy texture to them with a lingering aftertaste. Whether you choose to saute them or have them in soup as a replacement for chicken, they make for an interesting addition to one’s dish. Moreover, what’s good about them is that they are extremely nutritious and yummy. Mushrooms are great for those who are looking for unprocessed and whole-food options. They are also rich in fiber and low in calories, making them a great food item to help you lose weight.
If you’re wondering how an eggplant/brinjal of all things can act as a meat replacement, well, we’ve got some news for you. Eggplant is not just a meat replacement, but a delicious and highly nutritious one at that! If you’re someone who doesn’t quite enjoy the taste of mushrooms or jackfruit, or any other meat replacement, you should definitely give eggplant a try. You can cook it with a delicious blend of spices. Make baigan ka bharta, baigan aloo, or stir-fry. The ball is in your court and the possibilities are endless.
“Paneer samajh ke kha ja!”; everyone remembers this famous line from YouTube comedy sketches. But paneer is actually one of the most common and popular meat substitutes in our country. It can be used in a variety of masalas and dishes and is pretty tasty in itself. If you’re a vegetarian and you’re looking for a great option to replace meat, give paneer a shot. However, paneer is pretty high in calories so we’d advise you to not go overboard and eat too much of it.
6. Tofu (The Vegan Paneer)
Tofu has been a staple part of many people’s diets and while it lacks much flavor of its own, it can add a delicious twist to your dishes if you prepare it the right way. You can find Tofu at health stores and supermarkets, and it is a little more difficult to find than other meat supplements but it’s totally worth the search!
Tempeh is a delicious meat alternative that is made from culturing and fermenting soybeans. Tempeh is a little different from tofu as it is made by using the whole soybean and hence it has a totally different profile nutritionally. Tempeh contains more fiber, vitamins, and protein than tofu does and is fermented because of which it is a great option for people who struggle with issues related to digestion.
Seitan is derived from wheat gluten and has a similar texture to meat in that it is dense and chewy. Seitan also contains little to no flavoring of its own and can be flavored with soy sauce or other kinds of marinades. Seitan is also a great source of protein and iron and contains fewer carbs and isn’t too calorific in nature.
Legumes are excellent sources of protein that are plant-based and can serve as a hearty and really filling meat substitute. And what’s even more interesting is that they are unprocessed and whole foods. You can find many different types of beans and they can be anything from lentils, black beans, and even chickpeas. If you’re someone who is a fan of Mexican cuisine and all things spicy, then you should definitely consider making some delicious dishes out of legumes.
Remember, this lifestyle is entirely by choice. Never make anyone feel bad about consuming non-vegetarian food or make judgmental calls for being vegetarian. It’s a matter of respecting choices after all. If you are switching to a more plant-based lifestyle it is better for not just for your own health, but for the environment as well. Even if you don’t entirely want to give up meat, you can definitely find some tasty alternatives. Do let us know what your thoughts are in the comment section below!