I hate tofu. Let’s just get that out of the way rather early. I do like the breakfast tofu scramble at Busboys and Poets however, as tofu does make a great scrambled egg replacement. I say this though, because I will not be including tofu or any soy heavy replacements on this list. Typically I try to stay away from soy, as contrary to popular belief. Unfermented soy, which is a lot of what people consume, may not be that great for your health. Especially if you are a woman.
However, have no fear, as below, you will find my tried and true meat replacements. For me, texture is just as important as taste, and many products get my very famous ” This sucks” exclamation while Tth my integrity. The wings have to hit the same, if not better. If that’s you, but you still want to save the animals, keep on reading.
Tempeh changed my life. I repeat, Tempeh, changed my life. One more time for the people in the back! TEMPEH CHANGED MY LIFE!
Tempeh is ALOT firmer than tofu (which is one of the reasons I can’t stand it, it’s so soft!) and has a more grainy texture, like meat. It is made from fermented soybeans, so it has a distinct nutty flavor. To deal with this, I usually season my Tempeh overnight before cooking with it so it tastes like seasoned meat rather than a full on PB sandwhich. This is my go to beef/chicken/fish replacement. It works great battered or breaded for chick’n sticks, fries, a burger ect. It also works great as a spare rib alternative too. Throw some Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce (my fav bbq sauce) on these babies and you got yourself a finger licking good time, without the crushing guilt! I prefer flash frying to prepare as I don’t like how soft it gets baked. I cut it up and add it to my pasta and rice dishes as well.
Do not go running for the cross. This beef/pork/ chicken replacement has nothing to do with the lord of hell. If gluten is not an issue for you, turn to seitan for the most meat-like texture. Seitan is processed wheat gluten and it is a great source of protein. It is actually the closest to texture I have ever gotten. Seitan has a dense, chewy texture that can hold up to grilling, frying, braising, or anything else you want to do with it, which is important to me. Cauliflower holds up as a boneless chicken wing alternative for all of five minutes before it starts getting soggy! I like eating it on it’s own, as a steak, a pot roast, a meatloaf , or anything that calls for giant chunks of beef.
Textured Vegetable Protein
Now this, this I haven’t perfected yet myself, but when I see it on a menu at a restuarant I immidietly go for that. Why? It’s really hard to f*ck it up when you know what your doing. I kid you not, I prefer fried chicken made with this rather than actual chicken itself. (Sorry, not sorry Popeye’s). What’s winning about this? The texture. It has better chicken texture than McDonal’s nuggets (and those are extremely questionable within themselves). If you know how to season, and you have a solid approach to making the shaped of the meat you love to eat, you are golden! TVP or texturized vegetable protein is an inexpensive, easy to use ingredient. It’s dehydrated soy, and once you rehydrate it, you can do just about anything with it. It comes in granules or chunks. You can use it for ground beef dishes, to make cutlets, or delicious burgers and meatloaves. It is also listed sometimes as TSP or texturized soy protein.
Yes, I said a fruit. Jackfruit may be a healthy tropical fruit, but its texture and mild taste make it a wonderful stand-in for pork. If you want the jackfruit to be chewier, just roast it on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Other than a slight sweet taste, almost like pineapple, the jackfruit is pretty much a blank canvas, so you can use whatever spice and flavor panels you like best – Indian, Mexican, Chinese, etc. It can be used to make pulled “pork” or BBQ jackfruit. Vegan sloppy joes and BBQ or Mojo pulled pork are my fav recipes to make with Jackfruit.
Have you used any of these in your cooking? Do you have a tried and true recipe? I’d love to hear from you! Sound of below and remember to hit that star button and share with a friend.
Until next time,