Want to know what to look for before you shop for veggie meats? Check out our six tips. Here are some of our favorites.
Jackfruit is the meatless case’s latest craze.
Cooked unripe (green) jackfruit has a stringy texture somewhat like pulled pork (or artichoke hearts). But with only 1 or 2 grams of protein per 3 oz., it’s more like a vegetable than a stand-in for meat. On the upside, it’s low in calories (about 30, before you do anything with it) and high in fiber (around 5 grams).
Our advice: start with unseasoned Trader Joe’s Green Jackfruit in Brine. Just rinse off the brine, shred, and sauté with your favorite sauce or seasonings.
Fishing for fishless?
Gardein Golden Fishless Filets or Mini Crispy Crabless Cakes could pass for real seafood…but they’ve got less omega-3 fat than you’d get in fish.
“Contains 32 mg of ALA, EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids per serving,” say the Crabless Cakes. Translation: 3 mini cakes contain the omega-3 fats you’d get in just 2-or-so tablespoons of crabmeat.
And in the crabmeat, it would mostly be EPA and DHA. Crabless Cakes have both (from algal oil), but also add ALA (from canola and chia oils), which is less likely to protect your heart.
Want a hamburger? Try a meat-free patty.
“Why can’t you build meat directly from plants?” asks Beyond Meat’s website. “It turns out you can.”
The Beyond Burger, a blend of mostly pea protein, canola oil, and coconut oil, plus beet juice extract (to supply the red-meat color), is surprisingly beef-like.
With as much protein (20 grams) as a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder patty, and with less saturated fat (5 vs. 8 grams), it beats beef hands down. But who needs the sat fat from coconut oil, which is also used in the Impossible Burger (sold only at select restaurants).
Our favorites—Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Burger and MorningStar Farms Grillers Original Veggie Burgers—have no more than 2 grams of sat fat. And both have around 15 grams of protein for less than half of a Beyond Burger’s 290 calories.
You’d swear that Boca Original Chik’n Veggie Patties started life in a hen house. MorningStar Farms Original Chik Patties come close. Ditto for Gardein’s delicious Seven Grain Crispy Tenders. (Heads up: their main grain is white flour.) Try any of them them in a salad.
Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n pieces are irresistible, but they have too much salt…unless you add them to your own stir-fry and skip the sauce packet.
When you go beyond breaded, taste gets a little trickier. Our fave: Gardein Chick’n Scallopini. The catch is to treat it like chicken breast—sauté and serve with sauce or some other seasoning. Or slice and add to tacos. You can do the same with Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips. (You know the drill; skip the salty sauce packet.)
What are your favorite veggie meats?
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