11 Vegetarian Alternatives with Recipe Recommendations
In the beginning of May I listed my top vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, along with recipe recommendations from each book. It’s a working list so check back often as I try newly published vegetarian cookbooks and write about it!
RELATED: Top Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbooks (According to Me)
This week I thought I would follow the same idea and share my top vegetarian and vegan protein alternatives, especially because you guys seem to love to read about vegetarian food!
Firstly, if your interested in live honest reviews of new vegetarian friendly food items I recommend checking out Candace Hutchings’ taste test videos on her YouTube channel. If you would like me to do something similar to this let me know in the comments below!
Taste testing new vegetarian friendly foods is always fun. It’s similar to a game of Russian roulette…sometimes they are amazing, and other times not so much. I won’t name any of the products I really dislike out of respect for the brands but am listing my favourites instead.
These food products are available in Canada (unfortunately I don’t have access to the variety being sold in the US!).
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. Be assured that I do not endorse anything I do not support or have tried myself. These links also help keep this site running. I appreciate the support!
1. Paradise Vegetarien Veg-o-Mix “Chicken” products
Paradis Vegetarien is a company based out of Montreal, Quebec. They have a variety of vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives made from shiitake mushrooms and soy base. What I like about these products is the short ingredient lists, high protein and high fiber content. The “meat” looks like chicken and is meaty in texture. I have tried the mushroom chicken, general tao chicken and veggie patties and find them all good.
Recommended Recipe: Mixed in with roasted vegetables with rice.
I enjoy the taste of Gardein chick’n plain or dressed with the seasoning it comes with. Gardein protein is made with a combination of soy protein and wheat protein, consequently if your allergic to soy and gluten stay away. If your not grab a variety of packages and give it a try.
Recommended Recipe: Served as a side to a dish or using the recipe on the package.
3. Vegan Chao Slices
I tried this cheese for the first time last week and oh my god I’m addicted. It is flavourful and spicy and melts like cows cheese.
Recommended Recipe: Grilled cheese or cheese and crackers
4. Vegan Daiya Cheese-Style Shreds
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had a hard time finding vegan cheese that tasted good. This was about 5 years ago, so things might have changed since then. I enjoy the taste of Daiya cheese, though I have heard some people complain it has an off taste. They have a variety of different cheese styles to try out and other pre-made products like pizza with their cheese shreds.
Recommended Recipe: Naan pizza (just swap the cows cheese for Daiya cheese!)
5. Soyarie Tofu
This is my go-to extra firm tofu. Despite the benefits or negative side-effects of soy consumption discussed in scientific literature, causing confusion over whether or not it is healthy to consume, I continue to use it in my cooking. It is my understanding that non-GMO organic soy in the form of tofu or tempeh is okay to consume.
Recommended Recipe: Roasted with veggies and rice noodles
Tempeh is fermented soybean. The word fermented might turn some people off but it shouldn’t. Tempeh is one of my favourite vegan meat alternatives. Unlike tofu, which is flavourless, tempeh has a nutty flavour and an interesting texture. It is high in protein and mixes well with anything. I’ve used tempeh as a spread for crackers, an alternative to bacon in a BLT and as bite-sized pieces in a mandarin style stirfry. For recipe ideas follow my Pinterest board!
Recommended Recipe: Vegan Asian Orange Tempeh
Seitan is a vegan alternative to meat that is made with vital wheat gluten. When mixed with water, broth and spices, then boiled, it creates this spongy yet meaty alternative to meat, especially beef. Many people add different spices and ingredients depending on which meat they are trying to replicate. You can buy prepared seitan at a natural food store or you can do like me and make it yourself at home which will yield much more for the same price. For homemade chicken-style seitan check out That Was Vegan?’s recipe.
Recommended Recipe: Stout, Seitan and Cabbage Casserole
8. Daiya Alfredo Style Sauce
You can usually buy this in two different ways, with a single packet of sauce and gluten-free pasta or with three packets of sauce and no pasta. I was introduced to this product by getting the pasta and sauce combo, however, I’ve since just started getting the sauce because it’s less expensive and you get more. I hate Kraft Dinner mac and cheese but love Daiya’s Alfredo Style Cheeze Sauce on top of macaroni or small shell pasta.
Recommended Recipe: Add it to small shaped pasta with broccoli crumbs
9. Nona Cheese Sauce
I discovered Nona after sampling a friends mac and cheese recipe at a potluck. It was the first time trying a mac and cheese that was vegan and it was so good. She had mixed macaroni, black beans, and hot sauce with Nona cheesy-style sauce – yum! I haven’t tried it melted over veggies or nachos but I can assume it’s really good.
Recommended Recipe: Scrambled Tofu
10. Smoked Tofu
Compared to other blocks of tofu, this one is more dense, which I like for snacking or just adding it to a salad. The smoked flavour is subtle and could be added to other recipes that need a meaty smoky flavour.
Recommended Recipe: Cut into cubes and added to a cold green leaf salad
11. Ying Ying Tofu
I found these at my local Whole Foods Market and like to snack on them. They are full of flavour and can be eaten alone. I tried adding the bites to a salad but the strong flavours didn’t mix well with the flavours of the fresh leafy greens! So I am happy to just nibble on these.
Recommended Recipe: Snack on its own or heated up with rice.
There are so many vegetarian/vegan products on the market right now and the number keeps growing. The plant-based lifestyle is growing quickly and marketers are cashing in on it. I’m always looking for new products to try out so let me know if you have any recommendations that had not made my list!
Share your recommendations in the comments below! If you have a favourite recipe using these food items let me know!
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