Whether for health reasons, to love the environment or simply out of curiosity: vegan or vegetarian alternatives to meat seem to be attracting more and more interest at the moment. Tofu and Co. have long since conquered the refrigerated shelves of discounters and large fast food chains have recently started offering vegan burgers. Apparently the once ridiculed tofu is changing from a niche product to a new main stream. Curious? We present the best alternatives to chicken and the like!
A subject that is currently difficult to turn a blind eye to: As Marians Welt already reported, meat consumption can be harmful – in many ways. On the one hand, of course, for your own health: Diabetes and cancer are only a fraction of the possible consequences. On the other hand, the meat industry is largely responsible for climate change. Not to mention the mostly unworthy conditions under which the animals are slaughtered. As you can see: there are enough reasons to forego meat. If the power of habit didn’t thwart your plans … But the good thing is: It has never been easier to go without meat than it is now! Almost every day new products come onto the market that make life easier for us without steak and the like. It’s worth trying! Here is an overview of the most common and best alternatives:
It is the mother of meat substitutes: tofu. In addition, it is by no means new: it has been an integral part of Asian cuisine for centuries. No wonder: tofu is very popular due to its changeability. Due to the neutral basic taste and soft consistency, it is versatile and can be prepared and changed as desired using spices. Nowadays it is available in various forms: smoked, with olives, tomatoes or herbs as a block or in sausage form. Tofu is made from soaked soybeans that are pureed with water and then filtered. It also convinces with its nutritional values: tofu is rich in protein, unsaturated fatty acids and calcium.
We owe seitan primarily to Japanese cuisine. Like tofu, it is tasteless and therefore offers a wide range of preparation options. In the supermarket you can find it in any shape: from cold cuts, sausages to schnitzel – seitan is a true miracle of shape. In principle, seitan is pure wheat protein. It is made by rinsing wheat flour with water until all the starch has disappeared – then only the wheat protein remains. Thus it comes to a protein content of about 25 to 30 grams of protein per 100 grams. However, of course, people with gluten intolerance cannot use seitan as a meat substitute.
Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans. However, the production process is completely different: Similar to cheese, special bacterial cultures are used to produce it, which break down the protein in the soybeans and thus make it particularly digestible for humans. Incidentally, consuming the bacteria it contains can have a positive effect on the immune system. Tempeh has a protein content of 20 percent.
Another meat alternative with an exotic name is jackfruit. It belongs to the mulberry family and is actually the heaviest tree fruit in the world. So it can reach a weight of up to 40 kilos. In terms of taste, it is no wonder and tastes rather neutral, which makes it the perfect meat alternative. Here you can let off steam with seasoning and marinating. The structure of the jackfruit is also very meat-like once it is cooked: It is then very fibrous and creamy – perfect for frying and grilling!
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Oatmeal can do more than just breakfast: Combined with vegetables, red lentils and spices, vegan patties can be conjured up quickly and easily. Oatmeal is also a great source of carbohydrates, unsaturated fatty acids and proteins. Furthermore, they convince with a high proportion of zinc, iron, minerals and vitamins. All reasons to enjoy oatmeal in addition to breakfast cereal! In addition, the low price speaks for this meat alternative – compared to tempeh or seitan a welcome bargain!
Never heard of the lupine? Then it is high time! It belongs to the legume family and has an incredible protein content of up to 48 percent. In addition, the lupine contains a number of important minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Lupine protein can be enjoyed in a variety of forms, from schnitzel to cold cuts. In addition, meat substitutes based on lupins are traded as the meat alternative of the future: This makes cultivation very sustainable and possible in Europe.
Another legume that can really make a difference is the chickpea! In addition to its sweet name, it convinces with a great nutritional composition: A high proportion of protein, iron and calcium are just a few good arguments to put the chickpea on the menu more often. It can also be prepared in a variety of ways: whether as a falafel or hummus dip – it always tastes great! The high proportion of fiber also ensures that we stay full for a long time.
Beyond Meat Burger
For all those who want their food to land quickly on their plates: Between July 4th and 6th there is the hyped Beyond Meat Burger from America at Netto on the meat shelf. For everyone who has passed the hype so far: The Beyond Meat Burger is said to be the first plant-based meat substitute that comes very close to beef in terms of taste, color and consistency. The deceptively real color is due to the beetroot it contains. However, it has a lot ahead of the animal original: The Beyond Meat Burger contains more proteins and fewer saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. So if you’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to give plant-based meat alternatives a chance: Here it is!