Being vegan, people ask me what I eat. They think I either eat rabbit food all day, or eat veggies, rice, bread and pasta.
I am here to set the record straight. Last week I posted an article on foods that fill you up. I focused on plant based foods – foods that were not processed (or very minimally processed), foods that are high in fiber, fat and / or protein.
This week I am going to go over meat and dairy analogues – foods that are meat and dairy substitutions. Keep in mind that I am also gluten free – not by choice. So, my recommendations here are a bit restricted. I have included a few substitutions that I liked before going gluten free. Everything listed is gluten free, unless otherwise noted.
Most of these foods are processed. The way I look at it is, when I have a craving for a certain texture, and it cannot be easily replicated with plant based foods, I am going to go for the processed foods to satisfy me. I try to keep these to a minimum. Everything in moderation.
Here are the analogs / substitutions I will go over:
- substitutions for chicken
- substitutions for beef
- substitutions for bacon
- substitutions for hot dogs
- substitutions for jerky
- substitutions for cheddar cheese
- substitutions for mozzarella
- substitutions for cream cheese
- substitutions for blue cheese and feta
- substitutions for parmesan
- substitutions for milk
- substitutions for ice cream
*Caution… affiliate links ahead. Not to worry, it just means that if you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission and I will probably buy some more kitchen gadgets.
- Butler Soy Curls: These come in long strips. I have made these in Vegan Chilaquiles, tacos, gyros (recipe coming soon…), and sandwiches with BBQ sauce. These are made from whole soybeans. Don’t let the appearance scare you – if you add your favorite spices, sauce or marinade, they are delicious. They soak up whatever flavor you add to them. By themselves, they are like tofu – bland (see my article on foods that fill you up for ideas on ways to make tofu more exciting. You make the soy curls by soaking them in hot water for 8-10 minutes, seasoning them, and browning them in a skillet or broiler.
- Beyond Chicken: Their strips come in Southwest style, grilled, and lightly seasoned. I love these in a sandwich with BBQ sauce or chipotle Follow Your Heart vegan mayo, in a chili, in spaghetti, or on a pizza. The texture is similar to chicken, as the name implies. They are really easy to make – just heat for about 45 seconds in a microwave, and they are ready for eating. They are made by Beyond Meat, who has a Beyond Beef product as well, but I have never tried it.
- TVP (textured vegetable protein): This protein is inexpensive, made from defatted soy flour. It can be added to chili, tacos, spaghetti, Sloppy Joes – you name it. It is like some other substitutes that I mention in that it soaks up surrounding flavors. The texture is very similar to ground hamburger.
- Veggie burgers: My favorite is: Sunshine, which is made with nuts, seeds, veggies, rice, and seasonings – so whole food ingredients. It holds up to grilling, which is a big thing. They have many flavors including Black bean, Falafel, Garden Herb, and more. I also like Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers, but a little warning here – they do not hold up to the grill. They are lower in calories than the Sunshine burgers, and they are also more of a veggie burger – a mix of VEGGIES and soy. Not all of their varieties are gluten free. Before going gluten free I tried Boca burgers (not the biggest fan), as well as Trader Joe’s Marsala Burger, which I really liked. They have a blend of Indian spices – any thing Indian flavored, and I am there.
3. Substitutions for bacon: First, I will admit, this is not an ingredient I have searched out for, so the findings I share with you are NOT tested by me. I will cover substitutions that I can imagine as good substitutes. The reason I list these even though I have never tried them is because bacon is such a popular food.
- Coconut bacon: Phoney Baloney’s makes coconut bacon in original, soy free, chipotle, apple fennel, and candied. They are made with tamari, liquid smoke, maple syrup, grapeseed oil, and spices.
- Tempeh bacon: Tofurky and Lightlife – both make a tempeh bacon, but they both contain wheat.
4. Substitutions for hot dogs: The only gluten free hot dog that I have found, and like, is from Lightlife. They make Smart Dogs and Tofu Pups, which are both gluten free. Some of their products contain wheat and eggs, so be sure to read the ingredients.
- My favorite jerky is Primal Strips. They have six flavors including Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime, Teryaki, and Hot and Spicy. Those four contain wheat protein. Then they have two flavors that do not contain gluten: Hickory Smoked and Texas BBQ.
- The only other company I have tried is Stonewall’s. They have nine flavors. A word of warning – they are really salty. They are more chewy than the Primal Strips, which is the company I prefer.
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- My favorite is Follow Your Heart. It melts, tastes great with nachos, tacos, pizza, Spinach Beanadillas, and grilled cheese.
- Many people like Daiya, which I have also tried. To me Daiya tastes more like real cheese, which I do not like as much.
- My favorite again is Follow Your Heart. It melts, and tastes great in recipes like vegan grilled cheese and pizza.
- Daiya also makes a mozzarella.
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- My favorite is Tofutti Cream Cheese. They have plain, herbs and chives, garlic and herb, and French onion. I have made quite a few recipes with Tofutti cream cheese including: Vegan Chilaquiles , Tofutti Cream Cheese Puffs, Curry Stuffed Jalapeños, and Wasabi Crackers with Tofutti and Applesauce. They also have a sour cream that is a staple in my house.
- Another favorite of mine is Daiya. Their cream cheese comes in plain, chive and onion, and strawberry. They have a really yummy Jalapeño Havarti that tastes great with Seaweed Crackers and Cranberry Sauce and Orange. My go-to is Tofutti because it is cheaper.
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9. Substitutions for blue cheese and feta: My go-to all time favorite is Vegcuisine in Soy Feta and Soy Bleu. I have added it to Cranberry, Tangerine, and Pecan Salad, Pizza with Spinach Pesto, Spinach Beanadillas, and Stuffed Dates with Pecans, Soy Bleu, and Cranberry.
- My favorite parmesan substitute is nutritional yeast. It is a complete protein, and has a good amount of B vitamins. It is sometimes fortified with vitamin B12, which is a win-win for vegans. It has a nutty, cheesy taste.
- I have also tried Go Veggie!, which has a similar texture and taste to parmesan. Go Veggie! has a vegetarian line and a vegan line, so read labels if that is a concern.
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11. Substitutions for milk: There are so many options out there! I will break it down a little so it makes your life a little easier. My favorite brands are Blue Diamond, Silk, So Delicious, and Dream products (Rice Dream, Almond Dream, etc.)
- Almond Milk: It is creamy, rich, and has a slight nutty flavor. Even though it is from almonds, it does not have much protein.
- Soy Milk: It is creamy, has a slight nutty flavor. It contains the most protein of all options.
- Rice Milk: It has a thinner consistency, and is really sweet.
- Coconut Milk: It is thick, creamy, and has a coconut flavor.
- There’s also hemp, oat, and combinations of the above These I have yet to try.
12. Substitutions for ice cream: I love So Delicious, Purely Decadent, Soy Dream, and Almond Dream. They are all rich, creamy, and addictive. There are frozen desserts made from cashews and other nuts that are to die for. I have not had them in many years, so I cannot tell you which ones are my favorites.
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