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Most of us grew up eating it.

Most of us had or are having a hard time transitioning into a more sustainable, compassionate and healthy lifestyle. We either don’t cook, don’t want to or haven’t the first clue what to make besides big salads. This is where creativity helps.

When first transitioning into a healthy plant-powered diet, alternative meats like tempeh and seitan can be helpful. However, one thing to keep in mind that all highly-processed foods aren’t as healthy as whole food sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.  Some alternative meats are also expensive, full of salt, sugar and food additives like carrageenan. While they definitely take a lot of guess work out of what to serve for dinner, and there’s nothing wrong with consuming them in moderation, they also limit our creativity. Who says a veggie burger needs to be made with soy? Who says mock-meat can’t be nutrient-dense?

Let the large companies who’ve created plant-based shelf-stable plant-based meats inspire your diet, not define it. All it takes is a little time, passion and hunger to get going on a healthier plant-based meat plan. First, you need to know what you have to work with. You can make your own veggie burgers at home, or take on some creative ideas instead.

Check out all these delicious fruits and vegetables that can be made into mock-meats today:

Mighty Mushrooms


Mushrooms are a popular meat-replacement because their texture after cooking is very similar. Different mushrooms have slightly different textures though, making some more suitable than others. For instance, classic buttons are great, but shiitakes and portabella mushrooms are better. Plus, shiitakes and portabellas add way more flavor to your meals and all mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D, low in calories, and provide immunity benefits.

Try these innovative ideas and more:

Saute some de-stemmed shiitakes in vegan margarine, onion powder, pepper and garlic. Add a tablespoon or more of whole wheat flour, coating the mushrooms fully before the next step. Add in two cups of strong vegetable broth and combine well. Let the heat thicken the creation. Congratulations—you’ve got yourself some cruelty-free gravy. Poutine anyone?

—De-stem a portaballa mushroom and coat with oil and balsamic vinegar. Bake at 425 degrees until mushroom begins sweating and turning darker in color. Once you can stick a fork all the way through easily, it’s done; you’ve got yourself a nice and easy burger patty now.

Olives of all Kinds


Sure, olives have a pretty distinctly salty taste to them and are filled with healthy fats for you. The taste and texture of olives also makes for amazing pate. Not into pate?

Try olives in this awesome tapenade recipe sans anchovies:

– Super Simple Olive Tapenade from The Best of Raw Food

-Spread on your favorite sandwich or wrap to replace the meaty texture and add essential nutrients.

Caramelized Vegan Onion Tart With Olives (proof that you don’t need meat on your vegan pizza)!

-Or, use tempeh with olives in Tempeh, Date, and Olive Marbella. Tempeh is a fermented form of soy and less processed than some other soy isolates and sources of GMO soy. The olives and tempeh help add a meaty texture that also benefit your health.

Creating with Carrots

Have you seen this?

Carrot Dog from Clean Eating Veggie Girl
Clean Eating Veggie Girl

Now that you have, you can put down the processed veggie “dog” and give carrots a chance. This creation is said to be “seriously good.” What are you waiting for? Besides, carrots are filled with filling fiber, Vitamin A, and you can feel good knowing that you’ve replaced meat in your diet with an incredibly healthy veggie.

You can also try using in carrots in:

Vegan Country Meatloaf with Gravy

– To make a meatless curry. 

– To make a vegan stir-fry.

If all else fails, you can always turn those carrots into veggie bacon.

Jackfruit for the Adventurous!


Jackfruit has long been known as a great pulled-pork substitute, providing unmatched similarities in texture. This cruelty-free alternative also offers hard-to-find complex B-vitamins, fibre, vitamin C and more! It takes on flavors easily, much like tofu.

Try sliced jackfruit with any of these tasty 25 vegan sandwich sauces today.

Meaty Mangoes


Nobody can deny the fleshiness of mangoes. With a little help from a great marinade, mangoes can replace raw fish for sushi night. The benefits? Besides saving lives, this simple switch means you’re filling up on more of mango’s health benefits like: preventing disease and aging, protecting your bones, hair, skin and heart and reducing likelihood of diabetes.

Or try:

The Yummiest Mango Curry You’ll Ever Make!

Green Tea and Mango Sandwiches

Red Quinoa and Mango Salad With Lime Dressing

See how amazing these five vegetables and fruits are literally just the beginning of how many meals can be easily veganized with plants? Other hearty veggies that can replace meat are: sweet potatoes, artichokes, squash, beans and legumes. These can be made into stir-fries, veggie burgers, and many other hearty vegan recipes. 

Do you have any more ideas for using fruits and veggies in your meals? Let’s hear them!

BONUS Recommendation: Download the Food Monster App

baked samosa flautas

If you enjoy articles and recipes like these and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant Food app available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.

The Food Monster app has over 8k recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8k+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!

Lead Image Source: Asparagus and Carrot Indian-Style Stir-Fry

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