Vegan meat substitutes have come a long way in the past decade and especially in the past five years. What used to be just variations of tofu, seitan, tempeh, beans, lentils, and nuts has exploded into a full-blown industry with alternatives that are indistinguishable and dare we say far better than their flesh based counterparts. One source even estimates that by the year 2025 the meat substitute market will be worth $7.5 billion dollars! Consumers are speaking loud and clear that they want to consume more plants and less animals. And now is the perfect time to try some of the delicious vegan offerings.
Vegan meat substitutes are on the rise for good reason. Not only are they delicious, but you can enjoy them knowing no death or suffering had to occur to obtain them. These faux meats can be excellent transition tools to a healthier diet. They are also a great gateway to share with non-vegans to showcase just how tasty vegan food can be.
While it is true that some vegan meat alternatives are fairly processed and do not offer much nutrition, the current market is making sure to lead with healthier, high protein or whole foods based options for even the most health-savvy. Whether you’re vegan for your health, the environment or for animals or you’re just interested in eating less meat, there are options for everyone. Our list includes a variety of more processed, closer to the “real” thing kind of meat alternatives as well as some less processed, more whole foods based alternatives. We’ve also included a guide below sharing some DIY meat substitutes. So dive in and prepare to be amazed at what you can buy or make!
Best Hot Dog
Yeah Dawg Hot Dogs
These vegan hot dogs smell and taste just like what you grew up on without the weird ingredient list! They are soy-free, gluten-free, and are made up of vegetables, seeds, flours and spices. This makes it the ideal minimally processed dog to help you get your fix.
How We Like to Enjoy it: Served on a lightly toasted hot dog bun with raw garlic sauerkraut and west brae naturals sugar-free ketchup.
Beyond Meat Burger
These burgers were one of the most talked about, highly coveted items of the year, and for good reason. These meatless burgers not only taste like a classic burger but look like one too thanks to beet extract. The high protein burger (20 grams!) utilizes pea protein and is free of both soy and gluten, making it great for people with allergies. If you’re looking for it at a traditional grocery store, be sure to look in the meat case, as they prefer placement here to help showcase the burger and appeal to those who are typically buying meat as an alternative that’s easy to find.
How We Like to Enjoy it: On a bun with Bubbie’s pickle slices, thinly sliced sweet onion and a slice of sharp Cheddar Parmela Creamery cheese.
Hilary’s Eat Well World’s Best Veggie Burger
These burgers are the perfect whole foods alternative to the many more processed meat alternatives on the market. Made from whole grains, vegetables, coconut oil and spices these are healthy and hearty. Besides all the healthy ingredients, these burgers are free of most major allergens including soy, gluten, nuts and corn.
How We Like to Enjoy it: As part of an open-faced sandwich using romaine lettuce, hot sauce, homemade cashew cream and onion.
Best Chicken Tender
Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
These crispy tenders will take you back to your childhood with…