You don’t have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to appreciate meat alternatives. With a healthy dose of protein and a lot less saturated fat than your favorite butcher’s cut, meat substitutes are tasty, versatile and easy to find in most grocery stores.
|Meat alternative||What it is||Nutritional info||How it tastes||Try it in …|
|Tofu||Curd made from mashed soybeans and pressed into blocks; varieties include silken, firm and extra firm||Slightly sweet and nutty, though it’s usually prepared with spices or a marinade since it absorbs flavors well||Your favorite foods! Silken tofu adds protein to soups or smoothies. Firm and extra-firm tofu can be marinated and used in stir fries or salads. TIP: Before cooking firm tofu, press out excess water by putting it under paper towels and a heavy can.|
|Tempeh||Made from whole soybeans fermented and formed into firm cakes||
Strong, nutty taste with a firm texture; can be grainy depending on variety
|Stir fries, curries or tacos. It’s also scrumptious in chilis or pasta in place of ground meat.|
|Mushrooms||A nutritious fungus; meaty varieties include cremini, button and portobello||
|Savory, earthy umami flavor||
Pastas, stews, pizza, lasagna and sandwiches.TIP: Grill or broil large portobellos and eat as a burger.
|Jackfruit||Tropical fruit that looks a bit like a mango; usually found shredded||
|Has a mild flavor with sweet and savory notes; cooked texture similar to pulled pork||
Sandwiches, salads and chilis.TIP: Since it’s lower in protein, pair with high-protein foods like legumes.
|Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)||Soy flour, usually made into nuggets, chunks or used in frozen foods; also available as a powder||
¼ cup powder:
|Flavorless on its own but takes seasoning well; processed foods containing TVP can be high in sodium||Tacos, chili, burgers and other dishes where you might use ground meat.|
|Lentils||Tiny legume that comes in a variety of colors||
½ cup (cooked): 115 calories
|Brown lentils have the earthiest flavor, green are mildest, red are sweetest||Soups, stews, salads, pilafs and veggie burgers.|
|Seitan||Processed wheat gluten with a dense, chewy texture||
4 oz.: 143 calories
|Mild, neutral flavor that takes flavors well; very meaty texture||Stir fries, sandwiches, stews, curries, tacos and more!|