Happy World Vegan Day. Whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian, or perhaps you want to start adding more vegetables into your diet, I’m going to share with you 10 plant-based ingredients which works great as a meat replacement and how you can use them into your recipes.
These are meaty and tasty enough to take the place of beef, pork, lamb and chicken and overtime, you’ll find yourself consuming more meat-free meals.
So let’s start with my favourite meat substitute, Tempeh!
So what’s tempeh? Tempeh is a fermented form of soy that’s high in protein, low in fat and rich in probiotics, hence making it very easy to digest. Tempeh has a chewy consistency and a nutty flavour.
For every 100g it contains 18g of protein and under 200 Calories! It is also a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, without the saturated fat or cholesterol.
Because of its firm texture, tempeh is an excellent choice as a meat replacement. It is an extremely versatile ingredient to add to any dish.
Treat it just like meat! It can be steamed, grilled, baked, or sautéed. Make stir-fry chicken, chicken nuggets, skewers, sandwiches, or even beef spagetthi bolognese using tempeh. Check out my tempeh recipe here!
2) Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are always on top of my list because of the high protein and fibre content. I love to add beans into my diet because I know that I’ll still be meeting my protein requirement despite cutting back on meat. Plus, they contain no saturated fat. They are also inexpensive and very filling!
Some of my favourite include black beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils and pinto beans. Beans and legumes give a grounding heartiness to your meal. Mash them to make veggie-burger patties, use them to fill burritos, sandwiches, top onto salads, make dips, stews, dumplings, Shepard’s pie or simple enjoy on their own! This list goes on. So replace meat and play around with it.
Mushroom is a frequently used ingredients in plant-based recipes thanks to its dense, earthy and meaty taste and texture. Think of using mushroom as the base for vegan versions of your classic meat dishes such as burgers, bolognese, savoury pies, stir-fries or tacos.
Mushroom works really well when combined with another ingredient such as tofu, tempeh, beans or nuts. Make yourself a veggie burger or pulled “pork” sandwich or tacos using mushrooms.! It’s seriously meaty and delicious.
Eggplant, is similar to mushrooms thanks to its earthy & meaty texture and can be used just like mushroom. It is very filling with virtually no fat.
Eggplant makes a great meat substitute because of its bulkiness. You can mash it up to make meat patties, slice into chucks to make stir-fries, or thinly sliced and grilled to make yourself a Vegan Bacon.
Tofu is a staple food in also every vegan or vegetarian’s diet. It contains 10g of protein per half cup serving. Plus it is very low in calories making it an ideal food for those watching their weight. Tofu is an extremely versatile ingredient and takes on the flavour of whatever you cook it with.
Use firm tofu to replace meat in stir-fries, baked or grilled recipes or even scramble eggs. As for silken or soft tofu, it’s perfect to replace egg or cream. You can use it to make vegan quiche, chocolate mousse dessert and even dips.
Remember when it comes to tofu, always opt for organic varieties to avoid genetically modified soy and any funky pesticides, which can do more harm than good.
I can’t help myself but to snack on edamame especially when I’m in a Japanese restaurant. Edamame is a little green powerhouse. It is a complete protein with all nice essential amino acids and pack a whopping 17g of protein per cup. This is equivalent to the amount in half of an average chicken breast.
You can toss it onto salad or soup or simply have it on its own as a healthy snack. Instead of snacking on beef jerky, much on edamame!
Right now I bet you’re thinking, “How can cauliflower replace meat? It’s so white and bland.” Well, it is making it very versatile and easy to work with. It is known to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and help your body detox.
Cauliflower is fibrous and provides a complex texture to give a dish substance. It soaks up marinades and spices to give your meal a full and hearty flavour.
Use it as a meat and grain replacement. Grate it into rice-like particles to make cauliflower rice, mix it with other ingredients to make burger patties or even gluten-free cauliflower pizza crust. And instead of chicken popcorn bites, make yourself popcorn cauliflower bites,
Start experimenting with cauliflower and it might just be your next favourite vegetable.
Quinoa is a supergrain and should be part of your diet whether or not you’re a Vegan. It is gluten-free, high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids.
Will it’s not directly a replacement for meat, you would want to add this into your diet. It can be the base for any type of salad, rice bowl or added into burger patties. You can even make quinoa scramble or oats for a much nutritious breakfast.
Beets are a wonderful source of vegetable protein, magnesium, fiber, iron, calcium, and potassium.
This naturally sweet vegetable and tasty plant work well in burgers, soups, salads, and other savoury dishes. You can even use beets in desserts and make healthy red velvet cake.
Replace pepperoni or salamis and use thin slices on pizzas. Instead of steak tartare, create beet tartare. Combine with other vegetables to make patties.
And finally, perhaps the most unconventional meat replace is Jackfruit. It sounds bizarre, but the texture of jackfruit is rather similar to shredded chicken, pulled pork and you can even slow-cooked it just like beef stew, with a similar final texture.
It picks up flavour easily, allowing you to transform it into something entirely new. Plus the sweetness of jackfruit means you won’t need to use lots of seasoning to bring out the flavour of the dish. You got to give this a try!
These are just 10 plant-based ingredients that would make awesome meaty dishes! Don’t limit your creativity, ok? Dare to experiment and transform your favourite meat dishes into something wholesome by using plant-based ingredients.
I hope this video will encourage you to find creative ways to start adding more vegetables into your diet. It might be challenging to begin, but keep trying and tweak as you go along, and soon, you will be making delicious and satisfying meatless meals and before you know it, you don’t even miss meat at all.