Any trip to the humble supermarket and you’ll see the number of plant-based products continuing to multiply on shelves. Vegetarians, vegans, and even curious carnivores, are switching up their eating habits to support a more contemporary and considered lifestyle, but if you are an absolute beginner, consider this list your first helping hand.
Future Farm Nutritionist and Plant-Based Expert, Rebecca Gawthorne, has shared below the ten best meat alternatives every vegetarian and vegan should know, before next filling up their shopping cart.
- Tofu – also known as bean curd, tofu is a versatile meat alternative made from condensed soy milk pressed into solid blocks. Tofu comes in different grades of firmness from silken to extra firm and will take on the flavour of whatever it’s seasoned or cooked with. With 12 grams of protein per 100 grams, tofu can replace meat in stir fries, grills and salads and can even be added to smoothies or desserts for a more texture rich finish.
- Plant-based Mince – oftentimes made with protein rich ingredients such as chickpeas, soybeans, legumes, plant-based mince is an excellent meat alternative for vegans and vegetarians in helping to meet their macronutrient intake. Something to replace the mince in much-loved dishes like nachos, spag bol, lasagne, brands like Future Farm who have just launched their mince in Australian supermarkets. Replicating the taste and texture of real ground beef mince, Future Mince is made of 100% natural ingredients. The hero ingredients of this beef alternative include chickpeas, soy, peas, beetroot and coconut.
- Tempeh – not to be confused with tofu, tempeh is also a soy product, but made from cooked and fermented whole soybeans. Tempeh is a great source of protein (~19 grams per 100gram serve), as well as prebiotics and minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium, and it is low in sodium. If you haven’t tried tempeh before, it has a mildly earthy taste, hearty chewy texture and can readily take on the flavour of nearly any dish which makes it a great replacement for meat in stir-fries, bakes, soups and grills.
- Lentils – rich in essential nutrients including protein (~7 grams of protein per 100 gram serve), dietary fibre, and a range of vitamins and minerals, lentils are a healthy and cost-effective plant-based alternative to meat. Lentils come in several varieties including yellow, red, green and French, and with their earthy nutty flavour can be used in soups, curries, burgers, salads and as a filling side dish.
- Plant-based Meatballs – tender, juicy and full of flavour, meatballs, specifically Future Meatballs are a great plant-based alternative to the traditional with 14 grams of protein per serve. Made from naturally protein-rich ingredients like soy, peas and chickpeas and no artificial colours, flavours or GMOs, Future Meatballs are a premium and nutritious replacement for vegans and vegetarians (or anyone looking to cut down their meat consumption) that can be enjoyed in spaghetti, with potatoes and on meatball subs.
- Black Beans – although slightly less protein (~6.5 grams per 100 gram serve) then some other plant-based meat alternatives, black beans are still a good meat alternative for vegans and vegetarians, especially when combined with another plant-based protein source. Black beans also contain fibre and minerals like iron, and can be enjoyed in salads, burger patties, tacos and more.
- Seitan – made from gluten, the main protein in wheat, seitan has a meaty texture and can be used in stir-fry’s, bakes, on a sandwich in place of deli meat, and added to salads or tacos. While high in protein (an incredible 75 grams per 100 gram serve), seitan can be high in sodium and as it contains gluten, it’s not suitable for those with coeliacs disease.
- Plant-based Burgers – made from protein rich ingredients like your chickpeas, peas, and soybeans, plant-based burger patties mean vegans and vegetarians can still make their big macs from home. The Future Burger in particular tends to leave even meat eaters stunned by its likeness to meat. With 16 grams of protein per serve, Future Burgers also have the lowest sodium on the market, which is a big win for plant-based meat alternatives.
- Peas – a source of protein, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals, peas can be used as a plant-based meat alternative for vegans and vegetarians. With 6.6 grams of protein per serve, peas are best combined with another plant-based protein source when replacing meat, but can be eaten whole, sautéed, added to curries, or tossed through salads and pasta.
- Chickpeas – also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a small yet nutritious legume that contains protein, fibre and essential minerals. With a similar protein content to peas, they are best consumed in combination with another plant protein source when replacing meat and can be used within salads, soups, casseroles, curries, made into falafels and burgers, and eaten whole as a side dish.
Whoever told you, you couldn’t make friends with ‘salad’? Add some more plant-based produce to your pantry today by treating your tastebuds to one of the above meat substitutes. Happy cooking!
Rebecca Gawthrone, Future Farm Nutritionist and Founder of Nourish Naturally, is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and a member of the Dietitians Association of Australia.
ABOUT FUTURE FARM
Changing the way people eat meat around the world, to ensure a better future for people, animals and the entire ecosystem of planet earth: this is the mission Future Farm is founded on. Future Farm is an international food tech company that uses natural, non-GMO products to create the best plant-based meat, Future Farm’s innovative approach allows them to produce food that has the same taste, texture and juiciness as meat without harming animals or the planet. After launching in Brazil in 2019, Future Farm began an expansion process in Europe and the United Arab Emirates in 2021 and today its products are available in 28 countries worldwide. To date, Future Farm has sold more than 12 million pieces of its products worldwide.
The ‘Future Burger’, minced meat, and meatballs have only natural, gluten-free and GMO-free ingredients, such as peas, soy, chickpeas, and beetroot powder. Future Farm was the first brand in Brazil to receive the Fast Company 2020 World Changing Award, which is given to companies and organisations driving change in the world. Future Farm has started the process to become a B Corp and has received the following certifications: FDA certification (Food & Drug Administration); BRC Audit (global standard assessment for retailers) with the highest AA + FSMA score; RTRS (certification for soy production, processes and trading – This is an international initiative that brings together soy producers, retailers and processors, as well as banks and social organisations, in order to encourage responsible soy cultivation worldwide and the social responsibility of this sector); Kosher certification issued by OU (Union of Horthodox Jewish Congregations of America) for the following products: Future Burger, Future Meat Balls, and Future Mince. It also uses only responsibly produced coconut fat and canola oil; certified vegan ingredients and sustainable packaging.
Future Farm is excited to announce the Future Burger is now carbon neutral. A plant-based diet has always had a smaller environmental footprint than a meat-based one, but we are taking our commitment to the next level by measuring, offsetting and reducing our carbon impact. Whenever you buy a Future Burger, in any of our 28 countries currently stocked with the range, 100% of the carbon emissions (from growing the crops to disposal at your house) are offset by Climate Partner. What’s more, we are specifically offsetting by preventing Amazon deforestation in our home country of Brazil.