Veggie Versions of Your Favorite Meaty Foods
Veggie meals without giving up your favorite foods? Yup! Here are some amazing meatless recipes for dishes that usually include meat.
Sure, they may have meat in the name, but vegetarian versions of meatballs can be just as tasty as traditional ones—and maybe even more! You'll find an overload of recipes online, with a dizzying number of different ingredients, but many of the best use mushrooms and black beans as the base. Then add in plenty of seasoning to give them some zest, such as oregano, chili flakes, cilantro, basil, and garlic.
You may have tried a few veggie burgers here and there, and maybe given them mixed reviews. All veggie burgers are not equal; many don't match the taste of the real deal. But there is plant-based meat that comes pretty darn close. Two brands that make arguably the most meat-like burgers are Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger. The Impossible Burger is made mostly of soy, and the Beyond Burger uses pea protein to simulate the texture and taste of meat.
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Fake bacon has been with us for a long time. And maybe you've chomped down on a strip that has the taste and consistency of old cardboard. But those days are in the past. And you don't need to have a specialty store nearby—Amazon will deliver meatless bacon to you! Most brands are made with pea or soy protein, plus potato or wheat, and flavored with garlic, onion, and paprika.
Traditionally tacos have ground beef as their main ingredient. But there's no law that says you can't load a variety of tasty meat-free ingredients into a tortilla. Tempeh, tofu, and the meat-substitute seitan make wonderful replacements for meat. Lentils have long been used as a substitute for meat in dishes of all flavors and are especially good as a taco filling when spiced with chili and lime. Also consider seeds and nuts. A spicy mix of chopped walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds topped with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole creates awesome tacos.
Sure, lasagna doesn't always have to have meat. There are lots of great cheese lasagna recipes out there. But for a texture that gives you a meat-like sensation consider mushrooms: Shitake, Crimini, Portobello, Chanterelle, and more. The more different types of mushrooms in the mix the better! Sliced and sauteed in butter with lemon, garlic, and herbs, mushrooms can add flavor and textured balance to cheese and pasta that won't make you miss the meat.
Tofu Burrito Bowl
Burrito bowls often come loaded with chicken. But why not switch out the chicken for some crispy tofu? The most-popular bowls are already vegetable-heavy, with tomatoes, roasted yellow corn, black beans, cilantro, and avocado (yes, technically a fruit). Cut the tofu into cubes, toss them in some chili powder and pan-fry them in olive oil until browned. That zesty tofu can compete with chicken any day!
Vegetable Pad Thai
You'll often find shrimp in Pad Thai, though chicken is almost as popular. And sure, Pad Thai has a pretty solid meatless history with tofu. But for a dish with a bit more variety consider a medley of vegetables. Grill some mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, and red bell peppers for a delicious combo that doesn't need meat.
Meat-lovers may scoff at the very notion of meatless chili—until they taste it done right. Using two kinds of beans, kidney and black beans, gives you a great base of protein. Balance those beans with a mix of vegetables including corn, carrots, onions, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. And of course, all good chili relies on a good spice blend, often made with cayenne pepper, chili powder, oregano, paprika, and garlic powder.
When making a sandwich your first instinct may be to reach for some lunchmeat. But you can load veggies on slices of bread too. Which work best? That depends on your palate, but some awesome picks beyond lettuce and tomato include cucumbers, sprouts, peppers, eggplant, and pickled radishes. Coleslaw and melted Swiss on a French roll? Mmm. How about cauliflower grilled in buffalo wing sauce and creamy blue cheese? There are so many wonderful ways to go with veggie sandwiches.
Soft corn tortillas that are usually filled with chicken, cheese, and vegetables, enchiladas have migrated from Mexico to gain enormous popularity across America. But instead of chicken consider stuffing these delicious wraps with chopped spinach, plus maybe some mushrooms and diced eggplant, and you won't think twice about the missing chicken.
Meatless meals can be wonderful! So why not try out a few of these vegetarian recipes and see if your favorite foods really need the meat?
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.