What to substitute with what for MAXIMUM MeEGAN POWER! wot wot
There has never been an easier time to be mostly vegan than there is now – and its only going to get better. See suggestions below.
This is because nowadays there is pretty much a really good substitute for every kind of animal product out there – except I would say, cheese and bacon. Sorry, but its true! Ha ha for me anyway! Of course this is just a subjective thing and some people may hate all vegan burgers or chicken substitutes. But I would say in terms of texture and flavour, everything can be substituted in one way or another. And remember you can still eat as much junk food as you like – chips and lots of plant based products are still not that healthy!
AND THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING MeEGAN is you can eat all those things that are only just not vegan with 3% egg or milk binding in them, like broccoli.
Just kidding. But in general this is not a problem for a MeEGAN, cause 3% is mostly vegan right? [although it would be even better if there were purely vegan options of these – as there are increasingly I believe eg: quorn chunks]
So experiment a bit and find what suits you – and remember, it gets easier over time and your taste buds change so that what you can’t stand now may seem delicious in 6 months (for me this happened with nut roast), so keep trying and re-trying things out as you go.
Here is a list of some of the best ones I can think if – feel free to contact me to suggest more – also watch this brief video to give you some more ideas:
NOTE: this section is UK focused – but there should be local equivalents that you can find easily.
BEEF – as I said on the How MeEGAN page I find beef burgers very greasy and heavy now and actually prefer a good vegan one – and there are loads on the market nowadays at very reasonable prices. And lets be honest, how often do you actually notice the beef in a beef burger? Not often, it mostly tastes of what ever you dress it with. So why not have a healthy plant based patty in the middle? There are of course Seitan substitutes for steaks and roast beefs and plenty of fake mince beef options out there. Using vegan mince is a bit like the burger issue – if its in a sauce, like a bolognese, its mainly a texture thing with plenty of flavour coming from the sauce. Here is my top 3 beef substitutes: 1) No-bull burger from Iceland; 2) Wheaty’s seitan Virginia steaks; 3) no-bull or Quorn mince. At first I recommend trying something new out every week until you find your favourite.
CHICKEN – for me, chicken has been one of the easier ones to substitute, with good options available in chunks, nuggets and burgers. Chicken without the skin or seasoning, again, I think has a very mild flavour, so its easy to find a texture substitute and cover that with the same flavourings that you normally like. Here are my top 3 fake-chicken products: 1) Quorn chunks; 2) Quorn Southern Fried (Spicey) burger; 3) Baked marinaded tofu (lovely in stir fries). There are literally hundreds of great chicken-substitute recipes on the internet, including buffalo wings – just spend some time looking a few up and trying them. It does take time, but it’s worth it when you find the right one for you.
PORK – although I think, if we’re totally honest, there is no good substitute for bacon, there are work-arounds (see later). In terms of general pork substitutes though, try these: 1) Quorn Gammon steaks; 2) Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian sausage rolls (and also the vegan Gregg’s version); 3) Linda McCartney’s vegan sausages or Iceland’s no-porkies sausages. It’s actually not too difficult to make a really satisfying vegan fry up if you find the vegan sausages or sausage rolls you like (see below) – still greasy, but better for the planet… and the pigs… and you BTW.
MILK – milk substitutes are a great example of how taste buds can adapt. It takes a while, but you can actually come to prefer soya or oat milk in coffee. Here are my favourites: 1) Soya milk in tea and coffee; 2) Almond milk on my cereal; 3) Oat milk in anything that needs something rich. There is even a barista grade oat drink on the market – but its quite pricey, but may be worth it at firsts at least.EGGS – you can either check this link for great egg substitutes or you can make sure they are cruelty free by buying eggs produced by your own hens or from a local non intensive poultry farm. Unfortunately lots of products still use like 3% eggs or milk as a binding agent so this may stop your meal from being totally vegan. And of course, 2 eggs a week at the weekend is better than an egg every day, so keep it for a treat at the weekend maybe.
CHEESE – this is going to be a hard for a lot of people and an easy one for others. This may be one of the things you keep the longest. There are some great cheese substitutes out there in terms of texture and cooking application – eg. melty-fake-cheese for pizzas. However in my opinion the taste is still not there. You can get replacements for most kinds of cheese, like feta and blue cheese and here are some of my faves: 1) Sheeze vegan cheddar style with jalapeno and chilli; 2) Violife non-dairy soft cheese; 3) Miyoko’s Vegan Mozz.
FISH and SEAFOOD – there are an increasing number of ready made products out there to help, including this great “vegan tuna” recipe I love – its like maaagic! One option here is to just give up fish and keep other seafood on the menu, maybe justifying this by suggesting mussels and shellfish are less capable of feeling pain. Harder to do for squid or octopus, but start with fish and then work your way up to cutting down or completely cutting out the others. Here’s my top 3 fish substitutes: 1) Quorn Vegan Fish Fingers; 2) Vivera Veggie ‘Fish’ Goujons; 3) Tesco meat free fishless fishcakes.
BACON & FRY UPS – this is a tough one, but it depends what you are using your bacon for. I went through a phase of using it only for hangover cures at the weekend to soak up that alcohol. Then I found out that Linda McCartney’s Sausage Rolls are greasy enough to take that role on. So I usually have 3 of those with chips and beans (sometimes and egg too – ooooh naughty) for a really good fry up substitute. I do think that Quorn gammon steaks have a slight bacony tang to them as do No-Bull burgers and No-porky sausages (loving the humour Iceland – thanks) – so maybe put them in your fry up instead.
ROAST DINNERS – lets face it, a lot of a roast dinner is the roast vegetables. So just try and find yourself a meat-substitute that makes your meal feel meaty without the meat in (if that makes sense). Some suggestions are to have a vegan burger instead of beef, try some baked marinaded tofu instead of chicken or even get a vegan pie or sausage roll to have with your Sunday treat. Of course there is the classic vegan nut roast and I have gone from hating them, to actually finding them OK now (covered in vegan gravy obvs).
OTHER MEATS – so if you are really into your lamb, or duck or ostrich, then maybe you are only having it very rarely. In which case this could be one of the things you keep in your diet, but only have one a fortnight as a treat. If I end up in a non-vegan or vegetarian curry house when travelling or visiting friends I do sometimes treat myself to a lamb rogan-josh (about 3 times a year maybe – I know, I am pure evil right!).
BEANS, NUTS, SEEDS, FRUITS and VEGGIES– or you could just give up on finding one-for-one substitutes and get into your classic unprocessed protein substitute of beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies. Just a little bit more effort involved, but do some online research and you’ll have good substitute recipes which use these instead of animal products in no time.
The overriding theme and TOP TIP here is that in almost all cases you should be able to find an, if not ideal, then an acceptable substitute for every kind of animal product food there is. And if you really can’t, then keep eating it if you want, but maybe try and reduce how much you eat of it and how often and make sure its as healthy, environmentally friendly and as cruelty free as possible. No one is judging you here at Mostly Vegan – just do your best, but don’t kid yourself, REALLY TRY HARD cause it is important. Good luck!
Next page to read if you are doing this in sequence is WHEN MeEGAN.