The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

There are so many delicious plant-based alternatives that offer meaty satisfaction—and we’ve got the easy recipes to go with them.


All members of the legume family are packed with fibre, and they are the superstars of the meat substitute world. We’ve put together a handy guide on ‘Legumes... the perfect meat substitute, which tells you ways to swap lentils for ground meat, use chickpeas in place of chicken, and more.


Creamy blocks of tofu have been used as meat substitutes in Asia for thousands of years because they can take on so many different flavours and textures. Crumbled, tofu can be used like ground meat. Cubed, it can be roasted until firm and crispy. Since tofu absorbs whatever flavours it’s paired with, you can use it as a beef, chicken, pork, seafood, or egg substitute. One thing to note is that tofu is relatively high in fat, so Healthier for Life recommends eating in moderation. Try our simply delicious, quick and easy fake-away recipe - Tofu and sweet potato curry with rice! You can also get silken tofu which is creamier works well in desserts.


Made from fermented soybeans, blocks of tempeh have a hearty, chewy texture. Like tofu, tempeh soaks up flavours from marinades, sauces, and cooking liquids. Cubes and slices of tempeh can be baked, roasted, steamed, or added to stews. Crumbled or chopped tempeh makes a tasty stand-in for ground meat in chilli, burgers, and taco fillings. Because it is made from soybeans, tempeh is relatively high in fat so it’s best to enjoy it in moderation. Try our Tomato, caper and olive tempeh recipe, you will not be disappointed!


As long as you’re not gluten-free, you can turn to seitan for the most meat-like textured alternative. Seitan is processed wheat gluten and it is a great source of protein. Depending on how you flavour it, seitan can be similar to chicken, beef, or pork. Seitan has a dense, chewy texture that can hold up to grilling, frying, braising, or anything else you want to do with it. Making your own seitan is easier than you may think, we have a great recipe here. Once you have mastered your seitan, give our sticky chilli fingers with rice and veg a try!


Yes, we said fruit! Jackfruit may be a healthy tropical fruit, but its texture and mild taste make it a wonderful stand-in for meat. Jackfruit has a slight sweet taste (some say similar to pineapple) but is a blank canvas and can be flavoured any way you like best. It works as a great alternative for ‘pulled pork’. Give our Broghie spicy pulled jackfruit with quinoa & seed salad a go!


From cauliflower steaks to carrot burgers and beet-balls to simply mushrooms, veggies make for stunning substitutes in traditionally meaty dishes. For maximum satisfaction, keep the veggies large and chunky. Give our roasted roots with chilli and lime pasta a go!


A quick and convenient way to adapt your favourite meals is to use a meat alternative. The choices for mock meats are growing rapidly with many plant-based brands such as Quorn, Beyond Meat, THIS and Wicked Kitchen. It can be really practical if you’re the only vegan in a household of meat-eaters. Some meat eaters say they can’t even tell the difference! However, watch the labels. Some mock meats are usually processed and can be high in fats. Try our Naan bread pizza’s made with ‘What the Cluck’ chunks in replacement of chicken!