Welcome to the budding era of plant-meat, folks. You can buy vegan meats in grocery stores and order it at fast food chains — and now, if you’re a student at the University of California, Berkeley, you can even grow plant-meat products from scratch for actual school credit!

Last semester, UC Berkeley offered the world’s inaugural plant-meat development course, which offered students the unique chance to work with the latest in technology and tools to “build” their own plant-based meats in the “Alternative Meats Lab” (known as the “alt.meat lab” for short). The course was so popular that it will be offered again.

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What’s exciting is that plant-based meat is now appealing vegans and meat eaters alike: traditional meat is not the most sustainable source of protein, and demand for alternative protein sources are at an all time high. Forty percent of Americans are choosing to leave meat off their plates more frequently, and many popular fast-casual chains are now serving plant-based meat options (the Impossible Burger is always in demand at burger chain Hopdoddy, for instance, and you can even order the Beyond Burger at Alamo Drafthouse).

“There is evidence that meat-lovers would buy plant-based meat alternatives if the taste is right,” said visiting professor Ricardo San Martin, co-chair for the new lab, in a press release. “One of our goals for the lab will be to develop delicious food that is similar to meat from a nutritional and functional perspective but may not necessarily mimic meat exactly.”

The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley will be partnering with Givaudan, a flavor and fragrances company, to aid them in their quest to perfect the taste, texture, flavor, and smell of their plant-based meat products. We can’t wait to see what the students come up with!

Make Your Own “Meaty” Vegan Meals at Home!

If you’re inspired by the students at UC Berkely and want to learn how to incorporate more plant-based meat into your home cooking (or are just looking for tips on how to make your meatless food taste meaty), you’re in luck. Our Food Monster App is filled with all our best resources and recipes to help you out. Check out some of our favorite dishes and tricks below!

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First, check out this ultimate guide to vegan meat and meat substitutes, and decide what sounds best for you. Then, get cooking!

This recipe for Spanish Chorizo With Chickpeas by Maggie Jones is packing with meaty, umami flavor.

Looking for a meal that’s easy to prepare but tastes like it’s been simmering on the stove all day? Look no further than this simple Spanish-inspired chorizo and chickpea dish. It’s flavorful and full of protein that will keep you satisfied, plus you can make a large batch and keep it in the refrigerator to eat all week!

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If you want proof that vegetables can make amazing and satisfying vegan meat substitutes, then give this recipe for Portobello Mushroom Steaks With Cheesy Rosemary Polenta a shot.

Michaell Johnson‘s meaty mushrooms, drizzled with a balsamic reduction, sit atop a bed of cheesy, creamy homemade polenta. Pair it with some zesty roasted carrots or sweet potatoes, kale salad, and a glass of wine for a sweet and complete date night or dinner.

Cut right to the chase and try your hand at making this Homemade Beefy Seitan by NYC Vegan: Iconic Recipes for a Taste of the Big Apple.

This combination of mushrooms, soy sauce, and red wine give this seitan a deep umami flavor. Making your own meat substitute might seem like a complicated task, but this recipe is easy to follow and will leave you with results far better than processed, packaged seitan!

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If you’re interested in finding some meatier vegan recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Homemade Beefy Seitan

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