Meanwhile, the selection of vegan alternatives to meat is very large. Almost all major meat companies now offer a vegan product line and there are many smaller companies that are purely vegan. There is a vegan version of almost everything from sausages over ham up to burgers or even whole holiday roast.
However, you should always look at the ingredients of the product, because some are only vegetarian and still contain eggs or milk. You should also make sure that the list of ingredients is not too long. Because highly processed foods are usually not really healthy. Alternatively, you can simply prepare the meat substitute yourself. You can find recipes here on our blog. These are the 13 best alternatives to meat:
1. Tofu as Universal Meat Substitute
Tofu has been one of the staple foods in Asia for centuries and is the classic meat substitute. Because it is a low-calorie source of protein that can be used in an unbelievable variety of ways. Tofu is made from soaked soybeans and water and then pressed into blocks. It is available in various degrees of firmness and flavours.
Plain Tofu has only a very subtle taste, so that it absorbs other spices very well. But there is also ready-marinated tofu with, for example, olives or tomatoes or nuts in it. Then there is smoked tofu, which is a hearty component in many dishes. It can be used as a substitute for bacon or together with kidney beans to make vegan liver sausage.
Tofu can be fried, baked, boiled or deep-fried. But my favourite way of preparing it is deep-frying. Because by deep-frying it becomes fluffy on the inside and gets a crispy crust, just like you know it from the Asians. Tofu can be bought in almost every supermarket, organic market or health food store. Even drugstores like DM and Rossmann offer it. I especially like the fresh tofu from the Asian market, which is sold there unpacked in blocks.
Here are some recipe ideas on what you can do with tofu:
2. Soy Meat as an Alternative to Minced or Shredded Meat
Various types of soy meat are made from soy. Soybeans are pressed and processed into flour. The soy flour is then given a meat-like shape and texture. The soy meat is offered dried and must then swell briefly in hot water before it can be processed just like animal meat.
There is soy meat as granulate for Bolognese or Chili sin Carne, as coarse pieces for ragout, as soy steaks, as pulled soy or in many other forms. Meanwhile you can get the dried soy meat in larger supermarkets (mostly in the organic department) and drugstores, as well as in all organic markets and health food stores.
Here are some recipe ideas for what you can do with soy meat:
Tempeh is still relatively unknown in German cuisine. It is a particularly digestible and nutritious food. Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian fermentation product made from soybeans. Similar to cheese production, special mildews are used for fermentation. These mildews unlock the proteins in the beans and make them particularly good to use. Tempeh is a real protein bomb with an average of 20 g protein per 100 g and also has a high fiber content. It is therefore perfect for a healthy, balanced, wholesome diet.
Tempeh tastes pleasantly mild and nutty and has a firm and at the same time tender bite. Tempeh imbibes the taste of spices well and can therefore be marinated or seasoned well. There are no limits to creativity when it comes to use. It can be marinated in a spicy sauce or spices and then fried in oil. Tempeh is available in the Asian market, in most organic markets and health food stores as well as in some large supermarkets.
4. Seitan is a Universal Meat Substitute
Seitan has been used for thousands of years in Asian cuisine and especially in traditional Japanese tempura cuisine. This is because it resembles meat in its consistency and is easy to season and prepare. For the production of seitan, wheat flour is mixed with water to form a dough and after a resting period is washed out by kneading under water. This washes out a large part of the starch and leaves behind a tough, protein-rich mass. You can also produce the seitan yourself very cheaply in this way.
The simpler and more successful method, however, is the use of ready-made Seitan-Fix, which is also available at a reasonable price in large supermarkets (Kaufland), organic markets or health food stores. This is because the seitan powder can be processed just like flour. The dough can be flavoured with all imaginable spices and then boiled or steamed, which gives it its meaty consistency. This makes it easy to make vegan sausages, schnitzels or even a holiday roast at home.
Many ready-made meat replacement products are also made on the basis of wheat protein. The product range extends from sausage, ham, meatballs to bratwurst and schnitzel. Ready-made seitan products are available in many supermarkets and discounters, as well as in organic and health food stores.
Here are some recipe ideas for what you can do with Seitan:
Lupine is a very protein-rich domestic legume. It is therefore now considered the meat substitute of the future. Because its cultivation is particularly sustainable and it can be grown in Germany without any problems. In addition, its particularly high-quality protein contains all essential amino acids.
Lupine is now available in a wide range of meat substitute products such as schnitzel, gyros and sausages. You can buy these products primarily in organic food stores or health food stores, but some large supermarkets also sell lupine products.
6. Jackfruit as Pulled Pork Substitute
Jackfruit is the new trendsetter among vegan meat substitutes. The tropical fruit is harvested unripe and has a very discreet, slightly fruity taste. The interesting thing is not the taste, but the fibrous consistency, which is perfect for simulating meat dishes such as pulled pork or goulash. Jackfruit takes very well the taste of spices or marinades, so it can be used in many ways.
In Germany you can sometimes buy Jackfruit fresh from the organic market, but I mostly use the canned version in brine, which can be bought in any Asian market or larger supermarket (mostly in the Asia corner). Meanwhile, there are also ready meals with Jackfruit.
Here are some recipe ideas on what you can do with Jackfruit:
7. Green Spelt as Meat Substitute
Green spelt is harvested half ripe, roasted and then dried. It has a particularly intense taste and is easy to digest. Green spelt has a high Vitamin B content and also contains magnesium and phosphorus.
It can be bought in the form of grist or semolina and used as a base for vegan meatballs and burgers, in stews or as fillings for cabbage rolls. There are also ready-made burger patties or meatballs, which can be found in organic markets and health food stores.
8. Oat Flakes for Schnitzel and Roasts
Oat flakes are perfect for use with fried foods or schnitzels. They are a perfect source of zinc and iron and are available at very reasonable prices in every supermarket and discount store.
They contain a lot of healthy, unsaturated fatty acids as well as a lot of magnesium and thus promote fat burning. You can, for example, prepare vegetable roasts or mushroom schnitzels with them.
9. Beans for Burger Patties
Beans are a healthy and tasty alternative to meat. For example, you can make delicious burger patties out of them, such as the Black Bean Burger popular in America. Beans are rich in protein and fibre. The darker the bean, the more anthocyanins are in the shell. This natural plant pigment acts as an antioxidant.
You can find the beans dried or already pre-cooked in the can in the supermarket or organic market. In addition, the organic market offers ready-made burger patties made from beans, for example. Furthermore you can make vegan liver sausage from kidney beans and smoked tofu.
10. Chickpeas for Falafel
Chick peas are particularly popular in the Arabic cuisine and are processed into falafel or hummus, for example. This is because they have a very positive nutrient composition and contain more protein than some types of meat. In addition, they are rich in iron, calcium and lots of fibre, which means that chick peas have a long and lasting satiation. Ready-made falafel can be bought in many supermarkets and you can find them at many kebab stands along the way. But you can also simply make them yourself.
Here is a recipe for falafel made out of chickpeas:
11. Pea Protein for Vegan Meat Products
Meat substitutes based on pea protein have been available for some time. These products are made with vegetables, pea protein and various spices without preservatives, flavour enhancers, colourings or other additives. They offer a high protein and iron content with a low fat and carbohydrate content.
So far you can find schnitzel, meatballs or burger patties based on pea protein. The most famous among them is probably the Beyond Burger, which looks and tastes like a beef burger and even “bleeds” thanks to vegetable haem from beetroot. The products are sold in supermarkets, organic markets or in health food stores.
12. Mushrooms as Burger Patties or Schnitzel
Many mushrooms are also great for meat replacement. Oyster mushrooms or shredded porcini or chestnuts are particularly suitable breaded and deep-fried as an alternative to fried chicken. Portobello mushrooms, for example, can be used to make tasty and savoury burger patties. And sliced mushrooms can be turned into smoky, spicy mushroom bacon in no time at all.
Here are some recipes with mushrooms:
Cauliflower has long shed its dusty image and is currently experiencing a real revival. It is perfect for breading and frying as an alternative to chicken wings and is also much healthier. By the way, did you know that cauliflower can also be eaten raw?
Here is a recipe for vegan cauliflower chicken wings:
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