The growing popularity of meat alternatives is growing at an alarmingly good rate! According to new research from Mintel, more than half (53%) of Canadians say that they eat plant-based, meat alternatives.
5% of Canadians claim vegetarianism and 2% claim veganism, which leaves the rest to simply prefer meat alternatives even if they aren’t fully embracing a plant-based lifestyle altogether. Canadians agree that meat alternatives are healthier (obviously) than meat.
“There appears to be significant room to improve consumer perception of meat alternatives relative to meat. For those who don’t eat meat alternatives, blurring the line between meat and meat alternatives is crucial to winning over new converts. While few Canadians follow vegetarian or vegan diets, many do consume meatless products, suggesting that the true opportunity extends beyond those consumers who avoid meat, to those who love meat but may be looking for some healthy options. Meat alternatives that are indistinguishable from ‘real meat’ stand the best chance of realizing the category’s potential,” said Joel Gregoire, Associate Director, Canada Food and Drink Reports, at Mintel.
“As demand for protein in foods outside of meat and other animal-based products grows, the spectrum of proteins that consumers are interested in, or at least willing to eat, appears to be broadening, with many citing interest in emerging ‘buzz-worthy’ proteins ranging from insects to algae,” concluded Gregoire.
So, what are your meat alternative options?
There are plenty of meat alternatives that’ll give you the texture, taste, and fullness that you crave. The options for cooking, baking, roasting, and purchases all vary so much. We’re here to help you decide which alternative you love the most.
Tofu can be used in so, so many different ways. That’s why it’s the top meat alternative, offering up crispy, fried, soft, toasted, curried or baked options as far as meals. It’s made from soybeans and is high in protein and calcium. Tofu gets a bad rap as being soft, spongy, bland, and tasteless, but that doesn’t have to be true. Buy extra-firm tofu and press the heck out of it. Or, freeze it and then press it. Tofu can be as firm and chewy as meat.
Read more about 7 Tips to Make The Perfect Tofu Dish, and 6 Cooking Tips That Will Make You Love Tofu. We’re sure you’ll love these recipes: Easy Baked Tofu With Coconut Panko Breadcrumb Crust, this Eggy Tofu Scramble, and this Lemon and Herb Tofu. If you want something heavier, try this High-Protein Creamy Tofu and Avocado Pasta.
Tempeh is firmer than tofu and has a more grainy texture. It is made from fermented soybeans and has a nutty flavor. It’s packed with protein as well as fiber, calcium, and vitamins. One of the advantages to cooking with tempeh is that you don’t have to press it. Just slice it, dice it, or grind it up in a food processor.
For tips on cooking with tempeh, check out How to Use Tempeh and What it’s Best Paired With and 6 Amazing Ways to Eat Tempeh. Then try these tempeh recipes: Slow Cooker Tempeh Braised With Figs and Port Wine, Tempeh Tikka Masala, and this Tempeh and Spelt Bowl are perfect dinner options. Looking for a combo? Try this Breakfast Sandwich With Tofu Egg and Tempeh Sausage! Yum.
If gluten is not an issue for you, turn to seitan for the most meat-like texture. Seitan is processed wheat gluten and it is a great source of protein. Depending on how you flavor it, seitan can be similar to chicken, beef, or pork. Seitan has a dense, chewy texture that can hold up to grilling, frying, braising, or anything else you want to do with it! We love options.
It’s not as hard to make seitan as you might think. Read How to Make Perfect Seitan! Favorite recipes include: 10-Minute Seitan ‘Beef’ and Broccoli, Homemade Seitan Hot Dogs, ‘Chicken’ Green Chili and Hominy Posole and this Seitan Pot Roast for the ultimate meat alternative meals.
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Lead image source: Balsamic BBQ Seitan and Tempeh Ribs