Best and Worst Vegan Meat Replacements

Trying out vegan diet and concerned about best and worst vegan meat replacements? If you are a vegan or trying to be the one, then you must be familiar with a particular question. And that is, “Where do you get your nutrients from”? We think that this question is pretty valid, as a big chunk of vegans lack their daily essential nutrient requirement.

However, there are many options available that can be great vegan meat replacements with almost all the nutrients present in meat. These vegan meat replacements are not only rich in proteins, but as well you get essential minerals and vitamins that come from meat.

But, the concern is that there can be great substitutes for meat-based proteins and some can be worst. We have divided our information into two groups of five food items each, which comprises the best meat replacements and the worst meat replacements.

Best Vegan Meat Replacements

  • Jackfruit

A vegan simply can not avoid jackfruit if they are looking for promising meat replacements. This fruit is packed with flavors, as well as vital nutrients such as Vitamin C, complex fibers, anti-oxidants, etc.

Jackfruit has the power to strengthen the metabolism, enhance digestion and stimulate the immunity of our body.

Besides, the texture is very close to chicken and pork. It ticks all the boxes of being as good as meat in nutrients. Kathal (Jackfruit) Biryani tastes equally great as Chicken Biryani.

  • Lentils

Lentils are the edible pulses that give you the goodness of fiber and macronutrients. These are rich in iron, folate, and manganese. Apart from that, it is packed with easy-to-digest protein. Lentils are great vegan meat replacement if talking about nutritional value. Adding a handful of pink lentils in curry or pasta adds on to great meaty taste.

It is kept in our diet daily, lentils can lower blood sugar levels and control weight. Lentils are very to make. One can add some in curries, dips, stews, soups, and salads.

In the Indian diet, lentils are a popular option and hence, easily available. It is a must for vegans.

  • Mushrooms

Every time we think about a supplement of meat, mushrooms pop in our minds. Whether you are a vegetarian/vegan or not, you should not miss out on the nutritious goodness of mushrooms. The additional advantage to mushrooms is that besides being very tasty, they are very low in calories. The meaty texture to it makes it one of the best vegan meat replacements.

Mushrooms have anti-oxidants and some research proves that it has anti-microbial properties as well. You can have it in soups, curry, barbeque, mushroom pakoda (fritters) and even Biryani also.

  • Legumes and Beans

Any type of edible beans and legumes is a great choice as a replacement for meat. Legumes certainly mean a wide range of veggies which contains peas and beans. Brown chick peas make great vegan patties similar to Kebabs. Kala Chana cutlets and Kebabs taste equally great as mutton and chicken Kebabs. Moreover loaded with a variety of nutrients.

These super foods offer a ton of healthy proteins to our bodies. And along with that, they are rich in essential micronutrients such as folate, amino acids and iron.

It is advised that to take full advantage of the goodness of legumes, wait until sprouts come out of it and then consume.

  • Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and nuts can be the most profoundly nutritious food item on this list of Best vegan meat replacements. This is not only for being high in protein as meat, nuts and seeds provide other goodness as well including anti-oxidant property. Many researches in the past have claimed that nuts lower the risk of many kinds of chronic diseases.

Mainly as evening snacks, you can add walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, etc. We recommend you choose the non-fried and non-salted ones.

  • Soya Beans

By far, soya beans have the greatest chunk of protein compared to any other plant-based food item. Especially in India, there are over 50 types of dishes that can be prepared with soya beans alone. They are low in calories, low in fat and carbohydrate content, but high in other useful nutrients.


Apart from soya beans, other delicious food items can be prepared from Soy. Some of them are Tempeh and Natto. They are themselves great meat supplements. Soya Chaaps and Soy/ Nutri Nuggets make delicious recipes that not only resemble meat texture but also tastes great with loads of easy to digest protein.

Worst Meat Substitutes

  • Seitan

Especially for making vegan chicken, seitan has become popular. It is nothing but alleviated wheat gluten. It is very low in nutrients except for carbohydrates. Other than that, in this, we can not expect any form of protein as there is in meat.

The only use of this is probably because it tastes very close to chicken or duck. Apart from that, harmful additives are often added to store-bought seitan to give the exact texture of mean in the cured wheat gluten.

  • Cheese

Cheese is a mix of the good and bad, but it is nowhere near to be called a good supplement to meat. Consumption of large amounts of cheese in everyday diet can be a poor idea.

We can not deny that cheese has some good nutrients such as calcium and protein. But on the other hand, the high fat, calories, and sodium content almost diminish the goodness of it and adversely affect liver. Anyway, you can go for healthy varieties of cheese such as goat cheese or feta cheese. Market made cheese is full of preservatives also. So it is better to have homemade cheese to gain health benefits.

  • Tofu

Tofu is like paneer, but made from soy milk. Like other great food items made from soy like tempeh and Natto , tofu is not that generous with essential nutrients. It is unfermented and hence, we do not see many probiotics in tofu. Moreover tofu has antinutrient content that lowers body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Tofu is abundant with soy-based isoflavones, which acts exactly like the hormone estrogen in our body. This highly increases the chances of breast cancer in women, especially in their postmenopausal stage.

More recent studies are worrying too. Scientists have concluded that the isoflavones in tofu can disrupt the normal thyroid function in our body. And on top of that, it also increases the chances of sexual sterility in men.

All these prove that it is sensible if we replace tofu with some other nutritious choices in our diet. However adding tofu in occasional diet as vegan meat replacements is not harmful for your health. But sticking on to regular intake of tofu in vegan diet is not recommended and may end up making you nutrient deficient.


So, this is our take on the best and worst vegan meat replacements. Every food item has something good in it to offer. But we have mentioned those food items that do not do the right justice of being a healthy meat substitute. Hence, we will recommend you to eat everything but for protein and minerals, don’t forget to keep the items in the ‘best list’ in your diet. Foods in the worst list can be taken occasionally for only texture replacement for meat.