Whether out of concerns for health, costs, or simply because there’s nowhere to buy faux meats in your area, it’s easy to substitute homemade, whole food alternatives for faux meats in your recipes. While mock meats can be convenient and helpful substitutes, especially when you first go vegan (they provide an easy way to swap out vegan alternatives in a meal, while still eating food you’re familiar with), they can be costly and difficult to find depending on where you live.

And while they may be free from cholesterol and lower in saturated fats than meat, just because they’re meat-free doesn’t mean they’re good for you. Many mock meats may be unhealthy too.  They are, after all, usually processed foods, and depending on the brand, they may still be full of unhealthy ingredients, such as too much salt.

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Don’t fear, however, because it’s easy to whip up tasty, vegan mock meat alternatives at home.  Check out the roundup of recipes below if you’re craving a veggie burger, meat crumbles, or even a seafood bake! As a plus, most of them are or could be made soy- and gluten-free, apart from number three.

1. Meat-Free Crumbles

These meat-free vegan crumbles sound delicious and are soy-free to boot — great for those with a soy allergy!  Use for lasagnas, tacos, and pizza toppings (just don’t cook in a sauce or they will fall apart). Made of delicious and good-for-you ingredients like cauliflower and walnuts, they are pretty flavorful and smoky.

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2. Veggie Bacon

Make your own veggie bacon at home that’s smoky, savory, and salty. Take your pick of ingredients: you can make it with coconut, eggplant, or mushrooms. Check out this coconut variety!

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3. Homemade Seitan

If you’re gluten-free, skip this one.  Seitan, or ‘wheat meat’ has been widely used in vegetarian Chinese cuisine for many years and is a versatile meat substitute which can stand in for duck, chicken, or beef.  Making seitan at home means you can flavor it however you want! Try this seitan pot roast!

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4. Veggie Burger

Ah, the quintessential veggie option.  The veggie burger is the default veg option in so many restaurants that you might just be sick of it by now. But this unprocessed version looks absolutely delicious. And it’s soy-free too! This veggie burger is packed with healthy ingredients and loads of spices for flavor. If you’re looking for more veggies to make burgers with, check out this post.

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5. Chickpea Treats

Chickpeas are a great whole-food alternative to mock meats! Check out these adorable quinoa-chickpea cakes, made with great-for-you ingredients!

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If none of the above recipes take your fancy, you can try your hand at making your own tofu or tempeh. Or, make your own mock meat alternative! Try thinking about taste components as well – for example, to replace bacon, you’ll need something salty, something smoky (e.g. liquid smoke) and something fatty (like oil).  If you want an easy option, add a protein (such as chickpeas, lentils, or tofu) or something with a meaty texture (like mushroom, aubergine, or jackfruit) to your dish.  Not only will your body thank you for avoiding processed, high sodium foods, but your wallet will too – dried beans cost a mere 25 cents per cup!

Image source: How To Make Soy-Free Vegan Meat Crumbles

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