23 Different Types of Meat Substitutes

Types Of Meat Substitutes
Image by Good Housekeeping

You know that one of the best things you can do for your health, the environment, and animals is to cut back on animal products.

The biggest challenge with this? Animal products are so delicious! But as they say: every problem has its solution.

Consequently, this guide includes a breakdown of some of the most popular types of meat substitutes available today.

If you’re looking to reduce your meat intake for health or ethical reasons, there are plenty of options.

Most stores offer vegetarian-friendly meat substitutes at comparable prices to their meat counterparts and with similar nutritional profiles. 

However, if you miss the taste of meat from time to time, don’t worry! There are plenty of great vegan meat options out there that can satisfy your cravings without harming any living creatures!

Here are some of the most common types of meat substitutes that you can try and then decide the one that works best for you!

1. Glamorgan Sausage

You’ve likely never heard of it, but Glamorgan sausage is one of the tried and true types of meat substitutes.

The vegan version typically contains tofu, mixed nuts, and spices. With about 220 calories per serving, it will not fill you up.

But if you need something savory and easy to eat on the go, Glamorgan sausage is a great choice. Try slicing it up and adding it to your salad or making a sandwich with avocado.

Just be sure to buy vegan ingredients when possible, so no animals are harmed in production.

2. Carrot Hot Dog

This carrot hot dog is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. Generally, kids are more open to eating things that look familiar.

And thanks to some creative slicing (and a few green garnishes), these carrot dogs look like all-beef ones. These are amazing types of meat substitutes you may want to try out.

You can also choose from other colors – red or yellow – for variety and visual appeal. Slipping carrots in thin rounds make them pliable enough to roll into a tube shape.

If you have trouble breaking your carrots while rolling them up, they may be thicker than 1/4 inch in diameter. Thinner carrots are easier to work with because they don’t need as much stuffing as thicker ones.

3. Cauliflower

Are you looking for the almost-perfect types of meat substitutes? Probably trying to avoid red meat or want a good veggie as a substitute for a burger? Look no further than cauliflower!

Pulse your cauliflower in a food processor, along with chopped onion and garlic, salt, and pepper, to taste.

Next, cook them in oil on high heat until golden brown before baking at 400 degrees F until well done. Top with cheese if you wish. This tastes great when served on hamburger buns or even just alone.

4. Mock Duck

A mock duck is one of the most popular types of meat substitutes. It is often made from wheat gluten. It has a texture similar to chicken and can be used in various recipes, such as stir-fries. 

While it does have some carbs, it contains very little fat, which makes it one of my favorite alternatives. Try using it in soups and stews for added flavor.

Make sure to watch your portion sizes with any low-fat meats. Otherwise, you could accidentally take in more calories than intended without realizing it.

5. Nut Roast

Yes, it’s one of the types of meat substitutes that are as good as it sounds. It’s a great alternative to sliced meats like roast beef or corned beef, especially for vegetarians, vegans, or just trying to eat less meat. 

What’s more? Made from nuts and grains, nut roast is often flavored with herbs and spices that give it a fresh taste.

Nut roasts are usually served cold in sandwiches or can be made into patties to top a salad or burger. Try one out—it might become your go-to lunchmeat.

6. Wheat Gluten

Wheat gluten can be a satisfying replacement if a vegetarian diet is not an option. Made from ground flour, it’s high in protein and can easily replace other protein sources in your diet.

So interestingly, not only is it one of the types of meat substitutes, but it can also fit as a protein substitute. 

It has a dense texture, so it won’t make any dishes flabby or too watery. In addition, the savory taste makes wheat gluten popular for use with pasta and stir-fries. —And if prepared properly, it will have no flavor or smell. 

Note that if you don’t care about how it tastes or smells, check out its healthier cousin: seitan. You can get them both in most Asian supermarkets for $4-7 per pound.

7. Tofurkey

One of the most popular and widely used types of meat substitutes is Tofurkey.

It is made from wheat gluten and comes in various flavors (such as Italian sausage and pepperoni) that make it an excellent addition to any meal.

It’s high in protein and low in fat, making it a healthy alternative to real turkey. Pair with mashed potatoes for a filling, healthy dinner or enjoy as part of your favorite sandwich or wrap.

You can even slice it into cubes for topping pizzas and salads. The possibilities are endless when choosing Tofurkey!

8. Tempeh

Nutritious tempeh can be made from soybeans, grains, or even coconut; all that matters is its ferment. What makes tempeh so appealing? 

It’s super high in protein and has a soft texture that tastes great. The types of meat substitutes that have additional benefits to them include Tempeh. 

9. Tofu

Tofu is not left out of the different types of meat substitutes. It comes in silken, extra-firm, and firm varieties. Extra-firm tofu will have a more chewy texture and is great for grilling or baking. 

Furthermore, Silken tofu is perfect for smoothies and desserts while firm tofu is an excellent substitute in any recipe requiring eggs (scrambled eggs, anyone?).

10. Soy Curl

These crunchy meat strips are made from fermented soybeans, a plant-based protein source packed with calcium.

Also, Soy curl is high in iron and contains all essential amino acids. This means it provides your body with every building block needed to make muscles and tissue.

Try using soy curl in stir-fries or as a replacement for bacon bits in recipes like fried rice. 

11. Seitan

If you’re unfamiliar with seitan, it’s just a gluten-based protein. You can add it to all sorts of dishes to make them vegan or vegetarian. —Some people even use it as one of the types of meat substitutes. 

Although we can get plenty of proteins from other sources (lentils, legumes, beans, and grains).

But if you don’t eat those foods regularly (and who does?), seitan might be an excellent option. It gives food an authentic meaty texture and makes vegan recipes much more filling. 

12. Oncom

Also known as tempeh, it’s made by fermenting soybeans until they form a solid patty. It has an earthy, mushroom-like flavor. 

Oncom is great in pasta dishes or baked alongside veggies and grains. It is on the list of types of meat substitutes because it has almost twice as much protein as tofu does. And as a matter of fact, half of its calories come from fiber.

13. Koya Dofu

Made from soybeans, Koya dofu (or firm tofu) is a firm Japanese-style tofu that’s been cooked by simmering it in water. To serve, cut it up or crumble it over noodles and vegetables. 

Additionally, it’s perfect with a peanut-based sauce like sate or satay. Still, wondering which one of the types of meat substitutes to use? Koya Dofu got you covered!

14. Injo-gogi-bap

This is probably your safest bet for convincing someone, who wouldn’t otherwise eat fake meat, that it tastes good.

It’s made from soybeans, which are softer and more familiar to most palates than seitan or tofu. 

Injo-gogi-bap is very versatile, too. In addition to serving it like regular bulgogi (grilled), you can add it to bibimbap or use it as a filling for wraps and dumplings.

You don’t have to be confused about the different types of meat substitutes to use. If you’ve got Injo-gogi-bap, you are on course!

15. Härkis

This Swedish staple tastes much like sausage and can be used in place of it. Think stir-fries, casseroles, and pasta sauce.

It has a texture similar to tempeh but is softer. However, the ingredient list on Härkis is small.

Namely, they are grains, legumes, potatoes, onions, barley malt syrup (barley can cause bloating for some people), and natural flavorings.

These small ingredient lists are why I typically don’t buy meat analogs that often—the ones in grocery stores usually have additives I’d rather not eat. 

Härkis is handmade in Sweden by an organic company with simple ingredients. As a result, it’s one of my favorite types of meat substitutes to order on Thistle or have delivered to me through Amazon Pantry.

16. Ganmodoki

Ganmodoki is also one of the different types of meat substitutes. These balls can be made with tofu or ground chicken. Plus, they’re easy to make and extremely versatile, pairing well with various sauces. 

In Japan, they’re traditionally eaten on a New Year’s Day ritual that includes eating one ganmodoki ball for each year in your life.

The first is eaten at midnight to usher in good luck for that year; each additional ball represents more good luck.

These dumplings are served chilled but taste great as an addition to hot pot dishes like kimchi jjigae. 

Finally, Ganmodoki is made from tofu, eggs, and chopped vegetables such as carrots and cabbage. Other flavorings can include minced onion or garlic chives.

17. Falafel

First popularized in Israel, Falafel is now a worldwide culinary phenomenon. A staple food, falafel is typically made from chickpeas that have been ground and deep-fried in patties or balls with herbs and spices.

The flavors can vary, though it’s most commonly eaten with tahini (sesame paste) for dipping. 

Uniquely, Falafel makes a great vegetarian main dish, but it’s also tasty as a sandwich filling or burger replacement.

Some restaurants serve mock chicken made from falafel; a good example can be found at Orly Cafe in Minneapolis.

If you are looking for an excellent replacement for meat, Falafel is considered one of the best types of meat substitutes!

18. Burmese Tofu

This is a popular vegetarian choice in Southeast Asia and often appears in soups, curries, and stir-fry dishes. It’s made by coagulating soy milk with gypsum. This results in a product similar to paneer cheese. 

Tofu is available in different textures; extra firm tofu can be sliced or cubed as an alternative to meats in curry or stir-fries.

The softer varieties are great for making vegetarian sausages (take our cauliflower hot dog recipe, for example). Some say it tastes almost like seafood, but we wouldn’t go that far! 

You can order it from Amazon. If you have tried tofu before, then let us know your favorite ways to prepare it.

19. Jackfruit

Jackfruit is equally one of the types of meat substitutes, embedding its advantages. This is a fruit whose flesh has a similar texture to pulled pork when cooked.

Jackfruit is also high in fiber, which makes it an excellent choice for people trying to lose weight.

Also, it’s super versatile—you can use jackfruit in tacos, burgers, or on its own as a side dish. You can find canned jackfruit at most grocery stores these days.

20. Eggplant

Besides being on the list of the types of meat substitutes, the great thing about eggplant is that it can be used in so many other ways.

It’s a healthy and versatile food. Eggplant tastes delicious whether it is fried or roasted, grilled or sautéed. 

One serving provides only about 26 calories yet has nearly no fat, making it one of your best choices for healthy eating.

Meanwhile, some say that eggplant is bitter, but it develops a mild flavor when cooked properly. This flavor is similar to squash, with just a hint of sweetness in its background notes.

21. Fish and Seafood

Though they don’t contain any actual meat, fish and seafood are still types of meat substitutes like tofu and tempeh and are good sources of protein.

Plus, they can taste just as good as, if not better than, their flesh-based counterparts. Eaten on their own, they’re great in Asian-inspired dishes like stir fries or curries. 

Tofu comes in dozens of different textures and flavors (and some would argue that it’s a complete food). It can be seasoned with barbecue sauce for a summer meal with protein.

Fishless fish sticks (like those by Gardein) are an excellent alternative to traditional breaded fish sticks and patties.

22. Eggs

Meat isn’t your only source of protein. Plant-based foods like beans, nuts, and whole grains are packed with plenty of protein; better yet, they come without as many calories.

If you want to gain muscle mass or go vegetarian but aren’t sure how to make up for lost protein, try a few different vegan proteins. 

Vegan bodybuilders swear by soy products like tofu and tempeh (made from fermented soybeans), while others prefer their rice or quinoa meaty.

Beans and lentils make great meat alternatives, too; plus, they contain protein and iron. So you don’t have to worry about your health being affected when you stop eating red meat regularly. You have relishing types of meat substitutes, remember?

23. Beans

Beans are a staple in diets worldwide, and for a good reason. They are packed with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy antioxidants. 

Also, they’re one of the great types of meat substitutes for beef, pork, or chicken. Beans can be used in their dried form, canned, and prepared from scratch. 


If you’re considering going vegetarian or vegan, you may be wondering how you will still be able to enjoy some of your favorite meals from before. 

Luckily, there are tons of ways to get that meaty texture and flavor without animal products! Listed and explained explicitly above are types of meat substitutes for vegetarians and vegans that you’re sure to love!

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