When I look for meat substitutes I typically try to look for ones with relatively few (less than 15) ingredients, all of which I know by name. Some vegan meat substitutes have a lot of additives and preservatives which can defeat the purpose of switching to those for health reasons. Here are few substitutes I have found and liked (in no particular order), with some cooking tips to make them even tastier:
- Lightlife hot dogs: Relatively simple and understandable ingredient list, gluten free, low fat/carb (2g of each per serving), and relatively high protein (8g per serving)
I have not had great success grilling these (haven't found a way to keep them from sticking), so I typically pan fry them in a nonstick pan with a very small amount of olive oil (~1 tsp). Often I will slice them lengthwise in half to maximize the surface area that browns (adds more flavor) and they still fit in a bun that way if you prefer that.
- Beyond Meat Burger Patties: Relatively simple and understandable ingredient list, gluten/soy free, lower carb (7g per serving), and a great source of protein (20g per serving)
I know you mentioned Beyond Meat in your question, so you may have done this, but these are especially good grilled as opposed to being cooked on a stovetop. The char and smokey flavor makes a huge difference taste wise. I have made these for my partner (big meat eater) and he said he could hardly tell the difference between these and a meat patty.
Tip: Do NOT smell these before cooking, they have an unappetizing smell when they are raw (IMO and according to my friends who have also tried them).
The Beyond Meat Meatballs are also a nice addition to pasta dishes. They are similar to the Beyond Meat patties in flavor and ingredients. Again, make sure you let them brown in the oven or pan to maximize flavor.
Trader Joe's Falafel Mix: Gluten free, low fat (2g per serving), but higher carb (28g per serving), decent protein (12g per serving). When browned nicely, these are a great meat substitute.
Thinly sliced, oven-baked extra firm tofu (I add wheat-free soy sauce and sesame seeds after baking and serve with sautéed veggies and rice). Just another one of my go-tos. I like to coat the pieces in olive oil and a thin layer of cornstarch before baking to make them extra crispy.
Adding any condiments, spices, or sauces you like to any of these options obviously helps with the taste. At the end of the day, you can't go wrong with unprocessed substitutes like eggplant, squash, potatoes, beans, etc. that have good flavor without the additives. After many conversations with my vegan/vegetarian friends, many "meat substitutes" lead to disappointment because they're rarely going to taste like the real thing. But hopefully some of these help!