vegan meat substitutes

8 Best Vegan Meat Substitutes for Amazing Meat-Free Meals

Are you looking for vegan meat substitutes or recipes with meat substitutes? This article gives 7 ideas of meat substitutes to start cooking with.

Today we will be talking all about meat alternatives that you can add to your vegan meals and recipes. When you first go vegan, you will most likely struggle quite a lot with creating meals without meat being at the center of them. This is completely normal.

Having vegan meat replacements on hand is a great way to fill up that gap. Of course, you don’t need anything special to replace meat with. But it can make cooking vegan meals for beginners a bit easier.

So, if you are interested in learning about meat alternatives like jackfruit as meat or seitan. Then keep reading to find out more!

The Best Vegan Meat Substitutes

Meat alternatives can really come in handy if you want to bulk up a meal, are following a recipe that includes meat, or are cooking for non-vegans.

Even though meat substitutes aren’t necessarily needed in a vegan diet, they can be nice to have around.

There are many meat-free brands out there nowadays, that offer amazing selections of vegan meat alternatives. Making excellent meat replacements in any recipe that you could think of.

But I also wanted to include some other meat replacement options since vegan meat brands are not always very cost effective. Or even very affordable!

So, here are 8 vegan meat replacements that you can either buy or find already sitting in your kitchen!

Related: Amazing One Ingredient Vegan Chicken Recipe

Related: Best Vegan Sources of Protein You Should be Eating


Using jackfruit as meat has become a pretty common practice for vegans. As jackfruit has a very unique texture that is incredibly similar to chicken.

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is harvested while it is still unripe and practically flavorless.

It can then be cooked and seasoned in order to give it a meat like flavor profile to go along with its meaty texture. It is most similar to chicken as it can be shredded in exactly the same way, creating a very realistic look and texture.

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of jackfruit as meat because I find it to be rather moist. Which wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t have such a meaty texture.

Between the texture and moisture, it just isn’t something that I personally would choose to eat. But it is a very popular vegan option among many, so don’t let me stop you from trying it out for yourself!

If you cant find jackfruit fresh in your local grocery store, you could try put this canned version of jackfruit instead.


Seitan is another popular vegan meat substitute. This, however, is not a good option for those who are gluten sensitive as seitan is made of wheat gluten.

Wheat gluten is the main protein of wheat. The seitan is made through a process of washing away all of the starch, leaving behind an insoluble gluten structure.

This is cooked to create a meaty textured food that makes an excellent replacement for all kinds of meat.

It is flavorless, so you can season it to replicate whatever meat you most prefer. And can be added to most dishes to give them a meaty element.


Mushrooms are another great meat-free substitute that can provide a meaty texture to certain dishes and recipes.

Though mushrooms obviously aren’t going to taste exactly like meat, they can provide a great deal of texture to a meal. Certain mushrooms, especially if cooked correctly, can take on a very meat like texture that might surprise you.

Since there are many different kinds of mushrooms, you also have many different kinds of texture to choose from.

If you want something similar to steak or beef, try out shiitake mushrooms. If you want something similar to pork or turkey, try baby bellas or criminis mushrooms. For something more similar to chicken, try white button mushrooms.

Tip: Make sure you really cook your mushrooms well in order to get a rubbery texture similar to meat. Searing is the best way to give them color and depth of flavor.


Tempeh is a very interesting meat alternative that is traditionally made with fermented soy beans.

This creates a very dense, very meaty textured food that doesn’t have much flavor of its own. This allows you to cook and season it the way that you want in order to get a meaty taste.

This is one of the healthier vegan meat substitute options since fermented foods are so good for your gut health. It is also bit strange, so it might take some getting use to when cooking with it.

This product can be a little bit more pricy however, so it might be a special occasions type of meat replacement.

vegan meat substitutes


You might be surprised, but rice is actually a very good ingredient at recreating the texture of meat in certain foods.

You might come across many vegan meat recipes that call for the addition of cooked rice because it adds texture and bite.

This is exactly what you are looking for when creating meat alternatives of your own. And rice provides an easy and cheap way of getting a dense, meaty texture.

Getting a good meat substitute is al about getting the right texture, otherwise it just won’t cut it and you won’t be fooling anyone. Not even yourself.

If your homemade sausages or patties are missing something and just aren’t turning out to be meat like. Try adding some cooked rice to your recipe.

Tip: Every time you make a batch of rice save about 1 to 1/2 a cup and freeze for later when you want to make vegan patties or sausages.


Oats are another easy and cheap ingredient that you can add to your homemade vegan meat substitutes for a meatier texture.

You can even find many recipes for vegan patties that are made mainly out of oatmeal because they create such a meat like texture.

This creates an excellent budget friendly ingredient for recipes with meat substitutes.

My favorite patty recipe even includes oatmeal as a binding and texture agent, and they are fantastic! Oats are definitely worth trying out in your homemade meat replacements.

Tip: Whole oats work best to give vegan meats a very realistic and meaty texture. While instant oatmeal helps to better bind together your ingredients and give the meats a nice density.


This is another food ingredient that doesn’t necessarily bring meat to mind when you think of it, but you would be surprised. Surprised by how meat like beans really can be.

Many if not the majority of vegan meat and sausage recipes call for beans to be added to the mix. This is often because they bulk up the recipe as well as bind together the ingredients.

Beans can also create a meaty substitute depending on what kind of bean you use. Generally, canned chickpeas, canned black beans, dried lentils, and canned kidney beans are the best options.

Just make sure to not be too rough with your beans when making meat alternatives. Otherwise you might break them up too much and end up with soft or wet patties and sausages.

Vegan Meat Substitutes

If you don’t feel confident making your own meat substitutes with the options above you could also buy vegan meats at the grocery store.

There are many brands available, but I have tried to just pick out a few options that are reasonably priced and relatively easy to find. These brands can usually be found in your local grocery store.

You shouldn’t need to break your budget or go to a specialty health food store for these vegan meat options.


Quorn is a meat-free brand that offers many vegetarian meat options to choose from. They are vegetarian because egg is often used as a binding agent.

But Quorn also offers several vegan options without egg such as their fishless filets, ultimate burger, vegan pieces, vegan normal and crunchy fillets, and Cumberland sausages.

These are just a handful of their vegan options since there are many more. Just make sure to check the ingredients on their products before buying.


Tofurky is a vegan brand that has been around for a long time and are most well known for their vegan roasts.

They offer products made primary out of soy and wheat and all of their products are entirely vegan friendly. So, you don’t have to double check their ingredients list!

Field Roast

Field Roast is another brand of vegan meat substitutes that carries all vegan products.

Their products are made up mainly of vita wheat gluten, giving their meats a very dense, meaty texture that’s great for cooking.

This is my personal favorite brand when it comes to vegan meats as they all taste good and have a great texture. They also offer many amazing flavors to go with different style of dishes.

How to choose a Meat Substitute

When it comes to picking out a meat alternative you have a lot of options that you could go with. And because of that, you might not know which one is best for you.

There are a few things to consider when picking out a meat replacement. Because certain options are best used in certain ways and vice versa.

Personal Preference

A large portion of which option you choose is going to rely on your personal preference. Do you want really meaty meat? Something that can be flavored to your taste?

You will have to ask these questions in order to decide which option is going to be best for you.

If you want something meaty but don’t care about whether it tastes like meat you might like mushrooms. Or if you want the texture and the taste you might want to go with seitan, tempeh, or a vegan meat product.


Allergies are also something that comes into play when picking out a vegan meat substitute.

Because so many contain wheat and gluten, those with gluten intolerance or a sensitivity will need to avoid certain options.

Most vegan meat brands contain wheat or gluten, but you could try out jackfruit as meat, tempeh, mushrooms, beans, rice, or oats instead.

Depending on the Dish

Which meat alternative you choose will also come down to what kind of dish or recipe you are going with.

Certain meat replacements work much better in certain ways and may not work at all in others!

Homemade meat substitutes work well in:

  • Burgers
  • Sandwiches
  • Stir fry’s
  • Roasts
  • salads

While store bought vegan meats work best in:

  • soups
  • casseroles
  • bakes
  • stir fry’s
  • sandwiches
  • burgers

Recipes with Meat Substitutes

Now that you can pick out the best vegan meat alternative, what will you use it in? will you make a roast or maybe a heart vegan stew?

There are so many ways that you can use your vegan meat replacements in your day to day meals.

In fact, meat-free substitutes make it even easier to come up with vegan meal ideas. As you can now veganize even more of your old favorite recipes.

It also makes it that much easier to create a hearty and satisfying meal that everyone will love. Vegan meats add heartiness as well as extra nutrition to any dish.

Here are just a few ideas as to how you can use vegan meat in your favorite meals:

Why Use Vegan Meat Substitutes

There are a number of reasons why you might want to use meat alternatives in the place of real meat.

Whether for dietary reasons because you are vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based. Or because you are reducing your meat intake for health reasons.

Practically anyone could benefit from cutting back a bit on their meat intake for environmental and health reasons.

Many of these vegan meat substitutes are just as nutritious as the real thing without all of the fat and extra cholesterol. Not to mention that meat-free substitutes can sometimes even be cheaper by comparison!

Here are two of the most common reasons to avoid meat in your diet.

Health Reasons

Cholesterol is the enemy of a healthy heart and the largest portion of cholesterol in our diet is in the meat that we eat. Making it very important to cut back on red meat especially in order to avoid certain heart issues.

You could be cutting back on meat for digest reasons or to limit your cholesterol. And those are just a few reasons to avoid eating too much red meat.

You could also be on a special diet plan prescribed by your doctor that limits red meat. There could be many reasons for this, mainly due to chronic health issues or the risk of developing health issues.

Ethical Reasons

The most common reason to want to replace meat in your diet is for ethical reasons.

This is usually because you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and do not want to support the meat industry.

This is often because animals in slaughter houses are very poorly taken care of and live in very inhumane situations. Not to mention that we have no way of knowing for sure if they are killed humanely or how they have lived up till that point.

This is no way for any living creature to exist which is why many decide to avoid meat entirely or to at least minimize it in their diet in order to support the meat industry less.


Has this article on vegan meat substitutes been helpful to you? If it has, let me know down below in the comment section.

There are so many different ways that you can substitute meat in your favorite recipes. Making them just as satisfying and tasty without the need for actual meat.

All of these options are very accessible to everyone. Whether you live on a restrictive budget or in an area with very few vegan options. Or if you have the budget for vegan products and can access them.

These are all great options at not only replacing the nutritional benefits of meat, but the taste and texture as well. In order to create satisfying and filling meat-free meals.

There is something here for everyone no matter your personal situation!

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