One of the biggest hurdles for many of us when trying more plant-based meals is how to recreate the tastes and textures of meat. While we can easily do that with protein-rich plant-based substitutes like tofu, tempeh, and seitan those aren’t our only options. We can also use beans, legumes, vegetables, and even fruit to cook recipes that can satisfy your craving for meat, with whole foods, plant-based meals! When it comes down to it, it’s all about the seasoning.
So, if whole foods, plant-based recipes that are meaty and delicious sounds like something that you need to make, then try these 15 meaty, meat-free recipes!
1. Portobello Chana Masala
Chana masala is one of the healthiest Indian dishes you can make. Because of this Portobello Chana Masala’s heavy use of chickpeas, it is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with fiber, protein, and potassium. This recipe takes traditional masala and puts a twist on it by adding meaty mushrooms and peanut butter. Yum!
2. Jackfruit Banh Mi Tacos
Whoever first thought of turning a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich into a taco was a certified genius. But even the work of a genius can be improved upon, and the result here is these entirely plant-based and gluten-free Jackfruit Banh Mi Tacos. He-llo! Tender jackfruit is coated in a sweet and sour teriyaki sauce, all topped with crunchy, tangy pickled veggies, creamy Sriracha mayo, and enrobed in a soft corn tortilla. Now that’s one epic taco.
3. Grilled Eggplant With Ginger Dressing
In this recipe, Japanese eggplants are halved and grilled until they begin to brown. They’re then coated with a gingery and umami dressing that adds a “meaty” flavor and complements the creaminess of the cooked eggplant. Serve these delicious Grilled Eggplants With Ginger Dressing on a bed of freshly cooked coconut, rice with more vegetables on the side.
4. Lentil Burger With Mustard Sauce
These Lentil Burgers With Mustard Sauce are super tasty and only require four ingredients to make! The combination of earthy flavor from the lentils, the touch of sweetness from the raisins, and the nutty walnuts, make this a unique veggie burger you will fall in love with instantly. The zesty mustard sauce makes this burger even better!
5. Beanball Sub Sandwich With Marinara and Greens
Are you looking for a hearty filling sandwich even meat lovers will drool over? Look no further that this Beanball Sub Sandwich. Reminiscent of the true Italian classic, this much healthier version will not disappoint.
6. Caramelized Shallot and Portobello Open-Faced Sandwich
In this recipe, caramelized shallots and meaty Portobello mushrooms top a crusty whole grain bread. The savory flavors of the shallots and mushrooms mingle with a creamy, yet refreshing homemade cashew cream sauce that’s both lemony and a little cheesy. You’ll need to eat this Caramelized Shallot and Portobello Open-Faced Sandwich with a fork and knife.
7. General Tso’s Cauliflower
Usually, General Tso’s dishes involve deep-frying a protein in a sticky sauce. This version replaces protein with cauliflower, which does an amazing job at taking on the citrusy umami flavor and it’s baked then stir-fried in a wok instead of being fried in a lot of oil. If you’re still concerned about protein, then fear not! This General Tso’s Cauliflower is served on a big bed of light and fluffy quinoa.
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8. Eggplant Fajita Tacos
Eggplant is the star in these simple, spicy Eggplant Fajita Tacos. It’s thinly sliced, pressed, then marinated in a spicy, umami sauce that gives it its meaty flavor, and then cooked to a chewier texture. You’ll be amazed by how cooking eggplant the right way transforms it into a meaty veggie!
9. Lentil Loaf With Carrots, Onions, and Portobello Mushrooms
This is a savory, meaty Lentil Loaf, made with roasted vegetables that give it a texture like meatloaf but better. Fire-roasted tomatoes make it tender, moist and the wide variety of veggies adds depth of flavor. This is an entree that will satisfy all of your guests.
10. Jackfruit Satay Skewers With Peanut Sauce
These Jackfruit Satay Skewers With Peanut Sauce will be a hit at your next barbecue. It’s recipes like these that show you that anything is possible with plant-based recipes. Great flavors, texture, and overall jackfruit goodness … what more could you want? Serve over rice and vegetables, or with a fresh crispy salad!
11. Quinoa and Portobello Mushroom Stacks With a Red Pepper Coulis
This dish for meaty Portobello Mushroom Stacks is actually made from both Portobello and Shiitake mushrooms. Served over a bed of quinoa with a red pepper coulis, this is a meal that’s guaranteed to impress. The zesty, marinated Portobello and fresh-tasting spinach have such flavor and substance that it’s likely there’ll be no leftovers once your meal has ended. The most important element is the roasted red pepper coulis. Stir the olive oil in at the end for a sweet, creamy sauce that ties together all the flavors of the dish.
12. Cheesy Eggplant Burger
These Cheesy Eggplant Burgers are really something else. Eggplant is fried until soft and then mashed with a mixture of herbs, gluten-free breadcrumbs, and vegan cheese shreds, then fried until golden on the outside and tender and melty on the inside. Put some napkins on the side and enjoy, it’s gonna be messy!
13. Fermented Sweet and Sour Cauliflower
This Sweet and Sour Cauliflower is covered in a sauce made from vegetables and spices and then fermented in a mason jar for a few days. The result is a heaping quantity of soft, flavorful florets that are sweet and sour. The perfect way to serve these vegetables is on a bed of warm rice with steamed broccoli.
14. BBQ Jackfruit
Green jackfruit is often referred to as the vegetarian’s meat. It is the fruit of a tree native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. When green jackfruit cooks and softens, it begins to pull apart, taking on an appearance similar to pulled pork. The hardest part of this BBQ Jackfruit is finding canned green jackfruit (available in most Asian markets). You can occasionally find fresh green jackfruit, but it’s extremely messy, sticky, and difficult to cut.
15. Cauliflower and Walnut Ground ‘Meat’
This is Cauliflower and Walnut Ground ‘Meat’ a 100 percent plant-based vegan meat substitute that you can use as taco meat, pizza topping, in Bolognese sauce, in lasagna, and many more recipes. If you are looking for a great mincemeat alternative that doesn’t rely on vital wheat gluten or soy crumbles, then this tasty cauliflower and walnut mixture is perfect. Because it’s vegan, it’s also cholesterol free – this is the ultimate in healthy cooking that tastes amazing!
Lead image source: BBQ Jackfruit