Vegan Meat Alternatives: A Complete Guide

Vegan Meat Alternatives: A Complete Guide

Are you trying to reduce your meat intake or avoid it altogether? Maybe you are considering it for your health or the environment or you have simply heard someone talking about vegan meat alternatives and are willing to give it a try as well.

Well, either way, we have good news for you! You can totally skip meat in your diet, or replace some of it with vegan meat alternatives that not just mimic the taste and texture but also the looks of traditional meat products. In this blog, we want to dive into this often discussed topic and we have featured a large number of products made entirely from non-animal ingredients.

Vegan meat substitues
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What Are Vegan Meat Alternatives?

Vegan or vegetarian meat substitutes are made from vegetables, grains, legumes and other plant-based sources. They are, of course, cruelty-free and environmentally sustainable, offering great options if you are looking to reduce or eliminate your meat intake. 

Most veggie-meat alternatives contain one or more of these widely available ingredients:

  • Fungi - mushrooms such as fried chicken and oyster mushrooms
  • Fruits & Vegetables - jackfruit, eggplant, breadfruit, coconut, grapefruit
  • Legumes - tofu, falafel and Harris are made from legumes
  • Soy - tempeh, tofu, textured vegetable proteins  

But let us dive deep into these top vegan meat substitutes:

Vegan Meat Alternatives


They are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

There are many different varieties of mushrooms and fungi that you can try.

Some of the most popular ones for their meaty texture are Portabello, Lion’s Mane and Chicken of the Woods. Of course, you can explore your local varieties as well.

Tempting right! You must make this Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon.


The humble bean, in its many varieties, has been a staple for centuries in many cultures and is still today a great source of healthy protein. Moreover, it can easily mimic ground meat in more ways than you can think of.

You can season them, mash them and mix them with other vegetables to finely transform beans into sausages, vegan bread and tasty and moist vegan burgers.

Here is a recipe you might like to try out.

Vegan Meat Alternatives


Many consider this tropical fruit to be the best meat substitute, but unfortunately in Europe is not so easy to come by.

It is already widely used as a substitute for barbecue pulled pork and vegan tacos. Although it is a little difficult to cook, it is worth every minute spent on its cutting and cooking.

No seriously, you need to taste these Vegan Jackfruit Tacos.

Vegan Meat Alternatives


Tofu, the versatile bean curd, stands as one of the most beloved and frequently utilized vegan staples.

From crafting creamy ricotta to delicate crepes and hearty frittatas, the culinary possibilities are boundless. Whether blended into smooth textures, roasted to perfection, or mashed into savoury creations, tofu seamlessly mimics the flavours and textures of meat, leaving you questioning if you're indulging in tofu or the real deal.

Vegan Meat Alternatives


This soybean-based plant protein originating from Indonesia, offers a nutritious and flavorful addition to any meal.

Simple to prepare, it can be easily sliced and seasoned to your liking. For added convenience, pre-prepared versions are readily available at grocery stores, allowing you to enjoy its wholesome goodness at your convenience.

These are some tempting Italian tempeh recipes to cook.

Vegan Meat Alternatives


This protein-rich meat substitute crafted from wheat boasts a texture reminiscent of chicken, complete with a satisfyingly chewy consistency.

Creating your own seitan at home is a straightforward process, typically involving wheat gluten, vegetable broth, and a blend of spices to infuse it with flavour.

This is a fun tutorial to watch if you want to make your own seitan at home.

Vegan Meat Alternatives


Eggplant, also called aubergines, are very often used as a substitute for meat in lasagnas, curries and sandwiches. The Greeks use aubergine slices instead of pasta in their infamous and delicious mousaka.

Moreover, it is good at absorbing other flavours and gives a satisfactory texture when grilled or coated.

You really must try this Slow Cooker Eggplant Lasagna recipe.

Vegan Meat Alternatives


Cauliflower, a ubiquitous vegetable, emerges as a popular vegan alternative to meat.

Packed with essential nutrients including fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin K, cauliflower offers a versatile canvas for culinary creativity. Its adaptability shines when used as a substitute for chicken wings, providing a nutritious and tasty alternative that satisfies both the palate and the body.

Vegan Meat Alternatives

Why Are Vegan Meat Alternatives A Great Choice?

There are many health, environmental and ethical pros to plant-based protein alternatives. Let's check them out

Vegan Meat Alternatives
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Vegan Meat Alternatives: The Healthy Choice For Your Body

1. Lower Cholesterol And Saturated Fat Content

One of the main pros of a vegan-based diet is lower cholesterol and saturated fat content. Now, if you are looking to improve your overall well-being, it is definitely an option to consider. It has been proven that vegan alternatives to meat help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease including the reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. 

 2. Higher Fiber And Nutrient Content

A vegan diet provides essential vitamins and minerals that are important for a balanced diet. Such food is rich in fibre and other nutrients that help support digestion and holistic health. Even if you don't go fully veggie, in the long run, reducing meat is a better and healthier option. 

3. A quick view of the health benefits of plant-based protein

  • It lowers the chances of developing cardiovascular disease 
  • Vegan meat reduces inflammation levels 
  • You reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Enhances gut microbiome health and digestion
  • Supports weight loss and management
  • Lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of hypertension
  • Vegan meat improves blood sugar control and reduces saturated fat consumption
Plant based meat
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You might also want to run through this table about calories and fat content to get a clear comparative: 

Meat product Plant-based product
Burger Calories 120–243 130–222
Fat (g) 5.9–21.5 2.4–12
Sausages Calories 208–345 139–213
Fat (g) 13.7–30.5 4.1–11.7
Ground meat Calories 146–224 80–194
Fat (g) 9.4–13 0.2–10.6
Calories and Fat Content in Meat VS Plant-based Products


How Vegan Meat Alternatives Benefit The Environment

Beyond the benefits for our health, switching to plant-based meat is a great way to combat the global climate crisis. 

 1. Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Animal agriculture produces 20% of greenhouse gases at a global level, arising from animal feed production, animal digestion and waste. By 2050, global demand for meat is projected to grow by around 50%. Vegan and vegetarian sources of food are a great way to tackle this issue. Even a small change in our eating habits, such as replacing once a week a meat meal with a plant-based one can make a big difference.

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2. Decreased Water And Land Usage 

Switching to alternative sources of meat can also reduce the negative impact on land and water. Plants can provide about 2/3 of global protein, that too on just 1/4 of all agricultural land. Plant-based meat can reduce water usage by up to 99% and cultivated meat by 6% as compared to conventional beef. With limiting water and land resources, alternative sources of protein and meat offer a solution to the resource scarcity problem. (Click here for Source)

How Vegan Meat Alternatives Support Ethical Values

No Harm To Animals 

Opting for a plant-based or alternative diet to meat holds the potential to foster a more ethical, compassionate, and environmentally friendly society, as it mitigates harm to animals.

By embracing plant-based foods, individuals contribute to reducing the demand for animal products, thereby sparing countless animals from suffering in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Moreover, plant-based diets typically have a lower environmental footprint, requiring fewer resources such as water and land, and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional meat production.

In essence, by making conscientious dietary choices, we not only prioritize the welfare of animals but also work towards building a more sustainable and compassionate world for future generations.

Animal cruelty free meat alternatives
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What are the Drawbacks About Vegan Meat Substitutes

Animal-free, plant-based protein or vegan meat - these are the most popular terms you will hear when we talk about vegan proteins. There is one more - processed plant protein. Let us now talk about the major cons of choosing these alternatives. 

The Processed Nature Of Vegan Meat

Many of us do not really make everything from scratch at home be it the bread or the pasta. The same applies in the case of plant-based meat and we look for alternatives that are readily available. However, most of the existing vegan alternatives in the market are loaded with processed food containing preservatives such as sodium (sometimes up to six times more than a normal dish), added sugar, artificial colours and controversial bulking agents like carrageenan and methylcellulose. These enhance the flavour and shelf life but lower the nutritional value. 

Vegan Meat Alternatives
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Unprocessed plant-based foods and real meat contain essential wholefood nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, that are lacking in these alternatives. So, consuming these highly-processed veggie substitutes regularly can result in nutrient deficiency or other health issues.

There are conflicting studies that raise concerns about the commonly used ingredients in plant-based meat such as soy and wheat gluten. Certain studies have proven that consuming these in large portions and over a long period of time can significantly negatively impact our health. For people who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease the dangers are higher.

The most commonly used processed base ingredients for making plant-based products are soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, and textured vegetable protein. Consuming these regularly may increase the risk of getting:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia 

So, while we recommend reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based food, we are not supporting these trendy processed vegan and vegetarian foods that have become ready-available in each supermarket. Stick to the good old vegetable recipes to avoid health issues.

The Availability And Higher Cost Of Plant-Based Meat

As plant-based food is gaining popularity and becoming trendy, this food often tends to increase in price. In some cases, it can be more expensive than conventional meat which is a major setback if you are trying to feed a big family. In many regions in the world, there is a strong meat culture so, the lack of plant-based options makes it difficult for people to include these alternatives in their diets.

grocery store
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Even if it is not anywhere near the demand of real meat, the demand for vegan meat continues to rise globally and of course the food industry is taking notice. Food companies are expanding their plant-based products to include more choices and also budget-friendly alternatives, which hopefully will bring down the prices significantly in the future. 

The Unavoidable Difference In Taste And Texture 

Plant based protein
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Many vegan meat products do not taste at all like real meat. Actually, this is mainly because plants lack muscle tissue. People also often complain that veggie meat lacks the juiciness and chewiness of real meat. Most consumers are drawn towards vegan meat primarily because of its health and environmental benefits, rather than its taste or feel. Right now, it is definitely a work in progress and there is still so much to be done to meet the taste standards of actual meat. 


If You Want To Try Out Some Innovative Plant-Based Foods

On second thought, why do we want our veggie food to taste like meat? There are thousands of delicious plant-based recipes out there that stand up on their own flavour and nutrition merit. So, maybe we should just try and keep things simple :)


You can try for example this delicious Wild Blueberry Powder Freeze-Dried Organic from Biotiva. It allows you to enjoy blueberries all year round, even when they are not in season. This product is sourced from EU agriculture and bottled in Germany. 

Discover the healing power of nature!

This Organic 7 Herbs Powder by Cellavita is straight out of nature.

It is a vegan, organic and cruelty-free product with a mixture of wormwood, beavernelle, yarrow, fennel, anise, caraway and juniper.

Vegan based meat

Continue Exploring Plant-Based Food And Meat Alternatives

This topic is really broad so we have selected a few other blogs in case you want to keep reading. In them, you will find tips to reduce meat intake, some amazing recipes and even ways to grow some of those veggie alternatives on your own. So enjoy!

How To Easily Reduce Your Meat Consumption

Part 1. How to Add Plant-Based Delights in Your Diet with These Books

Part 2. How to Add Plant-Based Delights in Your Diet with These Books

Delicious Set of Vegan Recipes 

Homegrown Vegetables: The Simple Pleasure from Seed to Table

scrabble tiles in blue ceramic plate
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In Summary

Vegan meat alternatives indeed present numerous ethical, environmental, and health advantages. By abstaining from animal products, we avoid contributing to the harm inflicted upon our fellow sentient beings, while also promoting a more sustainable food system.

These alternatives typically offer health benefits, being lower in saturated fats and cholesterol, making them heart-friendly and generally supportive of overall health. However, convenience often leads us to opt for processed vegan foods, which may lack essential nutrients and health benefits.

Despite the time and resource constraints that may hinder homemade preparations, it's essential to strive for change. By prioritizing whole, minimally processed plant-based foods whenever possible, we can maximize the nutritional benefits of vegan alternatives and contribute positively to our well-being, the environment, and the welfare of animals. Even small steps towards incorporating more whole foods into our diets can yield significant benefits for ourselves and the planet.


Hi, I am Jahnvi Vyas. I have a Master’s in environmental science and my love for nature inspires me to be a more sustainable person. I am also an editor with a passion for graphics and video editing trying to learn new things.

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Article also published in our founder's blog: My Shade of Green