As time goes on, reasons not to try vegan alternatives to your favourite animal-based foods are beginning to disappear.
Most supermarkets now offer some versions of plant-based milks, veggie burgers and even dairy-free cheeses. Restaurants are becoming more savvy and catering to customers’ requests for veggie-centered meals.
The final frontier seems to be making your own vegan “meats” from scratch!
Luckily, this is much easier to do than you might think. You may be surprised to learn that you can recreate just about any animal product with plant food, honoring the same tastes and textures you grew up with. All it takes is a bit of adventurousness in the kitchen and, for some recipes, getting to know your grocery store a little more intimately. Here are some recipes for meaty foods you would never think could be made vegan:
The most classic American, meat-centered comfort food: the burger. What I tend to find most limiting about burgers made from animals is that the only way to change things up is through the spices and the fixin’s. Veggie burgers, however, are truly limitless. There are a hundred different beans and grains to use, veggies to add, nuts and seeds to throw in, spices and condiments to include, to create a truly unique and flavorful burger.
Here is a Black Bean and Mushroom Burger to get your feet wet in the world of veggie burger creating. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, try any of these mouthwatering ideas!
Store-bought alternatives: Amy’s Kitchen veggie burgers, Beyond Meat “Beast” burgers and Gardein veggie burgers.
Smoky, Salty Bacon
“Bacon culture” has officially taken over, and you may be surprised to learn that even vegans are all on board. We just prefer our bacon to come from plants.
Try out some homemade bacon bits or coconut bacon for sprinkling on salads or stuffing into wraps for a smokey burst of flavor. Or, if you want strips, try frying up some homemade tempeh bacon. You could also pick up the new book Baconish: Sultry and Smoky Plant-Based Recipes from BLTs to Bacon Mac & Cheese by Leinana Two Moons, which is filled with smokey-sweet plant-based goodness!
Store-bought alternatives: Lightlife‘s Fakin’ Bacon Strips, Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon, Phoney Baloney’s coconut bacon.
Seitan for Sandwiches and Sausages
But what could I make for a delicious, breakfast sandwich? What is there to make for delightfully seasoned centerpiece for an old fashioned meat and potatoes type of meal? Enter: seitan. Otherwise known as “wheat meat,” seitan features the high-protein gluten component in wheat, which becomes incredibly versatile for meaty dishes. Seitan can be made into sausages, slices and even steaks! Here is a good post for beginner seitan cooks.
Store-bought alternatives: Field Roast deli slices and sausages, Tofurky deli slices and sausages, Upton’s Naturals seitan
Other Scrumptious Vegan Meats
If your south-of-the-border dish is missing a meaty element, look no further than homemade vegan chorizo! If your bagel is incomplete without salty and savoury lox, check out this recipe made from carrots! And, if your barbecue just needs a pulled pork option, try out BBQ jackfruit for your sandwiches. I doubt there is anything left out there that has not yet been veganized, so keep your mind and your browser’s search bar open. And get cooking!
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.