This is my list of go-to vegan beef and pork substitutes. I tend to go for easy these days and most often use chickpeas instead of chicken, lentils instead of ground beef and mushrooms instead of steak strips. And, if all else fails, I just go with whatever veggies were originally in the dish and use more of them. The important point is to find what you love, whether it matches the original meat or not and make the dish your own. Forget what the recipe is supposed to taste like and enjoy making it how you want it.
Easy ingredient substitutes
My no muss no fuss substitutes include:
- substituting grilled portabella mushrooms for steak strips,
- substituting brown lentils for ground beef;
- substituting chickpeas for chicken;
- substituting cheese like paneer or halloumi for chicken;
- substituting avocado slices in recipes that call for ham; and
- using quinoa egg noodles (vegans can use quinoa non-egg noodles) or quinoa instead of regular noodles or rice under a recipe where you leave out the meat altogether (quinoa is a complete protein, so allows you to leave out the protein in the entree).
These are all also vegan and whole food friendly and can make a great choice for meat-eaters trying to reduce their meat consumption a bit, too:
- Ground Beef: this is probably the most popular meat substitute for non-vegetarians. In a rich sauce, like a bolognese or in chili, it is disguised really well and often even fools meat-eaters into thinking it’s “real” meat.
- Steak Bites: great for Chinese stir-fry dishes.
- Bacon Strips: good for a mock BLT or anything calling for strips or chunks of ham or bacon.
- Bacon Bits: excellent on salads and as a topping for soups and casseroles.
- Pepperoni: so incredible on pizza and on sandwiches! Yum. It’s seriously amazing.