These veggie meats are worth stocking up on

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.

Prefer chicken?

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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10 Replies to “These veggie meats are worth stocking up on”

  1. I’m surprised you did not include Dr Praeger’s line of veggie burgers, which contain actual vegetables (imagine that!), and more fiber and vitamins than the soy-based products your article promotes. Plus, they are free of most common allergens vs. Morningstar products, which contain wheat, soy, egg and milk. They may not have a meat-like taste or texture, but they have far more nutritional value than products that offer protein and almost nothing else.

    Just compare the ingredients list —

    Dr Praeger’s:
    CARROTS, ONIONS, STRING BEANS, OAT BRAN, ZUCCHINI, PEAS, EXPELLER PRESSED CANOLA OIL, SPINACH, ROASTED CORN, BROCCOLI, RED PEPPERS, ARROWROOT POWDER, CORN STARCH, CORN MEAL, ROASTED GARLIC, SEA SALT, PARSLEY, BLACK PEPPER

    Morningstar Grillers:
    Textured vegetable protein (wheat gluten, soy protein concentrate, water for hydration), egg whites, corn oil, calcium caseinate, contains two percent or less of modified tapioca starch, onion powder, canola oil, triglycerides from coconut oil, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (corn gluten, wheat gluten, soy protein), dextrose, salt, soy protein isolate, autolyzed yeast extract, sugar, natural and artificial flavors from non-meat sources, caramel color, cultured whey, maltodextrin, garlic powder, spice, cellulose gum, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat), vitamins and minerals (niacinamide, iron [ferrous sulfate], thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], riboflavin [vitamin B2], vitamin B12), sesame seed oil, celery extract, soy lecithin.

    1. I agree 100% w/Amy’s comment. Dr. Praeger’s appears to be the only one with real food ingredients–the others have too much artificial fillers!

    2. Amy,

      I see and agree with your point, although I think they were focusing on meat replacements so the amount of protein is important and Dr. California Veggie Burgers, for example, only has 5 grams of protein (even with the peas and soy flour) which is quite low (for example, the Amy’s Vegan I prefer has 13 grams) when compared to the choices above ; except for the Jackfruit above and including that may invalidate my whole point 🙂

    3. When considering “meatless” meat, it is important to consider protein. As an individual who does not eat meat, I sometimes have trouble getting all my protein. Some of the veggie based products you recommend have very little protein. I like to select a “meatless” meat that give me at least 13 g. Many of the ideas suggested in the article meet my criteria.
      Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burger contains 5 g of protein, , their Kale burger 2 g, their Super Green burger 2 g.
      Getting the 46-60g of protein per day can be tough some days.

  2. My Son who is not vegan and I am love Dr. Preagers Black Bean and quinoa burger (plus they keep frozen for later) and Beyond Meats chicken strips. The Beyond Burger you have to cook right away.

  3. Great suggestions! Being new to veganism, my 18 yr old son and I are struggling to get enough protein. I’ve lost a lot of weight but am noticing my muscle tone is terrible. Even with exercise and working out, I know I need more protein options.

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