Top 5 Meat Replacements
Meat replacements are becoming a popular addition to freezers all across the country, with delicious new products continually launching in supermarkets. Whether your family is vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian, these meat replacements are definite crowd pleasers. These products are designed as alternatives to meat, mimicking the texture and taste of animal products, but without the heinous cruelty. For some, these products can be a great help when transitioning to a plant-based diet, as it’s easy to make like-for-like switches – simply replace your favourite animal products with these cruelty-free alternatives.
Not only are meat replacements more ethically sound, they also have, on average, a lower saturated fat content and lower levels of cholesterol, as a result of being free-from animal products. For this reason, it makes them a great option for people looking to improve their diet and increase the nutritional content of their favourite meals.
Deemed as the reigning champion of meat alternatives, seitan is an easy vegan replacement you can buy or make at home. Made from vital wheat gluten, seitan can be seasoned to create almost any desired flavour and made into a huge range of shapes and sizes, thanks to its pliable texture and simple recipe. With its high levels of gluten, however, this isn’t one for coeliacs or those with gluten sensitivities
Originally from Indonesia, tempeh is cooked and fermented soya beans. It is served in slices, and requires very little processing. Tempeh is a great source of protein, containing more than tofu, and can be easily sourced from health food shops, but with the increased availability of meat replacements, some supermarkets stock it, too. If you want to experiment with different flavours, purchase one of the plain varieties and create your own marinade.
Jackfruit has become one of the trendiest meat replacements, with its stringy texture making it ideal to use as a pulled pork alternative. Jackfruit also boasts high levels of potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6, making it a great choice to include in your meals. The fruit is native to Southwest India, and the tree is naturally drought and pest resistant, making it a sustainable food to choose, due to not needing any insecticides or artificial irrigation for the tree to thrive.
4. Textured soya protein
Textured soya protein has been used as a meat replacement for decades, and is an easy store cupboard essential. Simply rehydrate the amount you need according to packet instructions, and include it in your spaghetti Bolognese or chilli con carne for a meaty texture. Many prepared soya-based items use a similar product to achieve the meat-like texture, with popular vegan-friendly brands, such as Linda McCartney, Vivera and The Fry Family Food Co. using soya as one of the main ingredients in their products.
Mycoprotein is a fungus naturally found in soil, which is fermented to produce dough that is then formed into meat-free products. It is high in fibre and protein, low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. It is famously produced by Quorn, who use this as the base for many of their products. Mycoprotein is a fairly sustainable meat alternative — the production of chicken, for example, uses 2.5 times more water than Quorn’s chicken-style pieces.