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

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.

Tofu

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

TVP

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!


Tempeh

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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FROGGEE

3/3/2010 8:34:32 AM

FROGGEE's SparkPage
I love vegetarian ooptions. thanks for the article.

REALLYGLOBAL

3/3/2010 8:09:55 AM

Hi Mame1616

Just to say that I often marinate tofu and it makes it a lot better. Never had the problem of it being like a sponge soaked in soy - maybe I put less soy. But I do marinate it in chili and other spices as well.

I also treat tofu and quorn like I would meat when I used to cook that. Always brown tofu and quorn first, just like meat rather than adding them at the last minutes as per pack recipes - no good like that! If I'm stirfrying with tofu, I do that first until it's brown, even a little crunchy, then remove it, do the other ingredients and then add it back in. Same for quorn. Yum!

MARTI91257

3/3/2010 7:42:28 AM

MARTI91257's SparkPage
I live in NJ and we can buy Quorn here as well - great stuff ("tastes like chicken!!") and I've also recently found a product called "gardein" which has frozen and bagged chicken and beef flavored/textured meats made from vegetable proteins...convenient and easy (and VERY tasty!!) my previously carnivorous boyfriend actually prefers the gardein products over real meat (higher protein and healthier)

40LBSWILLGO

3/3/2010 7:34:28 AM

40LBSWILLGO's SparkPage
In the UK there is another meatless meat, called Quorn which is made with (I think) microscopic mushrooms. It is low cal, high protein, and much, much better than either TVP or tofu. As an aside, my family won't eat TVP because of the gaseous after effects.

40LBSWILLGO

3/3/2010 6:27:49 AM

40LBSWILLGO's SparkPage
In the UK there is another meatless meat, called Quorn which is made with (I think) microscopic mushrooms. It is low cal, high protein, and much, much better than either TVP or tofu. As an aside, my family won't eat TVP because of the gaseous after effects.

40LBSWILLGO

3/3/2010 6:27:27 AM

40LBSWILLGO's SparkPage
In the UK there is another meatless meat, called Quorn which is made with (I think) microscopic mushrooms. It is low cal, high protein, and much, much better than either TVP or tofu. As an aside, my family won't eat TVP because of the gaseous after effects.

MAME1616

3/3/2010 2:46:57 AM

MAME1616's SparkPage
CKNY - I used to feel the same way about tofu before I learned how to cook it right. Have your tried freezing it? Also, I double bread the "steaks" after cutting the block into fours before I freeze it. Then I pan fry it with a spray or a tiny bit of olive oil. I've also coated it with sesame seeds - very yummy! Just keep playing with it with various herbs, spices and coatings. One thing I never do is marinate it - Have you ever bitten into a sponge that has soaked up about a half a cup of soy sauce - not recommended!


Veg for 13 years - not going back!

ILLINITEACHER52

3/2/2010 7:55:25 PM

ILLINITEACHER52's SparkPage
I'm sitting here eating black beans and rice as I am reading. It is a great way to stretch the budget as well as being healthy.

MINNIE

3/2/2010 7:28:30 PM

MINNIE's SparkPage
... and smaller portions are certainly better.

MINNIE

3/2/2010 7:27:04 PM

MINNIE's SparkPage
i'm not sure about the healthfulness of meat substitutes. i think it's our current meat that is not good for us. free roaming non-hormoned meat (in moderation) is probably good.

RNMIMI

3/2/2010 7:06:57 PM

RNMIMI's SparkPage
I'd love to try no meat meals but my husband would say "wheres the beef".

LADYHUNTER82

3/2/2010 1:23:39 PM

LADYHUNTER82's SparkPage
I don't know if I could do it! I like my meat in moderation.

LAFFWITHLINDA

3/2/2010 12:02:20 PM

LAFFWITHLINDA's SparkPage
It wouldn't hurt me to give up meat a few days week. Thanks for the ideas!

JESTRAD2

3/2/2010 11:48:17 AM

We eat entirely too much meat! This is a great idea!

ODD-FASHIONED

3/2/2010 11:20:13 AM

They left out one of my favourites - seitan. Unfortunately for people who are gluten intolerant, it's all gluten, though I've seen recipes for gluten free seitan made from brown rice and soy.
Sadly, all the times I tried tempeh, I hated it. =(
It could be that it just wasn't prepared to my liking.

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