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Vegetable Alternatives to Meat: Which are the Best


When you decide to become vegetarian one of the biggest difficulties is find plant-based alternatives to meat that can be used in recipes that traditionally include meat.

There is no shortage of options today even if they are often accompanied by skepticism regarding their actual similarity and, above all, the benefits or otherwise that they would bring to the body.

Vegetable alternatives to meat

Today, there are a growing number of plant-based options available that can replace meat. These are most popular varieties.

I argue

Seitan is a Meat substitute made from vital wheat gluten. It has a strong flavor and a rubbery consistency and for this reason it lends itself to being sautéed or inserted into sandwiches, stews and pasta dishes.

From a nutritional point of view, Seitan is an alternative to meat high protein content and generally also contains small amounts of iron, calcium and potassium.

In stores you can find it in the form of ready-to-use cubes, strips or thin slices but you can also prepare it at home using vital wheat gluten, vegetable broth and flavoring agents such as soy sauce or liquid amino acids and garlic. In fact, all you need to do is combine the ingredients in a mixer, create a homogeneous dough, cut into strips and then cook them as you prefer.

Be careful though, as it contains gluten, Seitan is not suitable for people who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.


Jackfruit is a big one tropical fruit that grows in Asia, Africa and some areas of South America. It has a thick, green, bumpy skin and a soft, fibrous inner pulp with edible seeds.

Because of his texture and delicate flavourjackfruit pulp is often used as a substitute in meat dishes or sandwiches.

This fruit is low in calories and has less protein than other plant-based meat alternatives but offers some fiber and a small number of micronutrients such as iron, potassium and calcium.

Soy-based foods

Soy is a legume and it is one of the most used plant-based alternatives to meat, also because it is extremely versatile. Soy foods tend to have a delicate flavour and therefore they are perfect substitutes for practically any type of meat and can also be used in the most traditional dishes. These are the most common types.

  • Soya beans. Also called edamame, soybeans make a great addition to stir-fry but can also be cooked and eaten as a snack.
  • Tofu. With a consistency similar to that of a spongy cake, tofu is made of soybeans and water and can be pressed, cut into cubes and cooked. To eat it you can sauté it in a pan, add it to salad, slice it and add it to sandwiches, or crumble it and cook it with vegetables.
  • Tempeh. Product made from fermented soybeans, it is excellent cut into thin strips and added to stir-fry or crumbled and used in stews and salads.
  • Other alternatives containing soy. Finally, there are more processed plant-based alternatives to meat, such as pre-packaged veggie burgers containing soy protein.

Nutritional values ​​of plant-based alternatives to meat

In graph i nutritional profiles of plant-based alternatives to meat, referring to a single 100 gram portion.

Benefits of plant-based alternatives

The main reasons that push a person to avoid meat and prefer plant-based solutions are ethical and can be summarized with desire not to kill animals for one's own needs and not to support the meat production chainwhich due to high emissions is one of the most polluting production areas.

Although not always supported, this choice can bring with it numerous benefits, given that some plant-based alternatives to meat are free of substances harmful to heart health such as saturated fat and sodium.

Additionally, in recent years, research has linked high consumption of processed and red meats to an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, particularly colon and breast cancer.

There are also plant-based alternatives rich in fibre which help reduce the risk of several chronic diseases.

Disadvantages of plant-based meat alternatives

While plant-based meat alternatives can offer a number of benefits, they may also have some downsides to consider.

For example many contain ingredients that are not considered very healthy such as refined oils, modified corn starch, dextrose or added sugar. Before purchasing them, therefore, it is always a good idea to read the labels carefully.

Additionally, while tofu is quite cheap, other plant-based meat alternatives can be very expensive.

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