Vegetable Alternatives to Meat: Which are the Best

Vegetable Alternatives to Meat: Which are the Best

When you decide to become vegetarian, one of the biggest difficulties is finding vegetable alternatives to meat that can be used in recipes that traditionally include meat.

There is no shortage of options today even if often accompanying them is skepticism about their actual similarity and, above all, the benefits or otherwise that they would bring to the body.

Vegetable alternatives to meat

Today, there are a growing number of plant-based options that can replace meat. These are the most popular varieties .


Seitan is a meat substitute made from vital wheat gluten . It has a strong flavor and chewy texture and therefore lends itself to being stir-fried or placed in sandwiches , stews and pasta dishes .

Nutritionally, seitan is a high-protein meat alternative and generally also contains small amounts of iron , calcium , and potassium .

In stores it can be found in the form of ready-to-use cubes, strips or thin slices but it is also possible to prepare it at home using vital wheat gluten, vegetable broth and flavoring agents such as soy sauce or liquid amino acids and garlic . In fact, all you need to do is combine the ingredients in a mixer, create a homogeneous mixture, make strips out of it and then cook them as you prefer.

Be careful though, since it contains gluten, Seitan is not suitable for people suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity .


Jackfruit is a large tropical fruit that grows in Asia, Africa and some areas of South America . It has a thick, green, bumpy skin and a soft, fibrous inner flesh with edible seeds.

Because of its texture and mild flavor , the jackfruit flesh is often used as a substitute in meat dishes or sandwiches.

This fruit is low in calories and has less protein than other plant-based alternatives to meat but offers some fiber and a small number of micronutrients such as iron, potassium and calcium.

Soy foods

Soy is a legume and is one of the most widely used vegetable alternatives to meat, also because it is extremely versatile Soy foods tend to have a delicate flavor and therefore are perfect substitutes for practically any type of meat and can also be used in more traditional dishes. These are the most common types.

  • Soya beans. Also called edamame , soybeans make a great addition to stir-fry but can also be cooked and eaten as a snack .
  • Tofu . Similar in texture to a spongy cake, tofu is made from soybeans and water and can be pressed, diced, and cooked. To eat it, you can sauté it in a pan, add it to salads, slice it and add it to sandwiches, or crumble it and cook it with vegetables .
  • Tempeh . Product made from fermented soybeans, it is excellent cut into thin strips and added to sautéed or crumbled and used in stews and salads .
  • Other alternatives containing soy. Finally, there are more processed plant-based alternatives to meat, such as prepackaged veggie burgers that contain soy protein .

Nutritional values ​​of vegetable alternatives to meat

In the graph the nutritional profiles of vegetable alternatives to meat based, referred to a single portion of 100 grams .



Fats Carbohydrates fibers Sodium
Seitan 141 25 2.3 6 1.2 447
Jackfruit 33 1.3 0 6.7 4 20
Tofu 39 4.4 2.2 1.1 0 16

Benefits of plant-based alternatives

The main reasons that push a person to avoid meat and to prefer vegetable solutions are ethical and can be summarized with the desire not to kill animals for their own needs and not to support the meat production chain , which due to the strong emissions it is one of the most polluting productive areas.

Although not always supported, this choice can bring many benefits, given that some vegetable alternatives to meat are free of substances harmful to heart health such as saturated fat and sodium.

Additionally, in recent years, research has linked high consumption of processed and red meats to an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer , particularly colon and breast cancer .

Plant-based alternatives are also high in fiber which helps reduce the risk of several chronic diseases.

Disadvantages of plant-based meat alternatives

While plant-based meat alternatives can offer a number of benefits, they may also have some downsides to consider.

For example, many contain ingredients not considered very healthy such as refined oils , modified corn starch , dextrose or added sugar . Therefore, before buying them, it is always good to read the labels carefully .

Also, while tofu is quite cheap, other plant-based alternatives to meat can be very expensive.

Here’s how to cook offal .

Here’s what happens to eating chicken raw .

How to defrost chicken meat correctly.



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