Whether you’re curious about the vegan lifestyle or you’re about to take your first steps into the world of plant-based cooking, you’ve probably got a few questions about how vegans curb some common food cravings. Meat is something that many people are reluctant to go without, but with so many incredibly realistic vegan meat alternatives available, it’s never been so easy.
From vegan kebab meat to mock chicken nuggets, meat-free options certainly aren’t few and far between nowadays! Here, we share some of our favourite vegan meat alternatives and answer some of the most common questions about mock animal products.
Do vegans eat meat?
First things first, let’s dive into a question that many people wonder: do vegans eat meat? The answer is no; people following a vegan diet don’t eat any form of meat, fish, or any other animal products. These include all types of dairy product (including milk, cheese, and butter), eggs from all birds, and insect-derived ingredients, such as beeswax and honey.
It’s worth noting that when we refer to ‘vegan meat’ throughout this article, we’re referring to imitation products – such as seitan and tempeh. We’ll look at those next.
What vegan meat alternatives are there?
If vegans don’t eat meat, what do they eat?
Well, alongside whole foods – such as vegetables, nuts and pulses – many vegans choose to include mock meat in their diet. There are a variety of products that you might like to try, some of them more realistic in terms of taste and texture than others!
Seitan, which is produced from wheat gluten, is one of the most popular vegan meat substitutes today. It’s highly versatile and can be seasoned and prepared easily according to preference, whether you’ve got a craving for mock chicken or bacon.
Textured soy protein
Thanks to soybeans, you can enjoy textured soy protein – another plant-based meat substitute that can take on a variety of flavours, textures and shapes.
Tofu is one of the least realistic vegan meat alternatives, although its taste and texture really depends on how it’s been prepared. Nevertheless, tofu is delicious and nutritious – and can be used in place of meat in dishes like curry and stir fry.
Like tofu, tempeh can be used in place of meat in a variety of dishes. It offers a slightly nuttier taste and denser texture than tofu, making it an ideal substitution for ground meats.
When smothered in barbeque sauce, jackfruit is a convincing plant-based substitute for shredded meats, such as pulled pork and chicken. It also requires much less processing than other vegan meats, such as seitan.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of vegan meat products; you’re likely to come across many others while browsing the supermarket shelves, scouring recipe books, or dining at plant-based restaurants.
Thanks to social media, there’s also been a rise in people getting creative with ingredients that you wouldn’t necessarily think could pass for meat. One example of this is people cooking up mock bacon using banana skins!
Is vegan meat healthy?
Another question that many people ask relates to whether or not vegan meat is healthy. The nutritional value of mock meat depends on the type you’re eating and how it’s been prepared – so the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. For instance, although tofu is considered to have many nutritional benefits, these may be lost if it’s battered and fried (e.g., such as in the preparation of vegan fish, or ‘tofish’).
Remember – when you’re buying mock meat in a supermarket, you’ll be able to evaluate its nutritional value for yourself by reading its packaging. If you decide to make your own vegan meat, such as preparing your own seitan, you’ll also be able to measure the ingredients you’re using.
Six vegan meat alternatives available in the UK
Now you know all there is to know about vegan meat, it’s time to try some for yourself! Below, check out a selection of the tastiest meat alternatives for vegans – from mock kebab meat for Friday nights in front of the TV, to burgers that are perfect for those summer BBQs you’re already dreaming of!
Note: Please remember that food producers can and may change their recipes, so it’s important to always double-check a product’s ingredients before eating it – especially if you have any allergies or food intolerances.
Vegan kebab meat
Kebab fans, look no further for the ultimate vegan alternative. Plant Shawarma from Vivera is bound to tickle your taste buds, especially when paired with kebab classics like vegan mayo, fiery salsa, and crunchy vegetables.
Vegan chicken burgers
The Vegetarian Butcher offers a selection of scrumptious vegan meat alternatives, including their Chickened Out burger. Don’t forget to find a fluffy bun for this succulent mock chicken fillet, a moreish addition to any meal.
Vegan beef burgers
When it comes to vegan meat, some companies are really changing the game – Beyond Meat included. The beef-style Beyond Meat burger is one of the most realistic vegan meat substitutes available, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve found it!
Got a craving for spaghetti Bolognese? There’s no need to miss out any longer, all thanks to Meatless Farm. Their mock mince is available in plenty of UK supermarkets, so it’s just as easy to find as it is to enjoy.
THIS™ Isn’t Bacon is here to cure all your bacon cravings, one rasher at a time! Whether you’ve been missing carbonara or full English breakfasts, these vegan rashers will make sure you never need to go without again.
Vegan sausages are only becoming more and more delicious! Find our guide to Richmond Meat-free Sausages here, or take a look at this guide to the best supermarket vegan sausages to get an idea of the others available!
What are your favourite vegan meat alternatives? We’re always searching for the best products to try and share with our community. Get in touch to let us know or explore the rest of our website to find our guides, product recommendations, and thoughts.