I can’t believe it’s not meat! Can you?
Vegetarian and vegan meat substitutes have become crazy popular, and have taken these diets to a whole new level. Even for meat-eaters, some of these products are realistic enough to still satisfy that carnivore craving. With so many choices on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus, it’s hard to decide which brand is best — the tastiest, most nutritious, and most affordable. Take a look at some of these best vegetarian meat substitutes and their rankings to decide which one to dig into next.
This quirkily named, veggie-centric company has some of the most realistic, unique meat substitutes out there. Their products range from burger patties, to ground meat, to even chicken cutlets and tenders. My personal favorites are the creative chicken tenders and turkey “roasts”. Fermented mushrooms are the secret ingredient that gives their “meat” a super realistic chewy texture.
Taste: 9/10 Great umami taste and meat-like striated texture.
Nutrition: 8/10 Quorn makes their products out of plant-based protein, with many vegan and gluten-free options. Vegan burgers have 100 cal, 4 g fat, 10 g protein; Chicken cutlets have 80 cal, 2.5 g fat, 11 g protein.
Cost: 7/10 Not too bad compared to other meat substitutes. Chicken cutlets are $4.59 per 9.7 oz box; Burgers are $5.79 for a 8.4 oz box of 4 patties.
Morning Star has long been a staple of vegetarian meat substitutes. The company boasts a huge range of products including their classic veggie burgers, breakfast meats, hot dogs, ribs, pulled pork, and wings. The vegetarian bacon is my go-to for upgrading any ordinary breakfast. Their classic burgers are mostly made of soy protein, wheat gluten, and egg whites, but they have new variations that are based from chickpeas, beans, or quinoa.
Taste: 8/10 Pretty consistently tasty products, although I’ve heard from some non-vegetarians that they just aren’t quite the same.
Nutrition: 8/10 Garden burgers have 110 cal, 3.5 g fat; 2 bacon strips have 60 cal, 4.5 g fat.
Cost: 8/10 Burgers are $4.59 for 4 patties; Bacon is $4.59 for a 5.25 oz box.
One of Trader Joe’s hidden gems is found in their freezer section: meatless breakfast sausage patties. These little sausages look identical to the classic diner breakfast sides. They have the same mouth-watering smell, texture, and flavor that pair perfectly with pancakes and maple syrup. TJ’s has plenty of pseudo-meat products, but these breakfast patties definitely stand out among the best vegetarian meat substitutes.
Taste: 9/10 Realistic texture and taste, even according to some picky meat-eaters I know.
Nutrition: 8/10 Made primarily of wheat gluten and soy protein, these patties pack in a lot of protein for their small size. Each patty has 80 cal, 4.5 g fat, 7 g protein.
Cost: 9/10 $3.29 per 7.5 oz box of 6 patties
This trendy brand of plant-based meat products has been making waves in the restaurant and celebrity worlds. They’re the creators of the renowned Beyond Burger, which is served in restaurants across the country. These products are non-GMO, gluten-free, and are also packed with protein. But there’s more: the burgers even mimic the “bloodiness” of a well-cooked burger. Too realistic? Don’t worry; it’s just beet juice. Besides burgers, Beyond Meat also has chicken strips and ground beef crumbles.
Taste: 9/10 These products are hailed by elite athletes for their taste and nutrition, and I’d have to agree.
Nutrition: 9/10 Beyond Meat uses plant-based ingredients including pea or soy-based protein, amaranth, and yeast extract for flavor. One Beyond Burger has 290 cal, 22 g fat, 20 g protein.
Cost: 5/10 Maybe it’s due to their novelty, but these products are pricier and more difficult to purchase. They’re available at…