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I have recently changed to a plant based diet primarily for health reasons. I have coronary artery disease and I am not convinced that statin drugs alone are enough. I am wondering what are the best meat substitutes out there?

I recently tried Ozo because that is what they had the store and it looked good. It does have a funky taste that takes getting used to, adding spices and other flavors helps. I also tried beyond meat once and thought it was good.

I do not want any thing with wheat gluten which seems very common. I do not have problems with gluten but would prefer to not eat it straight up unless it is really worth while.

Other things I am aware of are tofu which I already eat a lot, tempeh which I do not but will try it.

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    What country or region do you live in? What's available will depend on that. For example, I live in India where there's a very limited (but gradually increasing) choice of this type of product, but I have also lived in the UK where there are innumerable options for every possible preference.
    – Zanna
    Mar 24, 2022 at 8:20
  • You don't necessarily need highly processed meat substitutes. Vegetarians and vegans have been around longer than theses products.
    – badjohn
    Mar 30, 2022 at 12:39
  • For meat substitutes I mostly prefer TVP ground up like vegeburger. I use quite a bit of gluten to hold things together when making patties. TVP veggieburgers taste as good as Beyond Meat and are a fraction of the cost. I prefer Fried tofu to mushy Tofu. Morning Star I think makes the best veggiebacon, Their other meat substitutes are also good. We have a few Jackfruit trees in our garden but I am not keen on them as a meat substitute. Every once and a while I get a craving for veggiedogs. Most of the off the shelf ones I have tasted are okay. Apr 28, 2022 at 17:38

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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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

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