Taking the leap of faith into vegetarianism can be a little daunting. There are so many ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to keep on track of and the list of things you cannot eat becomes a little longer. However, if you do your research right, you might find that the list of things that you can eat increases more than you thought it would. One of the most frequently asked questions that vegetarians get asked is ‘what is the best substitute for (insert animal product here)?’ So, we have collected together a few of our favorite meat-free substitutes to help you on the way to eating an animal-friendly diet. Obviously, different things will work better in different dishes – but this is where you can have fun experimenting which work better with you.
Vegetarianism is a community and we all want to help make the world a better place. If you are trying to do your bit by replacing your meaty dishes with something a little more animal-friendly, then you are already doing your bit.
Tofu – the Queen of all plant-base meals. What a lot of people don’t realize, is that tofu is actually made of soybeans and is very high in protein. This is a brilliant substitute for almost every meat-based dish, because of its unique texture. However, not every dish will be perfect for this spongy ingredient, so you might want to research the best tofu recipes first. Not everyone shares our love for this particular ingredient, but we do believe that it definitely does grow on you. We recommend trying it out in a Thai Green Curry or stir fry to begin with – it is perfect for soaking up all those flavors.
In the UK, Quorn is probably the most common and easiest substitutes you can buy. It is easy to find and, on top of this, easy to know what it ‘mimics.’ So, for instance, you might get Quorn Pieces that would replace your typical chicken pieces in a curry dish. Quorn is potentially the most popular on this list, given how easy it is to add to meals. Essentially, all you have to do is follow any recipe and replace any meat in the dish with the correct Quorn alternative – pretty easy, right? We love Quorn and is our go-to replacement when we are following a traditional recipe.
Another common question us vegetarians get when people learn of our dietary decisions is ‘what do you eat on Christmas Day?’ People are usually so shocked that our plates will be lacking in any sort of animal product and cannot possibly think what would be used instead. Well, news flash – have you ever heard of a nut roast? That’s right, a completely nut based alternative for your Christmas dinner. However, the nutty options don’t stop there. The options are endless. Along with nuts being high in protein, they are also a great comfort food. So, if you are wanting to recreate a particularly ‘meat filled dish’ then maybe look into the best way nuts could be added as a replacement.
Jack fruit has only really gained the recognition it deserves in the past few years. Supermarkets and independents stores now sell it and it has become a staple replacement for any savory meat-free dishes. Luckily, given its demand, you can now buy jack-fruit either raw, or already cut up and ready to cook – it’s as easy as pie (jack-fruit pie.) One of our favorite flavors to add to jack fruit is BBQ, the smoky flavor compliments the fruit perfectly – Chicken BBQ, who?
This list of meat-free products is sure to get you on your way to leading a vegetarian lifestyle in no time at all. However, with a big lifestyle change like this, don’t feel bad if you slip up now and again. Vegetarianism is a community and we all want to help make the world a better place. If you are trying to do your bit by replacing your meaty dishes with something a little more animal-friendly, then you are already doing your bit. Take time to learn about new flavors and eventually you won’t miss your traditional dishes and always opt for the veggie option instead. This might be a big step, but the health and environmental benefits that come with this change are endless.