Wednesday, June 27, 2018

5 Meat Alternatives for Veggies

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Being vegan or vegetarian does not mean sustaining yourself purely on fruit and vegetables. In fact, the meat-free diet is quite popular these days and meat alternatives are much easier to come across than they were many years ago. What’s more, there are advantages to having a veggie diet.
The obvious one that jumps to mind is a reduction in animal cruelty. Of course, if you can guarantee your meat is free range and your fish has been caught sustainably, then that is better, but at the end of the day, saving animals’ lives would be the ideal. There are also proven health benefits to vegetarianism and veganism such as better resistance to disease. So, what is out there to replace meat?

1) Beans and Pulses
You don’t need to go out of your way to find protein substitutes. Beans and pulses naturally count as 1 of your 5 a day and are a great source of protein. However it’s not just beans on toast that’s a meal option, but so much more. Whether you fancy a stew, a bean burger just as good as beef, or a salad, there’s plenty of choices here.

2) Cheese
Some cheeses act as a perfect meat alternative. There’s a reason the likes of paneer and halloumi are frequently featured on menus these days. They allow for versatile cooking - frying, sautéing and grilling are all possible options - and you’re set in terms of protein as well. For example, paneer contains 18 grams of protein per 100 grams. Once covered in a fragrant curry sauce or salad dressing, you won’t notice the difference.

3) Tofu
Tofu always springs to mind when it comes to vegetarian dishes, but there seems to be a negative impression that it is bland and chewy. So what actually is it and how can we make it more interesting? Tofu is essentially soya milk curd, as in the milk from soya beans after it has been curdled. Therefore, tofu contains lots of protein from the soya beans. The overarching opinion seems to be that the texture is rubbery, but the trick is in the cooking: frying tofu until golden brown and crispy will improve the texture and its capacity to soak up delicious sauces and marinades is second to none.

4) Seitan
If you’re really struggling with the thought of no meat, there are veggie versions of meat out there. Believe it or not, the likes of vegan chicken do exist. It’s not just Quorn at the supermarket though. There’s a few alternatives sneaking onto the market. This includes Seitan, or processed wheat gluten, and it has one of the closest textures to meat.

5) Eggs
For a protein alternative to meat, don’t forget something that is probably on your weekly shopping list anyway: eggs. Eggs lend themselves to a variety of dishes, whether those are omelettes, salads or a stir-fry. The solution may have been in your cupboard the whole time!
Transforming your diet to a vegetarian or vegan one doesn’t have to be as restricting as you might think. There are lots of options out there and not only are they easy to get your hands on, they're also a chance to get creative with cooking.

Picture via Pixabay

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