In Part 1 of this article, I shared with you two of my favorite meat substitutes – good enough to make any meat eater’s mouth water! Here I’ll share the final three.

3. Tempeh

Many ancients developed high protein vegetarian foods to replace meat in deference to religious beliefs or in response to scarcity of livestocks. Made from fermented soy grits, tempeh is good sauteed or baked with plenty of seasoning. Preferably after being marinated for a certain time.

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As a result of the fermentation process the soy carbohydrates in tempeh are more digestible and the process also reduces the phytic acid in soy.

This allows the body to absorb the minerals that soy provides. Personally, I don’t care for tempeh’s bitter fermented flavor, which I can taste no matter how I try to mask it. Be sure to check the expiration date if you buy it fresh, an amonia odor indicates spoilage.

4. Seitan

Wheat gluten a.k.a Seitan is another meat substitute made by preparing stiff wheat dough and then kneading it under water to isolate the gluten (wheat protein) and wash away the starch and bran.

Low in fat and calories, Seitan is exceptionally high in protein 18grams/cup and easy to digest.

Seitan’s chewy yet juicy texture makes it especially adaptable. It has a bland flavor so it’s usually cooked in seasoned broth. Slice it thinly for sandwiches or cut into strips for stew, soups and stir fries. Seitan is sold in health food stores jarred, frozen or fresh.

delicious meat substitutes_25. Mushrooms

Some wild mushrooms make ideal meat substitutes. The chicken mushroom, fried chicken mushroom, beefsteak mushroom, oyster mushroom and lobster mushroom didn’t get their names for nothing!

They incorporate the perfect meaty texture to any recipe and are a great source of nutrients, but protein is not one of them.

Mainly due to the high moisture content (about 93%).

A three ounce serving has just 3 grams of protein. Compare that to 20-25 grams of protein from a comparable serving of chicken or beef. But when you adjust for the water content and compare on a calorie basis, mushrooms are nutrient dense*.

They are about the same as part-skim mozzarella cheese (38% of calories from protein) a little higher in protein per calorie than nuts or quinoa but lower than meat, eggs, beans.

The take away message is that, while in terms of protein per calorie mushrooms may be high, when it comes to protein per volume and protein per weight they aren’t. You would have to eat a whole lot of mushrooms to hit your protein goal.

This is where other foods will fall into play

You can combine mushrooms with other protein rich sources like chickpeas, beans – clocking in at around 12grams protein/cup.

*Nutrient dense foods are rich in key vitamins and minerals, but low in calories, sodium, cholesterol, sugar and saturated fat.

Todays convenience style meat analogs look incredibly similar to their meat counterparts. Some that share closest resemblance to imitation burgers, hot dogs, sausages and deli slices.

You won’t find a vegetarian version of prime ribs but if you are someone who is aspiring to be a vegetarian or giving up meat for health reasons, faux meat can ease the way to eating vegetarian.

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