How to Cook Vegetables That Taste Like Meat

What Vegetables Taste The Most Like Meat?

One of the biggest issues people have when they change their diets from a meat eating diet to a vegan or vegetarian diet is trying to stay away from some of their favorite unhealthy and meaty foods. Finding healthy meat substitutes packed full of the nutrients lost when switching to a vegetarian diet can be hard enough and finding healthy meat substitutes that actually have the taste and texture of meat may seem impossible. But there are a number of foods that can be prepared to have the same texture and taste as some of your favorite meats.

Eggplant – This vegetable is loaded with potassium and antioxidants and when prepared correctly, can be a great substitute for many Italian dishes.

Tofu – While not exactly a vegetable, this bean curd made from coagulated soy milk is perfect for substituting into a dish that commonly calls for chicken.

Portobella mushrooms – Toss some portobella mushrooms on the grill, close your eyes, take a bite and pretend you are cheating on your diet with a steak. When prepared correctly, these mushrooms have the same consistency as a medium steak.

How to Cook Vegetables That Taste Like Meat

Tofu, seitan and tempeh are great substitutes for meat, along with portobello mushrooms and eggplant, and can be added to numerous dishes like chili and lentil soup.

Tofu vs Tempeh vs Seitan: Which Tastes The Most Like Beef?

Trying to discern if tofu, tempeh or seitan tastes like beef and which one is the closest to the taste of beef, can be hard to do. It is all up to the taste buds of each particular person. Tofu, as stated above, is a bean curd made from coagulated soy milk. It has the same texture as many kinds of beef and can be seasoned to taste like a number of different meats, from chicken to steak to turkey.

Tempeh, which is made from cooked and fermented soy, may be the most like a burger. It can be prepared in a number of ways, from steaming to sautéing to baking, and is a great source of vitamin B12, iron and calcium.

Seitan is described best as a wheat meat and is most commonly referred to as the best meat substitute that tastes like real meat.

How to Make Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

Even with all those meat substitutes, the best kind of food for a vegetarian is vegetables. The following is a recipe for a vegetarian three bean chili recipe from Dr. Oz:

Dr Oz Three Bean Chili Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb firm tofu, frozen, then defrosted
  • 2 tbsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 10 oz frozen onions
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli, thawed and finely chopped
  • 3 cups frozen cauliflower, thawed and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked red beans, or 1 (15 oz) can red bean
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped mild green chilies, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 large zucchini, finely chopped

Dr Oz Three Bean Chili Directions:

  • Squeeze excess water out of thawed tofu and crumble. Place the crumbled tofu, chili powder and cumin in a soup pot and quickly brown. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

Vegetarian Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie Recipe (Tastes Like Meat!)

The following is another recipe from Dr. Oz, which has been tweaked a little bit, for a vegetarian mushroom shepherd’s pie:

Dr Oz Vegetarian Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup Silk Unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup Silk Unsweetened
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
Dr Oz Vegetarian Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. In a large saucepan, boil potatoes and 2 cloves garlic in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and garlic, return to saucepan and mash with a potato masher. Stir in Silk, butter or olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • While potatoes are cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and sauté until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and tomato paste, stirring until liquid reduces, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir for 1 minute. Slowly add Silk, stirring continuously until completely combined. Add beef stock and Worcestershire, simmering for 3-4 minutes. Remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon beef mixture into prepared baking dish and top with mashed potatoes, leaving a half-inch border around the edges. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are brown and juices bubble around the edges. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Vegetarian Lentil Soup That Tastes Like Meat

If your meat-tooth has yet to be satisfied, try the vegetarian lentil soup recipe below.

Vegetarian Lentil Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • dash salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Vegetarian Lentil Soup Directions:

  • In a large pot, saute the onions and carrot in the vegetable oil for 3-5 minutes until the onions turn clear.
  • Add the vegetable broth, lentils, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and salt.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves and stir in lemon juice before serving.
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