Whether you are newly vegan, or have been vegan for awhile and are just trying to find new things to try, there are plenty of meat alternatives available on the market today. Many of these items can be found at specialty health food stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joes, while some of your local grocery stores might also carry a few of the products. We’ve even had some luck in the Nature’s Market at Kroger and sometimes Meijer, though their selection is much smaller in comparison to stores like Whole Foods. This list includes 15 of the best vegan meat alternatives around!
1.) Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips (Southwest Style)
Out of all of the vegan meat substitutes I have tried, this one is by far the best! Beyond Meat’s Chicken-Free strips are the closest vegan product resembling actual chicken that I have found to date. Unlike other meat free chicken products, the texture is not flubbery or off-putting, it is very similar to chicken but made from 100% plant protein. Easy to shred, easy to cook and easy to devour, these chicken-free strips smell and taste delicious! Offered in three different flavors (Lightly Seasoned, Grilled, and Southwest Style), the latter has quickly become my personal favorite and a staple in our kitchen. Grilled with a chipotle lime blend of spices, these Southwest strips taste great in tacos and enchiladas. They also make a mean barbeque “chicken” sandwich. We’ve also tried them in vegan chicken noodle soup, which is great on a cold winter’s day. Yum! You name it, and these chicken-free strips will help you make it! Filled with 20 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving, you’ll no longer have to worry about those pesky carnivores nagging you about your dietary choices. “Durr, But how do you get enough protein?” Beyond Meat’s got you covered!
2.) Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage Links
Field Roast offers a number of great meat alternatives but my absolute favorite is their smoked apple sage sausage links. A savory combination of apples and sage, also featuring yukon gold potatoes and a subtle hint of hickory smoke, these links will disappear from your refrigerator faster than you can say Field Roast! They crisp up nicely on the George Foreman grill and taste amazing wrapped up in a bun with some sauerkraut, onions, ketchup, and mustard, or even just on their own. They also taste great as sausage gravy in biscuits and gravy. Our favorite way to use these little links of heaven is to create “fruffalo wings” (a vegan take on buffalo wings). Cut up into chunks and breaded in Panko crumbs, these sausage links can be fried and then topped with some homemade buffalo sauce for a delightful treat! Great for Super Bowl Sunday, or just because. Either way, we just can’t get enough of these sausages! It seems we are constantly making weekly trips to our Local Whole Foods Market across town to re-stock our supply.
3.) Field Roast Celebration Roast
Back when I used to eat meat I never cared for traditional Thanksgiving food like turkey or stuffing, but after becoming vegan I can honestly say that I now look forward to Thanksgiving for one reason, Field Roast’s Celebration Roast. This vegan roast is a must have for any family feast or holiday gathering. It also makes a great meal for two, on nights when you want to splurge and have a romantic dinner at home. Even my relatives that are strictly meat and potato types had to have a second helping of this vegan delight. This roast is made from grain “meat” and filled with a rich and savory sausage-style stuffing featuring fresh cut butternut squash, mushrooms, and granny smith apples. Seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and sage and then rubbed in garlic, sage, and lemon juice, this roast is perfect for any occasion, packed with flavor and simple to make. We usually rub a little olive oil on top before baking. Available in both 1 and 2 Ibs. Its just not a celebration without this roast!
4.) Peppered Tofurkey Deli Slices
These peppered “turkey” deli slices by Tofurkey should be the main attraction for lunchtime! Made from the finest peppercorn, these zesty vegan slices taste great in a sandwich or stacked high alongside your favorite toppings inside a sub. Smothered with vegan Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut, they also make some of the best reubens you’ll ever taste! Filled with protein, these slices are ideal for a quick lunch when you’re on the go.
5.) Boca Spicy Chik’n Patties
These spicy Chik’n patties are to die for! Crispy and packed with flavor, they go great with a little bit of vegan mayo, ketchup, and mustard on a bun. Personally, my favorite lunch when I’m in a hurry is one of these patties as a sandwich served with a side of sweet potato waffle fries. Delicious! Not only are these patties a good source of protein and iron, they are easy to make. Just pop one in the oven for 15 minutes, top with your favorite vegan condiments and enjoy!
6.) Field Roast Italian Sausage Links
Another one of my favorite meat substitutes from Field Roast are their italian sausage links. Made with fresh eggplant and packed with fennel, red wine, garlic and sweet peppers, these sausage links taste great by themselves or as a hotdog. My fiance’ makes some delicious spaghetti sauce by chopping them up and combining them with her favorite herbs and spices.
7.) Boca Ground Crumbles
If you are looking for versatile ground meatless crumbles then look no further than Boca. Made from soy protein and wheat gluten, these crumbles can easily be transformed into any of your favorite vegan dishes, to make a well rounded meal. Boca Ground Crumbles are another staple in our house and I often use them to make sloppy joes, chili, tacos, spaghetti sauce, etc. They will really work for just about any meal your in the mood for. My fiance’ sauteed some of these crumbles up in a pan last night with some spaghetti sauce and crumbled up some tofu as a ricotta substitute to make the best vegan lasagna I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. If you’re not sure what to make for dinner, buy a bag of Boca. You simply can’t go wrong with these tasty little crumbles!
8.) Yves Meatless Pepperoni
If you are in the mood for vegan pizza then look no further than Yves Meatless Pepperoni. These vegan pepperoni slices are fairly inexpensive and taste great, which makes them a choice ingredient for pizza night. These slices have the great taste of regular pepperoni but without any of the fat, cholesterol or preservatives. Each container of Yves has about 25 slices of pepperoni and is sure to leave you wanting more!
9.) Lightlife Vegetarian Smart Bacon Strips
Whether you’re enjoying a slice of this vegan bacon with your pancakes or alongside a lovely tofu scramble, these vegan slices bring that hearty bacon taste into your vegan world. The best part? Being able to chow down, guilt free. Smart Bacon tastes great on top of your favorite vegan burger, or in a vegan BLT. Being low in saturated fat and naturally cholesterol free, these bacon strips might take awhile to get used to since their texture is a bit different, but once you become accustomed to them you won’t want to do breakfast without them.
10.) Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
You’ve never had chicken tenders like this before! Gardein’s Seven Grain Crispy Tenders are by far the best vegan tenders I’ve ever eaten. There’s nothing better than enjoying a guilt free meal, and these delightful tenders are sure to satisfy your hunger. I just can’t get enough of that crispy, flaky seven grain crust. Absolutely delightful. Dip in barbeque sauce and you’re ready to go! Enjoy.
11.) Trader Joes Meatless Meatballs
If you are looking for the perfect meatless meatball to top your heaping plate of spaghetti then Trader Joes is your best bet. Their meatless meatballs are absolutely amazing! They can be found in the freezer section. Not only do they taste great in any pasta dish, they are also superb topped with some Teese or Daiya Mozzarella Shreds in a meatball sub. Throw these babies in your favorite sauce or sandwich and chow down.
12.) Viana Cowgirl Veggie Steaks
These meatless steaks are filled with tons of vegetable protein and taste great alongside some mashed potatoes and vegan gravy. Fry them in a pan, and they’re ready to eat in just five minutes. These steaks can be found online at Viana’s website, or at specialty stores. We were able to find them in the vegan freezer section at Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. Although they cost a little more than I’d like to admit, they are great for that special occasion or romantic dinner for two.
13.) Gardein Chick’n Sliders
If you are a fan of vegan chicken, then these sliders from Gardein are definitely something to try! Simple to prepare, and easy to dress up with your favorite condiments, these meatless sliders make the perfect meal or snack when you’re in a hurry or just don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into cooking.
14.) Beyond Meat Beef-Free Crumbles (Feisty)
While I’m still trying to get used to the texture of these beef-less crumbles, I have to say that its probably only because I expected a lot more from Beyond Meat after they perfected their Chicken-less strips to taste and feel like real chicken. With their beef-free crumbles being their newer product on the market I’ve only tried them once but have to say that they weren’t the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. Although I prefer Boca’s Meatless Crumbles in comparison, these Feisty crumbles could give Boca a run for their money and are definitely still one of the better “beef” substitutes I’ve had. We tried them in tacos and sloppy joes. The flavor was pretty tasty and they come in a re-sealable bag, which makes cooking the crumbles easy as pie, its just the texture I’m still trying to become accustomed to, but who knows? Maybe once I eat them a few more times they will become my new favorite. In any case, they are definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a good ground beef substitute.
15.) Gardein Szeuchuan Beefless Strips
These beefless tips from Gardein are packed with a szeuchuan flavor you’ll quickly fall in love with. They make the perfect meat substitute for any Asian dish, alongside noodles, stir-fried veggies, or rice. Seasoned with molasses, organic cane sugar, soy sauce, miso paste, garlic, onion powder, and plum, these beef-less tips are sure to satisfy your taste buds and keep you coming back for more.