22 Best Substitutes for Meat

Best Substitutes for Meat
Photo by Mary Winchester

What would your life be like without beef, chicken, pork, or fish? You’d be unenviable without these key ingredients in many of your favorite dishes.

Thankfully, there are plenty of best substitutes for meat to choose from that can bring these tasty recipes back into your diet.

Whether it’s because you don’t eat meat or because you’re simply looking to incorporate some new plant-based proteins into your diet.

Let’s take a look at the top best substitutes for meat on the market right now and see which ones will satisfy your cravings the most!

No one wants to eat meat daily, let alone more than once or twice a week. Fortunately, plenty of great substitutes for meat taste good and are affordable and healthy.

And can be used in countless recipes to make vegetarian meals just as filling and satisfying as their meat-based counterparts. 

Check out these top best substitutes for meat that will make your mouth water!

1. Eggplant

Eggplant is the first on the list of best substitutes for meat. You can fry, bake, grill, or roast this versatile vegetable to make it a perfect substitute for chicken.

It will also take on the flavors of any spices you use when cooking. 

Plus, eggplant is packed with vitamins and minerals that benefit your health. One of the best ways to cook eggplant is by slicing it and frying it in olive oil with salt and pepper. 

Once it’s browned on both sides, you’ll want to add some onions and garlic for flavor before topping off the dish with tomato sauce.

The pan should be covered so that steam can’t escape, and the eggplant will become moist as it cooks through.

2. Coconut burger

Coconut is a great substitute for meat and is best when it’s made into burgers.

The coconut meat is ground up in the food processor and then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and cumin. 

The mixture is then formed into patties and placed on a greased pan. The burger buns are spread with mayonnaise, and the burger is topped with cheese. 

It’s baked for about 25 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve them hot on a bun with all your favorite toppings!

3. Mycoprotein

The next on the list of best substitutes for meat is Mycoprotein. Ingredients;

  • Olive oil 
  • Onion chopped 
  • Garlic minced 
  • Carrots peeled and sliced thin 
  • Vegetable broth (or chicken) 
  • Fresh mushrooms halved or quartered if large 
  • Dried thyme or fresh thyme leaves are removed from the stem to measure the same amount.

4. Edible mushrooms

Mushrooms are excellent substitutes for meat because they’re firm and packed with flavor, so they absorb the flavors of sauces or marinades beautifully.

Plus, since mushrooms come in various textures and flavors, there’s something for everyone. 

5. Glamorgan Sausage

If you’re a vegan and craving sausage, there are plenty of options for you. Glamorgan sausages are made from rice and lentils, but they’re just as flavorful as the meat-based version. 

They’re also lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than their pork counterparts. Plus, they can be cooked in the same way: fried, pan-fried, boiled, or baked.

6. Paneer

Paneer is a great substitute for meat if you’re tired of meat and want to try something new. This is a fresh cheese that is usually made with whole milk

It can be eaten in curries, fried, or even sliced and put on salads for a delicious vegetarian dish. In some dishes, it can also be substituted for ricotta or mozzarella cheese. 

A popular Indian dish called palak paneer consists of spinach and paneer cooked with spices such as ginger, garlic, and garam masala.

The dish is often served with rice or naan bread to soak up the sauce. This can also be used in stir-fries!

7. Pea Protein

Pea protein is one of the best substitutes for meat because it’s a complete protein and contains all essential amino acids.

Its protein is also low in fat, has no cholesterol, and doesn’t contain any animal products. 

It does have fewer calories per serving than beef but still has a decent amount of protein in each serving.

Pea protein can be bought as pea flour, which needs to be mixed with water or other liquid ingredients like almond or plant-based milk.

8. Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores.

It’s made by soaking soybeans, grinding them into a pulp, and inoculating the mixture with an active culture. 

The resultant mixture is then packed into blocks or cakes. Like tofu, tempeh absorbs flavors well and can make anything from fajitas to burgers.

9. Seitan

Seitan is next on the list of best substitutes for meat. You can find seitan in most grocery stores’ refrigerated or frozen sections. 

One of the best things about seitan is that it’s so versatile. You can make a meatless dish with it, have it as a sandwich filling, or slice and bake it for a nice change from your usual chicken.

It is made from vital wheat gluten, which gives it its chewy texture and hearty flavor. 

Seitan is high in protein and low in carbs and fats, perfect for people looking to avoid animal products for health reasons.

Slice up some seitan thinly and cook with soy sauce, scallions, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil on medium-high heat until browned on both sides.

10. Tofu

Tofu is a great substitute for meat, especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian. It’s packed with protein, gluten-free, and has a neutral flavor that can be flavored any way you like. 

Tofu is made from soybeans and pressed into blocks. Tofu is a good substitute for meat because it’s high in protein and can be flavored any way you want to make it taste more like meat

Plus, it’s inexpensive! To get you started in the right direction, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tofu recipes: 

11. Spicy Orange Tofu Tacos

This recipe is full of flavor and perfect for taco night! 

12. Vegan Red Curry

This curry is so flavorful and delicious! 

13. Sweet Potato Black Bean Tostadas

These tostadas are easy to make, and they taste amazing!

14. Lentils

Lentils are one of the best substitutes for meat because they’re hearty and filling.

They’re a great fiber source and have an earthy flavor that most people enjoy. Lentils can be used in curries, tacos, salads, soups, and more! 

There are many varieties to choose from, so it’s easy to find a lentil recipe that suits your tastes. If you’re looking for the perfect substitute for meat, look no further than lentils!

15. Black Beans

There are so many different substitutes for meat that you can use in your diet, but black beans are the best substitutes for meat. They’re inexpensive, easy to make, and delicious. 

Black beans also have tons of protein and fiber, which will keep you feeling full longer than other foods.

If you don’t like black beans, or if they’re out of season where you live, this is a list of other great substitutes.

16. Chickpeas

The next on the list of best substitutes for meat is Chickpeas. Many people think you have to be vegetarian or vegan to get enough protein.

The truth is that many plant-based foods contain abundant protein, like chickpeas. 

Chickpeas are a great substitute for meat because they are high in protein, low in fat, and rich in fiber.

They can be cooked as a vegetable dish with spices or ground up and used as a burger patty. Either way, they make for a healthy and satisfying meal.

17. Plant-Based Sausages

Try a plant-based sausage if you’re looking for a meat substitute that will make your mouth water.

There are plenty of varieties in the market to try, and they’re all delicious. Here are five different types of plant-based sausages you can buy at the store today:

18. Field Roast Frankfurters

These sausages have a classic bratwurst flavor but are made from wheat gluten instead of animal protein.

They’re also high in protein and low in fat, so they make a great weekday meal or weekend breakfast alternative.

19. Tofurky Beer Brats

If you love traditional brats but want to avoid red meat, these beer-flavored sausages are perfect for you!

20. Plant-Based Chicken

If you’re a vegan or just looking to cut back on meat intake, the best way to do so is to explore some of the awesome plant-based meats that are out there. Example of one of the Plant-based chicken best substitutes for meat; 

21. Field Roast Vegan Sausages

Field Roast makes an assortment of fantastic vegan sausages and other products, including their popular Apple Sage Breakfast Sausage and Celebration Roast.

All of their products contain no cholesterol and tons of protein.

22. Soyrizo

I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, but I love food and cooking. I love experimenting with different spices and seasonings to create delicious dishes

One thing that I’ve found that tastes great is Soyrizo. Soyrizo is a plant-based protein with the consistency of ground beef, and it can be used for tacos, burritos, chili, burgers, meatballs, you name it!


This list of the best substitutes for meat can make you drool. Finding a good substitute for a classic dish is hard, but these are pretty close.

I will continue to update this list with more great ideas as I find them. In the meantime, enjoy cooking and eating some of these dishes! 

I couldn’t resist adding in one last favorite substitute; Cauliflower crusted pizza; It’s not 100% vegan or vegetarian.

But it is still really delicious and worth including in this list because it sounds so yummy. 

And if you’re someone who eats eggs, then a frittata would be perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (it’s made from eggs).

The only thing about that recipe, though, is the use of milk, so if you don’t like milk, then there are plenty of other things to choose from in this blog post.

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