Best Vegan Steak Recipe

Best Vegan Steak Recipe (Seitan)

Vegan Steak! You will freak when you taste my vegan alternative to steak! Juicy, marinated Seitan steak with a perfect meaty chew! Delicious and easy vegetarian meat recipe!

Ok I’ll admit I used loved a good juicy grilled ribeye steak! (long day ago) But I don’t miss it especially when I have veganized it so well! Yup vegan steak guys! It’s on the menu- And it’s fabulous! Slices like butter. Hard to believe it’s plant based! 

The perfect dinner with with gravy and mashed potatoes or as I like it- with vegan garlic butter, horseradish, baked or roasted potatoes and veggies! Mmm and corn on the Cobb. YUM! Great cut into strips or cubed for stir fries, stews or salads too! So many options 

I wanted to create a great seitan steak recipe as there are no good options to buy them anywhere! And if you can find one they’re pricey. They rarely even have gardein beefless tips stocked in my area and definitely not at any local restaurants!

A crazy good protein rich meal for vegetarians and if you want to impress meat eaters, serve them this! It’ll blow their mind!

The magic happens when these vegan seitan steaks are marinated, fired on the bbq and grilled! OMG so good

What is vegan steak made of and what does it taste like?

This vegetarian steak recipe is made using vital wheat gluten and lentils, not tofu. It has a chew much like beef and the taste is similar as it takes on the flavours of the marinade which is super tasty and 100 % plant based. 

Let’s keep those cows safe and happily grazing in the fields shall we

What is seitan?

Seitan is a vegan meat substitute made using vital wheat gluten. It is sometimes referred to as “wheat meat”

What is vital wheat gluten?

Vital Wheat Gluten is made from wheat. It is made by washing the wheat flour with water until all the starch has been removed. And you are then left with the gluten which must be cooked before eaten.

Best Vegan Steak Recipe

How do you make vegan steak?

For the seitan: First add the ingredients for the seitan steaks in your food processor (except vital wheat gluten) and process until smooth. 

Now add the gluten evenly on top of the wet mix. Process until JUST COMBINED! You do not want to over mix or the steaks could turn out tough.

Turn the dough out onto the counter. Do not kneed the dough! Press into a disc approximately 8-9 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick. Portion the steaks like you would a pie, into 4-6 pieces. Wrap steaks individually in tin foil, wrap loosely to leave room for expansion during steaming.

To cook the raw seitan: Place in your steamer basket (pot) and steam for 30 minutes over medium heat, flipping them halfway through.

While the steaks are steaming make the marinade: Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together until sugar is dissolved. Set aside

When steaks are done, remove from foil packets and place in a shallow dish (I use my glass pie plate) or a large freezer bag. Pour the marinade evenly over the steaks. Marinade for a minimum of one hour or longer (I usually leave mine for 6 hours or overnight for better flavour and texture).

To grill: cook the steaks on your grill pan or bbq over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, to get some good char marks and flavour! basting frequently with the marinade. 

Move to a serving platter and add a little more marinade for added juiciness. Serve and enjoy! For full recipe ingredients and instructions see in this website recipe card below.


juicy and meaty, protein rich and satisfying! fun to make, simple, great for a summer potluck, saucy,

Enjoy guys! Happy day to you! feel free to leave a comment and a rating below. I would love to hear from you.


For the Vegan Steaks:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup canned lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (could sub soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon better than beef vegetarian bouilllon*
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 and 1/3 cups vital wheat gluten

For the marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oil, I use grapeseed oil
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce, I like Wizard’s or Annies
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • pinch of salt and pepper


  1. For the seitan steak: First add the ingredients for the seitan steaks in your food processor (except vital wheat gluten) and process until smooth. 
  2. Now add the gluten evenly on top of the wet mix. Process until JUST COMBINED! You do not want to over mix or the steaks could turn out tough. See step by step photos in above post if necessary
  3. Turn the seitan dough onto the counter. Do not kneed the dough! Press into a disc approximately 8-9 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick. Portion the steaks like you would a pie, into 4-6 pieces. Wrap steaks individually in tin foil, wrap loosely to leave room for expansion during steaming.
  4. To cook the raw seitan: Place in your steamer basket (pot) with lid and steam for 30 minutes over medium heat, flipping them halfway through.
  5. While the steaks are steaming make the marinade: Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together until sugar is dissolved. Set aside
  6. When steaks are done, remove from foil packets and place in a shallow dish (I use my glass pie plate) or a large freezer bag. Pour the marinade evenly over the steaks. Marinade for a minimum of one hour or longer. I usually leave mine for 3-6 hours for better flavour and texture or overnight if I have time.
  7. To grill: cook the steaks on your grill pan or bbq over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, to get some good char marks and flavour! basting frequently with the marinade.
  8. Move to a serving platter and add a little more marinade for added juiciness. Serve and enjoy! I like my steak with a little vegan garlic butter, horseradish sauce for dipping, along side baked or roasted potatoes, corn on the Cobb and green salad or caesar salad maybe some grilled veggies too! SO GOOD! Would make an excellent vegan steak sandwich also! or sliced for stir fries, stews or soups! Lots of tasty options!
The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

A common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they may lack sufficient protein. But vegans can get protein from various plant sources, though some may be better than others.

Many experts agree that a well-planned meatless diet can provide all the nutrients you need, including protein.

That said, certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others, and new and older studies alike suggest that higher protein diets can promote muscle strength, feelings of fullness, and weight loss.

Here are 18 plant foods that contain a high amount of protein per serving.

Benefits and risks of a vegan diet

Plant-based diets have been linked to several health benefits.

Vegan diets may support weight goals, blood pressure, heart health, and more

For starters, vegans tend to have lower body mass indexes (BMI) than non-vegans, which may be associated with lower chronic disease risk in some populations.

In addition, studies suggest that vegan diets are more effective at helping people lose weight than many other diets, including the Mediterranean diet.

A vegan diet has also been linked to a lower risk of cancer. What’s more, it also appears to reduce pain from arthritis and may further reduce your likelihood of experiencing age-related cognitive decline.

Plant-based diets are also linked to several other health benefits, including lower blood pressure, better-regulated blood sugar levels, and a healthier heart.

Because of this, several health organizations recommend increasing the amount of plant-based protein in our diets.

Learn more about potential benefits of plant-based diets in this website

Vegan diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies without careful planning

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vegan diets will be equally beneficial.

While well-planned vegan diets made up of mostly minimally processed foods are considered beneficial for all stages of life, those including large amounts of ultra-processed plant foods are not.

Poorly-planned or highly-processed vegan diets may also increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies, especially in vitamin B12, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and long-chain omega-3s.

Sprouting, fermenting, and cooking foods in cast-iron cookware can further enhance your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients contained in plant foods.

Minimizing your intake of processed plant foods, while increasing your intake of whole or minimally-processed ones can help reduce the risk of experiencing nutrient deficiencies.

Using supplements and fortified foods to bridge any nutritional gaps can also minimize your risk of experiencing ill effects from a vegan diet.

The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

Plant versus animal protein

Protein is made up of chains of molecules known as amino acids.

There are 20 amino acids found in nature that your body can use to build protein. Out of these 20 amino acids, 9 are considered essential, which means that your body cannot produce them itself, so you need to get them from your diet.

The remaining 11 are considered non-essential, as your body can produce them from the 9 essential amino acids.

Animal protein contains all nine essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. Plants also contain all nine essential amino acids — however, besides a few exceptions, most typically offer a limited amount of at least one essential amino acid.

For instance, beans, lentils, peas, and many vegetables tend to contain low amounts of cysteine and methionine. On the other hand, grains, nuts, and seeds tend to be low in lysine.

Because of this, many people refer to plant foods as “incomplete” sources of protein.

However, as long as you eat a variety of plant-based proteins, this shouldn’t pose a problem. You can still get sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids your body needs.

1. Seitan

Seitan is a popular protein source for many vegetarians and vegans.

It’s made from gluten, the main protein in wheat. Unlike many soy-based mock meats, it closely resembles the look and texture of meat when cooked.

Also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten, it contains about 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), making it one of the richest plant protein sources available.

Seitan is also a good source of selenium and contains small amounts of iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

You can find this meat alternative in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores, especially at health food stores. You can also make your own version with vital wheat gluten.

Seitan can be pan-fried, sautéed, and even grilled, making it easy to incorporate into a variety of recipes.

However, because it contains wheat, people with gluten-related disorders should avoid eating seitan.

2. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame all originate from soybeans and are especially popular in East Asian cuisine.

Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide your body all the essential amino acids it needs.

Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled before you eat them. Then, they can be enjoyed on their own or added to soups, salads, sushi, wraps, stir-fries, or rice rolls.

Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Meanwhile, tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans, then pressing them into a block.

Tofu doesn’t have much taste on its own, but it easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it’s prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavor.

Both tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from burgers to soups, stews, curries, and chilis.

All three soy-based proteins contain iron, calcium, and 12–20 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.

Edamame is also rich in folate, vitamin K, and fiber, which can help support digestion and regularity.

On the other hand, tempeh contains probiotics, B vitamins, and minerals, such as magnesium and phosphorus.

3. Lentils

With 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (198 grams), lentils are a great source of protein.

They can be used in a variety of dishes, ranging from fresh salads to hearty soups and spice-infused dahls.

Lentils are also a great source of fiber, providing over half of your recommended daily fiber intake in a single cup (198 grams).

Furthermore, the type of fiber found in lentils has been shown to feed the good bacteria in your colon, which can help promote a healthy gut. Lentils may also reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes, excess body weight, and certain types of cancer.

In addition, lentils are rich in folate, manganese, and iron. They also contain a hearty dose of antioxidants and other health-promoting plant compounds.

Lentils are popular around the globe, and they’re the basis of Indian dishes known as dal or dahl. If you eat South Asian food often, chances are you’re already a fan of lentils.

4. Beans

Kidney, black, pinto, and most other varieties of beans are extremely important staple foods across cultures and contain high amounts of protein per serving.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another type of bean with a high protein content.

Most types of beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (170 grams). They’re also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and several beneficial plant compounds.

Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can help decrease cholesterol levels, manage blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and even reduce belly fat.

Add beans to your diet by making a tasty bowl of homemade chili, or enjoy extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of turmeric on roasted chickpeas.

5. Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, which is sold commercially as a yellow powder or flakes.

It has a cheesy flavor, which makes it a popular ingredient in dishes like mashed potatoes and scrambled tofu.

Nutritional yeast can also be sprinkled on top of pasta dishes or even enjoyed as a savory topping on popcorn.

Half an ounce (16 grams) of this complete source of plant protein provides 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

Fortified nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and all the B vitamins, including vitamin B12.

However, keep in mind that not all types of nutritional yeast are fortified, so be sure to check the label carefully.

6. Spelt and teff

Spelt and teff belong to a category known as ancient grains. Other ancient grains include einkorn, barley, sorghum, and farro.

Spelt is a type of wheat and contains gluten, whereas teff originates from an annual grass, meaning that it’s naturally gluten-free.

Spelt and teff provide 10–11 grams of protein per cooked cup (250 grams), making them higher in protein than other ancient grains.

Both are excellent sources of various nutrients, including complex carbs, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. They also contain B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.

Spelt and teff are versatile alternatives to other grains, such as wheat and rice, and they can be used in many recipes ranging from baked goods to risotto.

In fact, flour made from teff is the key ingredient in injera, a flatbread commonly eaten in East Africa, such as in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan.

7. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is sometimes maligned for belonging to the same family as the cannabis plant.

But hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that produces the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Although hemp seeds aren’t as well-known as other seeds, they contain 9 grams of protein in each 3-tablespoon (30-gram) serving.

Hemp seeds also contain high levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium. What’s more, they’re a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ratio considered optimal for human health.

Interestingly, some studies indicate that the type of fats found in hemp seeds may help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, menopause, and certain skin conditions.

You can add hemp seeds to your diet by sprinkling some in your smoothie or morning muesli. They can also be used in homemade salad dressings, granola, energy balls, or protein bars.

8. Green peas

Green peas contain nearly 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (160 grams), which is slightly more than a cup (237 mL) of dairy milk.

What’s more, a serving of green peas covers more than 25% of your daily fiber, thiamine, folate, manganese, and vitamin A, C, and K needs.

Green peas are also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and several other B vitamins.

You can use peas in recipes such as pea-and-basil-stuffed ravioli, Thai-inspired pea soup, or pea-and-avocado guacamole.

9. Spirulina

This blue-green algae is definitely a nutritional powerhouse.

A 2-tablespoon (14-gram) serving provides 8 grams of complete protein, in addition to covering 22% of your daily requirements for iron and 95% of your daily copper needs.

Spirulina also contains high amounts of magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, potassium, and small amounts of most of the other nutrients your body needs, including essential fatty acids.

According to some test-tube and animal studies, phycocyanin, a natural pigment found in spirulina, also appears to have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

Furthermore, studies link consuming spirulina to health benefits ranging from a stronger immune system and reduced blood pressure to improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Still, we need more human studies before we can draw conclusions on all of spirulina’s health claims.

10. Amaranth and quinoa

Although amaranth and quinoa are often referred to as ancient or gluten-free grains, they don’t grow from grasses like other cereal grains do. For this reason, they’re technically considered pseudocereals.

Nevertheless, similarly to more commonly known grains, they can be prepared or ground into flours.

Amaranth and quinoa provide 8–9 grams of protein per cooked cup (185 grams) and are complete sources of protein, which is uncommon among grains and pseudocereals.

Plus, amaranth and quinoa are good sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.

11. Ezekiel bread and other breads made from sprouted grains

Ezekiel bread is made from organic, sprouted whole grains and legumes. These include wheat, millet, barley, and spelt, as well as soybeans and lentils.

Two slices of Ezekiel bread contain approximately 8 grams of protein, which is slightly more than most other types of bread.

Sprouting grains and legumes increases the number of healthy nutrients they contain and reduces their content of antinutrients, which are compounds that can affect your body’s absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

In addition, studies show that sprouting increases their content of specific amino acids, such as lysine, which can help boost their overall protein quality.

Similarly, combining grains with legumes could further improve the bread’s amino acid profile.

Sprouting also seems to boost the content of soluble fiber, folate, vitamins C and E, and beta carotene. It may also slightly reduce gluten, which can improve digestion among people with gluten-related disorders.

12. Soy milk

Soy milk is made from soybeans and usually fortified with vitamins and minerals. It can be a great alternative to dairy milk for those who avoid dairy.

Not only does it contain 6 grams of protein per cup (244 mL), it’s also an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

You can purchase soy milk in most supermarkets. It’s an incredibly versatile product that you can drink on its own or use in a variety of cooking and baking recipes.

However, keep in mind that soy milk and soybeans do not naturally contain vitamin B12, so I recommend picking a fortified variety.

Additionally, some types may contain added sugar, so it’s best to opt for unsweetened varieties whenever possible.

13. Oats and oatmeal

Eating oats is an easy and delicious way to add protein to any diet.

Half a cup (40 grams) of dry oats provides approximately 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Oats also contain magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate.

Although oats are not considered a complete protein, they do contain higher quality protein than other commonly consumed grains like rice and wheat.

You can use oats in a variety of recipes ranging from oatmeal to veggie burgers. They can also be ground into flour and used for baking.

14. Wild rice

Wild rice contains approximately 1.5 times as much protein as other long-grain rice varieties, including brown rice and basmati.

A cooked cup (164 grams) provides nearly 7 grams of protein, in addition to healthy amounts of fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

Unlike white rice, wild rice is not stripped of its bran. That’s great from a nutritional perspective, as bran contains fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals.

However, this causes concerns about arsenic, which can accumulate in the bran of rice crops grown in polluted areas.

Arsenic is a toxic compound that’s associated with a variety of health problems, especially when consumed regularly over long periods of time.

Washing wild rice before cooking it and using plenty of water to boil it can significantly reduce levels of arsenic, along with other heavy metals like lead and cadmium.

15. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala.

With 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams), chia seeds definitely deserve their spot on the list of top plant-based proteins.

These little seeds contain high levels of iron, calcium, selenium, and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds.

They’re also incredibly versatile, thanks to their mild taste and ability to absorb water and form a gel-like substance.

This quality makes them an easy addition to a variety of recipes, ranging from smoothies to baked goods to chia pudding.

16. Nuts, nut butters, and other seeds

Nuts, seeds, and their derived products are great sources of protein.

One ounce (28 grams) contains 5–7 grams of protein, depending on the variety.

Nuts and seeds are also great sources of fiber and healthy fats, along with iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and certain B vitamins. They likewise contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds.

When choosing which nuts and seeds to buy, keep in mind that blanching and roasting may damage the nutrients in nuts. Therefore, it’s best to reach for raw, unblanched versions whenever possible.

Also, try opting for natural nut butters to avoid the oil, sugar, and excess salt often added to many popular brands.

17. Protein-rich fruits and vegetables

Although all fruits and vegetables contain protein, some contain more than others.

Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, which typically contain 4–5 grams of protein per cooked cup.

Although technically a grain, sweet corn is another common food that contains about as much protein as these high protein vegetables.

Fresh fruits generally have a lower protein content than vegetables. Those containing the most include guava, cherimoyas, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines, and bananas, which have about 2–4 grams of protein per cup.

18. Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein is a non-animal-based protein derived from Fusarium venenatum, which is a type of fungus.

It’s often used to produce meat substitutes, including veggie burgers, patties, cutlets, and fillets.

The nutritional value can range a bit depending on the specific product, but most contain 15–16 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, along with 5–8 grams of fiber.

Although there are concerns about the safety of mycoprotein related to food allergies, research shows that adverse reactions are very rare.

However, keep in mind that some products made with mycoprotein may also contain egg whites, so be sure to check the label carefully if you’re following a vegan diet or avoiding eggs for other reasons, such as food allergies.

The bottom line

Protein deficiencies among vegetarians and vegans are uncommon, especially for those following a healthy, well-planned diet.

Still, some people may be interested in increasing their plant protein intake for a variety of reasons.

This list can be used as a guide for anyone interested in incorporating more plant-based proteins into their diet.

9 Best Vegan Meat Substitutes

9 Best Vegan Meat Substitutes

Not that long ago, if you wanted to create a hearty meal while on a plant-based diet, your only choice was something made of highly processed soy protein.

Today, luckily, there are tons of great protein-packed bases for creating meat substitutes. And even more amazing brands using those bases to create some very tasty and naturally healthy products.

If you’re looking to broaden your horizons in the meatless meat world, we’re here to help.

Below, you’ll find 9 of the best vegan meat substitute bases that can be used to create some seriously deliciously meaty plant-based meals. Plus, we’ll give you our favorite product recommendations from each category so you know which brands are made with your health and taste buds in mind.

9 Best Vegan Meat Substitutes

9 Great Vegan Meat Alternatives

Each of these awesome protein-packed vegan meat substitutes can be used in their most basic form to create recipes from scratch. And many of them are utilized by the growing meat substitute industry to create ready-made products that take less work to prepare.

1. Tempeh

Tempeh is no newbie to the protein-packed plant product world. In fact, this soybean-based product has been used in Indonesia for thousands of years.

It is made by cooking and fermenting whole soybeans and then packing them into a dense block or patty that can be easily sauteed, grilled, or crumbled and doused in barbecue sauce to create some delicious vegan sloppy joes.


  • High in protein
  • High in fiber
  • Some probiotic benefits
  • Dense, chewy meat-like texture
  • Less processed

That soybean base means tempeh has tons of protein to offer and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also loaded with fiber to help keep you regular and contains probiotics thanks to the fermenting it undergoes during creation. And of course, it is loaded with health-supporting isoflavonoids.

Tempeh has a chewy texture and dense consistency that make it great for use in recipes that would normally call for ground beef. It can also be sliced thin and used to create some amazing vegan bacon strips.

Unlike a lot of meat alternatives, tempeh is not overly processed. This means it retains a lot of its natural enzymes and nutrients.


  • Have to prepare it
  • Can be dry and/or bitter
  • May not be gluten-free
  • Contains some fat

Of course, one of the downsides of unprocessed plant-based meat substitutes is that you have to do more work to prepare them. Most tempeh you’ll find at the store doesn’t include marinades or seasoning. Some may have seeds or grains added to the mix before pressing, but this adds more to texture than to flavor and can mean the product isn’t gluten-free.

If you don’t prepare your tempeh correctly, which often requires boiling it first, it won’t absorb the flavors of the dish and you’ll be left with a bitter, bland, or dry final product.

2. Lentils

Lentils are a type of legume prized for their chewy texture and neutral flavor. They make a great unprocessed addition to many meals that normally include meat, such as chili and enchiladas.


  • Rich source of protein
  • Unprocessed
  • Versatile
  • High in fiber

Like other legumes, lentils are naturally high in protein. They are also loaded with fiber which means they can help support healthy digestion and a balanced gut biome.

Legumes are also wonderfully versatile thanks to their neutral flavor. They pair well with a variety of sauces and seasonings. They can be eaten on their own or used in place of ground beef in many recipes.

And, since these tasty beans are completely unprocessed, you know you’re getting all the great vitamins and minerals they have to offer! Plus, they come in a variety of colors, all with slightly different textures and flavors.


  • Can cause gas
  • Low in some amino acids
  • No convincing meaty texture

Fiber is good, if your system can handle it. Lentils, more so than other beans, seem to give some people more digestive trouble and gas. And, despite having tons of protein, they are low in a few essential amino acids, so it’s best to pair them with grains to get everything you need.

While lentils are delicious, they aren’t going to fool anyone into thinking they’re eating meat. So, this meat substitute is best saved for your vegan friends.

3. Beans

Beans come in a wide variety of types, from the old standby black beans, to the texture powerhouses aduki beans and chickpeas. You can use beans to up the protein content of many vegan dishes, like quinoa bowls, or use them as a meat replacement to make your own burger patties.


  • High in protein
  • High in folate
  • Make you feel full
  • Very versatile
  • Unprocessed

All beans are high in protein and many are great sources of folate, or vitamin B9. Folate is turned into folic acid in the body and used to produce and maintain new cells. This vitamin is highly important during pregnancy and something to track closely if you follow a vegan diet.

Beans also have plenty of insoluble and soluble fiber to make you feel full. Plus, they are super versatile given how many different types of beans there are. Some lend themselves well to being squished up and made into vegan burgers, while others are chewy enough to mimic chicken in chicken salad, and some can be prepared to take the place of ground beef in many traditional meals.


  • Low in some amino acids
  • No convincing meaty texture

Like lentils, beans are also low in certain amino acids. Preparing your beans with grains like rice or pasta, fills in the nutritional gaps nicely, however. But, no matter how you prepare them or which type you use, you aren’t likely to convince anyone they’re eating an animal-based meal.

4. Tofu

Like tempeh, tofu is a soy-based meat replacement that has been around for thousands of years. But instead of using whole soybeans, this product is made by curdling soy milk and pressing it into a block. This gives it a unique texture as far as “meat” goes, but also makes it incredibly versatile.


  • Low calorie
  • High protein content
  • Multiple uses
  • Different types

Compared to tempeh, tofu is lower in calories but still packs a ton of plant-based protein and many vital minerals and vitamins. It is also lower in fat and a great meat alternative for those trying to cut their calorie intake.

And because tofu comes in five different varieties from soft silken to dense super-firm, it can be used in a variety of situations. Silken tofu, for instance, makes a wonderfully convincing egg replacement for morning scrambles and breakfast burritos. Meanwhile, firm tofu can be cut to shape and flavored to mimic chicken, steak, ground pork, and more.


  • Requires some prep work
  • Can be difficult to work with
  • Has a bland flavor if not seasoned correctly

Of course, like other minimally processed non-meat options, tofu will require more work on your part. To get it to taste like a well-marinated or spiced piece of meat, you have to press the block to remove the water. Then you must prepare and cook it right so it absorbs enough flavors.

And because of all the different types available, it can be tough to find the right one for your needs and it can take some practice to learn how to work with it.

5. Mycoprotein

Maybe the least well-known of the meat substitutes, mycoprotein is starting to catch on in many vegan circles. Made from Fusarium venenatum, a naturally occurring fungus, this plant meat is much tastier than it sounds.


  • Loaded with nutrients
  • Great source of protein
  • Very convincing meat-like texture
  • Less processed than many commercial meat substitutes
  • Ready to cook

This special fungus is loaded with nutrients, including zinc and vitamin D, and has more protein per gram than chicken. But it takes far fewer resources to grow than livestock.

Most impressively, mycoprotein has a very meat-like texture and can be easily manipulated to replicate beef, chicken, sausage, and many other meat products. Despite this, it is less processed than many commercial meat substitute products.


  • Not all options are vegan
  • A little pricey
  • Not always easy to find

Currently, there is only one brand of mycoprotein-containing vegetarian products on the market, Quorn. And unfortunately, many of their products contain egg whites as a binder. But, they are slowly expanding their vegan product options.

Even still, these products can be a bit pricey and aren’t available at all grocery stores yet.

6. Seitan

Seitan was first created by Buddhist monks back in the 7th century. Then, it was made by soaking wheat dough in water to isolate the protein, or vital wheat gluten. Today, this product can be made at home in much the same way, but is much more often processed in large commercial facilities and pressed into a variety of shapes to imitate real meat.


  • High in vegetable protein
  • Available in many varieties
  • Chewy meat-like texture
  • Many products require little prep

Seitan is made by washing away the starch in wheat, producing a product that is low in fat and carbs, and high in protein. This vital wheat gluten product has a chewy texture that very much resembles chicken or beef.

Many seitan products that you’ll find at the store have been pre-flavored and come in a number of different varieties to make your food prep super simple. You can also buy plain seitan and marinate it yourself.


  • Contains gluten
  • Not a complete protein
  • Many products are overprocessed

If you are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, then seitan is not for you. Even if you tolerate gluten well, it’s best not to eat this product every day as you could develop an allergy. This is especially true if you eat highly processed seitan products.

It is also worth noting that seitan is not a complete protein. Like beans, it is low in a few essential amino acids. Luckily, though, the ones it’s low in happen to be the ones beans have plenty of. This means that if you pair your seitan with legumes, you’ll get everything you need in one meal.

7. Jackfruit

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit grown in Asia, South America, and Africa. It is the largest fruit in the world and can grow up to 40 pounds. While very ripe jackfruit is somewhat sweet, less ripe varieties have a bland taste that pairs well with savory sauces.


  • Has a stringy texture like pulled pork
  • Loaded with nutrients and phytochemicals
  • Low in calories
  • Not overly processed

Jackfruit is mostly made up of fiber and starch, which means it’s a fairly low-calorie meat substitute option. It has a naturally stringy texture with some chunky bits that allow it to perfectly imitate pulled pork. It’s also great for tacos and carnitas.

Because it comes by its meaty texture naturally, there’s no reason to over-process it, which means a lot of commercial jackfruit products are better for you than other fake meat options. Many retain all the great nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that make the fruit part of a healthy diet.


  • Low in protein
  • Texture can be off-putting
  • Use caution if you have certain allergies

One thing jackfruit doesn’t have that most other plant-based meats do is protein. Like other fruits, jackfruit contains some protein, but not a ton. Therefore, this is only a good meat substitute in terms of texture, not macronutrient profile.

While that texture is pretty dead-on for pulled or shredded pork, many find it off-putting once they learn it’s actually from a plant. Whether you like the texture or not you may want to avoid this meat fruit if you have a latex or birch pollen allergy as cross-reactions have been known to happen.

8. Pea Protein

Pea protein is a very useful product for those looking to ditch whey, casein, and other animal product-based protein powders. It’s also becoming more and more popular as a base in meat substitutes.


  • High in protein
  • Soy and gluten-free
  • Can be used to replicate many meaty textures
  • Little preparation required

Pea protein naturally has a neutral flavor that can be mixed with a host of other ingredients to create all kinds of meat substitute products. Many of these creations are also gluten and soy-free which means more people can enjoy them.

Because pea protein isolate is made by washing away the starch in peas, it offers tons of protein without a lot of extra calories.


  • Included in many highly processed products
  • Many products are high in sodium
  • Best as an occasional indulgence

Because pea protein takes a ton of processing to resemble meat, it isn’t the best substitute to use as a daily indulgence. That processing often includes a ton of less-than-natural binders and fillers and an unhealthy heaping of sodium.

9. Soy Protein

Unlike tofu and tempeh, soy protein found in many plant-based alternatives is created by processing soy to wash away the starch. What is left is highly useful soy protein isolate.


  • Very high in protein
  • Can be used in a variety of recipes
  • Little preparation required

Much like pea protein, soy protein can be processed in a number of ways to imitate various meat products. It is often mixed with other ingredients and pressed into a mold to look and taste like anything from chicken to ground beef.

Most products that contain soy protein are ready to heat and already bursting with flavor, which makes the prep process a breeze.


  • Highly processed
  • May be high in sodium
  • Best as an occasional indulgence

Soy protein shares many of the same pitfalls as pea protein. These products are often highly processed and contain a lot of salt to add flavor. Products that aren’t all-natural may also contain artificial flavors and colors, as well as synthetic binders.

While these products may taste amazing and do a great job imitating meat, they are best saved for special occasions rather than representing a part of your daily diet.

Make Your Own Vegan Ground Beef

The easiest meat substitutes to work with from our list above are tempeh and tofu. Each can be used interchangeably in many recipes to make seriously delicious and healthy meat substitutes right at home.

One of our favorite recipes using these soy products is this awesomely easy plant-based ground beef.