Our Favorite Vegan & Vegetarian Meat Alternatives


A vegan or vegetarian diet can be just as satisfying as any other way of eating, but sometimes you just want to dig into something meaty. When the mood strikes, we have you covered with an extensive selection of vegan and vegetarian meats. Here are just a few of our plant-based favorites and some of their main ingredients, followed by a quick overview of the vegan ingredients that make it all possible.

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Vegan and vegetarian beef and burger substitutes

Roasts, burgers, meat loaves and more—if you can think of it, there’s probably a vegan version available.

Vegan and vegetarian poultry substitutes

“Chicken” tenders, anyone? How about a “turkey” sandwich for Thanksgiving?

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Vegan and vegetarian sausage, bacon and hot dog substitutes

It’s easier than ever to make sure you have your vegan guests taken care of at your next cookout.

Vegan meat substitute ingredients

There’s a handful of go-to ingredients you’ll find in alternative meat products and recipes, including:

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Tempeh: This fermented soybean product is often used in place of proteins such as fish and ground beef. It’s firm and chewy, with an earthy, nutty flavor but takes up other flavors well. Tempeh is high in both nutrients and fiber and is usually minimally processed (check the label).

Tofu: Tofu is the product of curdling soy milk. It’s available in a range of consistencies, such as silken and extra-firm, and has such a mild flavor that it can be used as a meat alternative in nearly every kind of dish. It often stands in for seafood, beef, pork, chicken and even vegan “dairy” products.

Textured vegetable protein (TVP): Another soy product, TVP is made from soy flour. With a texture similar to ground beef when it’s cooked, TVP stars in a lot of recipes for chili, pasta sauces, taco fillings, and burgers.

Jackfruit: Compared to the ancient history of the soy products found on today’s meatless tables, jackfruit is a relatively recent arrival on the American vegetarian scene. While it has a sweet, banana/pineapple flavor when ripe, it’s used in its green, unripe stage for purposes of substituting for meat. The unripe flesh pulls apart like pulled pork, so jackfruit is appearing in dishes like barbecue sandwiches and tacos.

Seitan: Low in carbohydrates and fat and high in protein (an ounce has 21 grams), seitan’s flavor is mild but savory. As with many other meat stand-ins, seitan will readily take on the flavor of other ingredients in your recipes. It’s made entirely of hydrated, pure gluten protein.

Beans and legumes: Black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas and other beans and legumes are often used to help bind other ingredients in meatless burgers. In addition to their nutrients, one of the biggest bonuses is that they’re some of the best sources of protein in a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Whether you’re cooking a recipe from scratch or buying a ready-made vegan or vegetarian meat alternative, remember to keep an eye on the totals for sodium, calories and fat. Read the labels before you buy or check with one of our associates in your local Native Sun store if you have questions about anything we carry.

Dan Nehring