6 Marvelous Mock Meats

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6 Marvelous Mock Meats

Written by Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer

Whether you're going meat-free for religious or personal reasons, your body will thank you. Giving up meat from time to time has a tremendous effect on your health, so we can all benefit from learning about alternate and affordable plant-based proteins. Check out these half dozen meat-free staples!


Lentils are a cheap and versatile protein source. They cost about a dollar a pound in the bulk bins at your supermarket.

On nights when you're pressed for time, throw some lentils in a pot, along with a bit of onion and garlic. Add twice as much broth as lentils and let them simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, steam some broccoli or spinach, heat up some brown rice and drizzle on a bit of curry or tomato sauce. Dinner's on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Most people limit lentils to lentil soup, but these legumes have a lengthy list of uses.


Few foods are as polarizing as tofu. Say the word and watch as noses crinkle or mouths water.

Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is made by soaking, boiling, blending and straining soybeans, then adding a coagulating agent and pressing it. Think of tofu as the other white meat. Like chicken, it's a versatile protein, a blank canvas on which to test your culinary prowess. You can substitute sautéed or grilled tofu in just about every chicken recipe you have.

More Tofu Tips


It looks a bit like cereal, but it smells saltier and tastes more savory than sweet. It's a cheap, versatile and incredibly easy to use protein source that is sometimes hard to distinguish from ground meat when added to a recipe. It's TVP: Textured Vegetable Protein.

Demystify this vegetarian protein, which can be used in everything from chili and meatballs to tacos and shepherd's pie.

Black Beans

Many of us could live on black beans and rice--and several cultures do! Black beans are cheap (roughly 89 cents a can or dried for about $1 a pound). Once cooked they can be frozen and easily added to your favorite recipes.

Black Beans: The Best Beans!


What is tempeh (pronounced tem-pay)?

Tempeh is a fermented product made from soybeans, but it's not pungent like sauerkraut. When crumbled or grated, tempeh has the texture of ground meat.

It's time to try tempeh.

A Medley of Meatless "Meats"

Welcome to the wonderful world of meat analogs! You can indulge your cravings for all your favorites--pepperoni pizza, BLTs and even sausage and egg breakfast sandwiches--even when you're on a meatless diet.

Take a stroll through the frozen food section of any grocery store these days, and you'll find the meatless meats. Chicken nuggets and patties, ribs, burgers, sausage, bacon, ground meat, hot dogs, and even turkey have been made meatless.

Read more.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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4/12/2013 9:06:25 AM

I'm really disappointed in this. Here's why:

1. Beans and lentils are not "mock meats". They are beans and lentils.
2. Mock Duck and Field Roast **are** mock meats, yet are missing from your list. ???

This is sloppy, mis-informative and disappointing.


4/12/2013 8:32:37 AM

JOLENE662's SparkPage
I used to eat TVP and store-bought veggie burgers until I started focusing on eating more whole foods and trying to avoid more processed foods.


4/12/2013 8:29:37 AM

THESUBY's SparkPage
Why does meat have to be faked? Just leave it out! I like dishes without meat just fine, but I balk at replacement meat like tofu. Yuck. I love beans and lentils, though; I don't think of them as meat replacement, but a yummy food group. I think if you have to fake meat, you are not ready to go vegetarian anyway.


4/12/2013 7:03:45 AM

I'll stick with meat and eat less, but beans and lentils are always part of my diet.


4/12/2013 6:54:11 AM

BRASKIN's SparkPage
Thanks for the info...was wondering what to do with tempeh.


4/12/2013 5:38:28 AM

PJBF1979's SparkPage
I make a meatless "chicken" parm with Morningstar Farms breaded chicken substitute.

lay the patties in a baking pan, add you preferred tomatoes and/or sauce (I use italian style diced tomatoes, and then add your preferred cheese--I use an italian blend, normally.

Bake according to the package directions. :D


4/12/2013 3:51:25 AM

2592SC's SparkPage
Most weeks, I fix a huge batch of homemade, meatless spaghetti sauce. I add a can or two of rinsed,canned black or kidney beans to it for protein. Even people that don't love beans will eat my sauce.


8/31/2012 7:30:13 AM

GINIEMIE's SparkPage
Although I eat less meat than before, I don't like mock meats, and I have learned that I must avoid soy products due to my thyroid problems.


8/27/2012 3:26:57 AM

Lentils and beans are okay for me - but I don't eat meat analogs because it's not whole food. It's protein, but a convential diet is too high in protein, so I don't need the analogs. I prefer more natural food for my health.


8/24/2012 6:43:29 AM

I have a recipe for panko encrusted tofu that I will find and post when I get home from work today. Had it on vacation with a seaweed salad and it was so great. I have a restaurant that we go to sometimes that has seitan in a chipotle reduction sauce and it is one of the best seitan dishes I have ever tried. I live in cattle country with NO veg restaurants, so I'm glad this one has one dish I like. Mock meats should not be a regular part of your diet, but they are great for going vegan and getting used to not eating dead animals. Whole plant based is better, but I do use mock meats for some recipes and my husband likes them. Gardein has some pretty good ones, too. We are lucky to be living in a time where going vegan isn't so hard.


8/23/2012 6:17:39 PM

just bought some pease pudding----- good old fashioned fodder made with yelow splt peas........yummy


8/23/2012 4:03:10 PM

KMBJBB's SparkPage
Well - I had lentils for the first time yesterday and loved them. Been eating tofu off and on and I am learning to like it. Still not having a lot of success with it, but I will get there. Never had TVP and will need to check Whole Foods to see about it. Black beans and rice is my every Monday lunch. Had tempeh for the first time today at lunch and it was good and makes we want to try more. Those meatless meats? While they are higher in sodium than I like, because I cut back on so much elsewhere, it's not too much of a problem. I am moving to using them less and less, but I do keep Tofurkey pizzas in the deep freeze for those nights when MIL buys Papa John's for the family. I am allergic to dairy. I would love to learn to make some of these things on my own and hope to find some recipes soon.

Also, back to the sodium question - my hubby is on a cardiac diet for Coronary Artery Disease. His cardiologist has approved the meatless meats and all these things on the list. Also told hubby that going vegan would be the best thing for him.


8/23/2012 4:01:53 PM

This was Interesting. I had no Idea there were so many Choices .


8/23/2012 3:19:02 PM

RUTHEY01's SparkPage
I have found that making my own vegan sausages, seitan cutlets and tvp meatballs are better than buying them. I can control what goes into each recipe especially the amount of sodium. By tweaking the spices, I make different flavors of "meats" - Italian, Mexican, Asian, etc. And I save a lot of money too.


8/23/2012 2:53:20 PM

Thank You so much for this e-mail..I just started spark.com to lose some weight. I got off track and started junk food. I received a spark receipe e-mail thinking it would be vegetarian since that is what I signed up for. I deleted that just the other day and received this one. Surprised, thanks again...

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