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4 Meat Alternatives for Vegetarians

Vegetarian cooking is far from boring. If you’re trying to go veg (or just cutting back on your consumption of animal products) but miss the satisfying texture and taste of meat, try these great meat alternatives. They’re all tasty, versatile, and can be turned into delicious meat substitutes.

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1. Meat Alternative: Tofu

Tofu can be a delicious meat alternative if cooked right.

Most people think they hate tofu, but the truth is that, prepared correctly, this soybean product can be truly tasty. To add rich flavour to tofu, try soaking it in soy sauce or your favourite marinade. Or you can fry up a few slices, smother them in barbecue sauce while they’re still hot in the pan, then toss them on some bread for a quick, yummy sandwich.

For an easy ground beef substitute, mash up a block of tofu and marinate it. Or, to give tofu a delicious crispiness, coat chopped-up cubes in flour or corn starch, fry it until all sides are crunchy, then mix it into a stir-fry.

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2. Meat Alternative: TVP

TVP stands for “textured vegetable protein” and is made from soy flour. Don’t be turned off by the sterile-sounding acronym-this meat alternative is great because it makes a perfect substitute for any kind of ground meat. In bulk it comes in dried granules, chunks, or flakes, and you can use it in dishes like chili, tacos, or sloppy joes. TVP is flavourless by itself but assumes the taste of whatever you cook it in, so after rehydrating it in a delicious marinade, you won’t miss meat at all! Plus, this healthy food is fat-free.

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3. Meat Alternative: Tempeh

Unlike most other soy products, tempeh originated not in China or Japan but Indonesia, where it’s a hugely popular food. This meat alternative is similar to tofu but is made slightly differently and is even higher in protein. It can be prepared in any way you’d use tofu: fried, baked, crumbled or grated as a ground-meat substitute. Experiment and find a method you like!

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4. Seitan Is a Delicious Meat Alternative

Unlike tofu, TVP, and tempeh, seitan is made from wheat rather than soybeans, and as such is also known as wheat gluten. Seitan makes the most convincing meat substitute, and it’s what most Asian fake meats are made from. “Mock duck” made from seitan is especially popular in Asia, particularly in Buddhist areas, and seitan-based fake meat is available in North America at many health-food and Asian grocery stores. Many trendy urban restaurants, such as Montreal’s Chu Chai, specialize in seitan-based vegetarian meals.