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Vegetable meat what are the best meat substitutes?

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

Animal meat and vegetable meat, which one to choose?

Generally our diet is based on the consumption of fruits and vegetables accompanied by proteins and carbohydrates, but in most cases meat has an important weight in the menu of most of the population. Is it necessary to eat so much meat? It is healthy?

Actually a moderate consumption would be ideal given that our body lacks protein for proper functioning, but it is also true that we can combine the consumption of animal protein with vegetable protein. If you want to know more about proteins, click here .

Vegetarian and vegan food trends have led the industry to develop by creating products that manage to replace meat, guaranteeing proper nutrition for the body. Seitan, tofu, tempeh and textured soy are the main substitutes for meat, but we can also find hamburgers made with vegetables and greens, etc.

Do you know the new meat substitute that has revolutionized the world? It is called Heura and it is the new boom among vegans and vegetarians, below we will tell you all its secrets.

Next we will tell you how we can substitute meat, and it is that with the arrival of new food trends such as veganism , there are more and more options to substitute animal protein for vegetable protein .

What is vegetable meat?

First of all we will start by explaining what is considered vegetable meat , since not everything goes. Vegetable meat or vegan meat is a food product that, due to its protein content and texture, is used as a substitute for animal meat in the diet of vegetarians and vegans.

Currently, and given the rise of these new trends, there are a multitude of processed foods and sausages on the market that meet the requirements to be considered meat substitutes, but not everything goes because if we make a hamburger with zucchini and carrots we cannot do it. Consider vegetable meat because it does not provide us with enough protein to be substituted, on the other hand, if we use chickpea, lentil or some legume flour to make a vegetable burger, we can say that it provides us with protein and therefore can be considered vegetable meat.

There are many ways to substitute animal meat for vegetable, we have at our disposal already made products such as textured soybeans, tofu, tempeh or seitan, among others, which are the best known and most used. We can also make it at home, although the procedure is more complex.

Vegetable meat capable of substituting animal meat must provide between 15-20% protein of high biological value together with vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin B12, etc. to ensure that it is a nutritionally complete product for the body.

Types of vegetable meat, which one to choose?

Below we explain the different types of vegetable meat that we find in the market. We can say that most are extracted from soy and that in a matter of choosing we must take into account our tastes, but the ideal would be a combination of soy products with other plant products to complete our nutritional plan with vegetables and thus ensure the body a correct amount of vitamins and minerals.

Textured soy

We will start talking about textured soy , a relatively new product that has become one of the most consumed foods by vegetarians and vegans.

Also known as PVT (Textured Vegetable Protein), it is a very versatile product when it comes to cooking, this product is extracted from soybeans, which are subjected to a cold dehydration process , obtaining small pieces that can look like minced meat.

It is usually cooked by rehydrating it with broth or by soaking it with water. It provides us with more protein than meat itself and also does not provide us with saturated fat , so it is interesting for those people who, in addition to taking care of their diet, want to lose weight . It also provides us with a large amount of calcium , one of the minerals that interests us most if we eliminate the consumption of animal meat, as well as phosphorus .

We can make hamburgers, use it as minced meat in stir-fries and stir-fries or even make meatballs because its texture is very similar to minced meat , which gives it great versatility to the kitchen.


Its content in proteins is around 20% and is one of the few plant foods containing vitamin B12 along with TVP, but it depends on the preparation process we refer to labeling. The values ​​of vitamin B12 must be strictly controlled when we eliminate the consumption of protein of animal origin from our diet, since if there is a deficit of this we can have important health problems.

This product originating in Indonesia comes from the fermentation of soybeans , such as tofu, which we will talk about later. It replaces meat with a very similar texture and also being very versatile when it comes to cooking. The fermentation of the beans together with the Rhizopus oligosporus fungus results in this vegetable meat that is presented in blocks, has a hard consistency, does not contain lactose or gluten; so it is suitable for coeliacs , it has a high fiber content , so it is very easy to digest, it is low in fat and rich in soy isoflavones .

Although initially it is a product made from soybeans, currently we can find tempeh from other legumes such as chickpeas or lentils with a different and even more interesting nutritional composition from the nutritional point of view.


This food is not a new food, in fact it is a staple of Asian food. It comes from soybeans and is extracted from soy milk. If you look closely, it is basically fermented and curdled soy milk . Depending on the rennet, we can find two textures: the one known as silken tofu , which has a creamy texture like cream cheese or spread cheese, or the traditional firm tofu , which is the best known and most used. A firm, consistent and fluffy white dough.

It has among its properties that it is rich in proteins of high biological value , a high calcium content , cholesterol-free, low-fat , lactose-free , low-calorie , rich in soy isoflavones and also gluten-free, making it suitable for celiacs .

It should be noted that among its cons we can highlight that it does not provide vitamin b12 and its high content of calcium oxalate (a substance that binds to calcium and prevents its absorption) that is not recommended for those who suffer from kidney stones.

It is a very versatile product when it comes to cooking it since it does not have a sweet or salty taste, you can combine it with the spices you consider and cook it in a thousand different ways.


This type of vegetable meat does not come from soybeans, but from wheat More specifically, it comes from the proteins of wheat gluten , so it is not a suitable food for coeliacs . If you want to know more about the celiac diet, click here.

It’s made from gluten, the protein in wheat, and comes as a compact, fluffy, dark brown dough. It is very easy for our body to digest , so it is ideal for athletes, without cholesterol and lactose , low in calories and fat , what more could you ask for? It really is a healthy product, but it does not contain vitamin B12 and it also does not contain essential amino acids such as lysine. For this we can consume it together with legumes to ensure a correct supply of lysine.

Seitan, due to its texture and appearance, is the food that most resembles beef . Its high protein and calcium content make it very interesting on a nutritional level. It is also low in sodium and gives us few calories. It is also very versatile in the kitchen, which is why it is very consumed either in steaks or strips in stir-fries, etc.

How to make seitan at home?

There are two ways to do it and although it is not complicated, it requires time and dedication, but … what better way to invest the time than naturally preparing what we are going to eat? Here’s how to make it:

One of the ways is by mixing wheat gluten flour, with vegetable broth, soy sauce (which also provides us with lysine) and spices to taste, until forming a compact dough that we will cook in vegetable broth for approximately one hour, depending on the size. of the dough).

Another way, which is a bit more expensive, is by kneading flour with water, rinsing the dough under the tap with cold water, until the starch is removed and the water comes out clear, not white. Once this point is reached, it is cooked in seaweed water, soy sauce and vegetable broth for at least one hour.

The result of both procedures, once cold, is ready for consumption. You can make it as steaks, or in stir-fries, etc.

Heura, the new vegetable meat revolution

It is the new revolution in vegetable meat , with a texture very similar to chicken , it is the perfect substitute for vegetarians and vegans. Given the growth of these food trends, product manufacturing processes are improving, and unlike those previously described (textured soybeans, tempeh or tofu), this substitute for animal meat known as Heura does not need binders or emulsifiers to bind the product and its elaboration is more natural.

This vegetable protein has managed to “fool” even the most carnivores, since they have mistaken it for chicken, but like most meat substitutes, Heura is made up mainly of legumes, in this case soy .

It is rich in fiber , soy isoflavones , vitamins and minerals, in addition to being low in fat , cholesterol free and low in calories , it provides us with magnesium , zinc and potassium . It does not contain lactose and is suitable for celiacs . A complete nutritional food that is very interesting also for those who want to lose weight.

Vegetable meat made from vegetables and legume flour

They are the well-known vegetable burgers made from any type of vegetable combined with vegetable drinks (soy milk, oatmeal, rice … etc) and flour made from different types of legumes. We can find them from different vegetables such as zucchini, aubergine squash, beets or even legumes such as peas or lentils. Chickpea flour is widely used for its preparation, which gives it a consistency similar to meat.

We can make them at home and they are very healthy. They are a widely used product that is spreading more and more, as it is one of the forms of vegetable consumption among children; since we “hide” the vegetables in an appetizing hamburger, in such a way we achieve a greater consumption of vegetables and vegetables that is sometimes difficult in infant feeding.

¿Animal or vegetable meat?

Like everything, both have their pros and cons. Vegetable meat is low in fat, without cholesterol, high in protein and low in purines, but it does not contain enough vitamin B12 and essential amino acids that we do find in animal meat.

From our point of view, everything has a solution to provide the body with the nutrients that are necessary, the key is to combine protein of plant and animal origin in the diet , thus guaranteeing all the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

  • The only source of vegetable protein that contains all the essential amino acids is quinoa or kañiwa , if you want to know more about it click on the link.

It should also be noted that both textured soy, such as tofu, seitan and tempeh are processed foods whose nutritional quality varies greatly depending on the way it is made, so we must be well informed on the labeling.

  • If you want to know which are the foods with the highest amount of protein, here we have them. Do not miss it!

From TakeDiets.com we recommend that you carry out a healthy diet that combines animal and vegetable protein for proper development of the body. If you decide to try other food trends such as vegetarian, here you will find the reasons to change the chip.

It is important that you inform yourself in depth, so we offer you another more flexible alternative that may interest you is the flexitarian diet , a less strict option than the vegetarian one. Get to know it!

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