Vegetarians often struggle with getting that meaty taste from non-meat sources so here are 8 ways to get that meaty texture minus the meat!

1. TVP

TVP stands for texture vegetable protein often used by vegans and vegetarians. It is a high fibre and high protein product made from soy flour.


It is in fact a by-product of the removal of soy bean oil and can come in many forms such as small or large chunks and granules.

TVP often comes in meat flavours to make it even easier to get their meaty taste. Or you can make your own following these steps:

– Freeze a package of firm or extra-firm tofu 24-48 hours…this changes the consistency of the tofu.
– Thaw the package…your tofu will now have a solid sponge-like consistency
– Squeeze all of the liquid out of the tofu.
– Crumble the tofu into small pieces, the size that is consistent with ground beef. It is easy to crumble after it has been frozen and thawed…you can use a food processor if necessary.
– Spread out on a pan, like a cookie sheet, and dry at low heat in the oven, or if you have an appliance for drying foods, use it to dry the tofu.
– When it is completely dry, store in a clean air tight jar.

2. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a fantastic meaty-tasting substitute that are high in vitamin D. Mushroom can be used the same way you use mince by marinating, shredding & stir frying. Typically your Portobello is your meatiest mushroom where you can make:

– Mushroom burgers
– Mushroom tacos
– And my favourite parmesan stuffed mushrooms

3. Eggplant

Eggplant, similar to mushrooms, have a very earthy/meaty texture. These are high in fibre and antioxidants that promote heart & brain health. Eggplants can be made into:

– Eggplant burgers
– Eggplant meatballs
– And a classic Greek dish Moussaka

4. Lentils

Lentils are a fantastic meaty alternative that are high in protein, fibre and magnesium. The meatiest lentils are petite golden, green, ivory, brown and marrone lentils as they hold their shape when cooking, do not turn mushy and take a relatively short time to cook. Some  options include:

– Lentil burger
– Lentil soup
– Lentil Tacos

5. Edamame Beans

Edamame Beans are a very healthy alternative to meat & very high in protein with 17g per cup. They are high in cooper and manganese among other minerals. Edamame have a thick texture and are ideal for:

– Stir-fry
– Veggie burgers
– Sushi-meat substitute

6. Legumes

Legumes in general are very good for a meat substitute typically being high in protein, fibre and carbohydrate. Legumes are particularly good for that meaty taste in:

– Stews
– Soups
– Casseroles

Vegetarian meat 8 substitutes that taste even better2

7. Nuts

Nuts that are roasted can give of a very meaty texture particularly walnuts. Nuts are naturally high in protein and essential fatty acids which aids their meat-like taste, especially when you good roast them with garlic, tomato, herbs, and spices.

Some ways to make nuts with meaty texture include:

– “Meat”loaf (Nutloaf)
– Vegan Burger
– Stir-fry

8. Beetroots

Beetroots have 2 sides. The sweet side that is great for salads and the earthy savoury side when roasted. Beetroots are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C and folate. You can use beetroot as a meat substitute in the following ways:

  • Beetroot sliders
  • Beetroot Soup
  • Beetroot Casserole

There are many meaty vegetarian and vegan options to choose from so start getting creative!

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