Whether you’ve decided you’re kicking your meat consumption habits to the curb or you just want to try something new and healthy, there are plenty of meat substitutes available on the market that often taste just as delicious as the real thing.
It can be difficult to figure out which products are actually worth trying, however, so we’ve done the dirty work for you. Check out some of these nutritious, decadent meat substitutes before you reach for the fried chicken at dinnertime. You’ll be surprised at how absolutely yum-tastic these subs actually are.
When you stop eating meat, you start realizing just how many dishes call for ground beef. Tacos, spaghetti, and casseroles are all a pain to make with most meat substitutes, but Dixie Diner’s Club Beef (Not!) makes that a problem of the past.
Beef (Not!) is one of the few meat substitutes I’ve tried that actually behaves like ground beef. You can even make a meatloaf out of it. Better still, it’s shelf stable, and ounce for ounce is cheaper than real beef. The only hassle is having to reconstitute it with water (or broth), but this is a small drawback for such a versatile product.
Just Like Chicken is a great chicken substitute for a variety of meals. It comes in chunks that make it really easy to deal with, and the texture and flavor are pretty close to the real thing.
This particular product is excellent for easy dishes like salads, tacos, casseroles, and the like. It’s also small enough and soft enough that you can ground or dice it with ease as well.
Finding good jerky substitute is almost impossible, but Primal Spirit’s Vegan Jerky is about as close as you can get. It’s doesn’t quite imitate jerk perfectly, but it does sate the same craving.
The variety pack lets you choose from Texas BBQ, Thai Peanut, Hickory Smoked, Hot & Spicy, Teriyaki, and Mesquite Lime. Some are made of soy protein, while others are composed of Shiitake Mushroom. This pack gives you a tasty variety and should give you the chance to choose your new favorite not-jerky.
Like the Just Like Chicken, Just Like Beef gives you nice manageable pieces of imitation beef that do a great job of matching the texture and flavor of real beef. The most important quality of this product is that it’s one of the rare imitation beefs that is the right consistency to use in stews and soups.
One of the easiest and most delicious things you can do with vegetables is make a stew, but if you can’t have meat in your life, you lose a lot of flavor and texture without beef. Now, you can live vegan and have a delicious stew, and hardly anyone will be able to tell the difference between your dish and one made with real meat.
Hoosier Hill Farm Imitation Chicken Chunks is another great imitation chicken that makes life a lot easier for those trying to figure out how to adapt recipes to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Of course, the easiest way to do this is just not to adapt at all. This imitation chicken is close enough to the real thing to use in chicken salad, soups, and any other application where little bite-sized bits of chicken are needed.
These chunks come unflavored and are shelf stable so that you can store them for years without worry about spoilage. It’s made of soy protein but does an excellent job of imitating texture. It can be a bit bland, but with the right complimentary ingredients, it tastes great.
If you’re looking to buy meat substitute in bulk, this variety pack is fantastic. You get four kinds of product, beef, chicken, taco, and bacon. They’re all shelf-stable for up to ten years and just have to be rehydrated.
The Augason Farms pack is great if you just need a ton of ground-style meat substitute. This is ideal if you’re looking to host a party or need to make a ton of food for the holidays. It’s easy to get intimidated by having to make a lot of food at once if you’re trying to cook vegetarian, especially since meat-free meals are sometimes presented as a bit too boutique. With this pack, though, you can churn out chow by the pound and be sure that you’re using a tasty, quality product.