(veggie) burgers and other analog recipes
August 22, 2014 6:35 AM   Subscribe

Which standard recipes, with meat as a key ingredient, have clear vegetarian analogs? Examples, to be clear: for every hamburger, there is a veggie burger (eggplant, cauliflower, etc). Chili con carne becomes chili sin carne. For meatloaf there is Neatloaf. What else should I be thinking of? "Buy fake meat" is not heading in the right direction; "google 'vegetarian [meaty food]'" is a realistic suggestion but which foods?
posted by whatzit to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm not sure I totally understand. Does something like veggie lasagne fit the bill? Or would it have to be something like "veggie schnitzel" (which, as far as I know, is not a thing)?
posted by OmieWise at 6:44 AM on August 22, 2014

Best answer: Tofu Pups

(PS they are not delicious.)
posted by something something at 6:48 AM on August 22, 2014

You might want to look to Chinese (Buddhist) vegetarian food.

Depending on what your question is-- I share OmieWise's uncertainty.
posted by BibiRose at 6:55 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Banh mi = tofu banh mi. Scrapple = vegan scrapple. Scrambled eggs = tofu scramble (well, sort of.) Haggis = vegetarian haggis (Butcher: "Ma'am, no, I wouldn't eat it"). Chicken tenders= ch'kn tenders. Pad Thai = pad Thai heavier on the tofu and eggs, or in one memorable festival case, tiny pink tofu shrimp slices.

There is pretty much an endless list of alternatives and replacements, and flavored tofu in the taste of/shape of meat has been a part of Chinese cuisine for at least a century or two. Outside of things like a filet, there's almost always some kind of vegetarian analog, though some are certainly more clever than others. Is there a specific style of cooking or goal that might help narrow it down?
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:56 AM on August 22, 2014

Best answer: The vegetarian meatball recipe from the Meatball Shop in New York [NYT link] actually did taste good, to my family of meat-eaters. (Unfortunately there was enough delicious parmesan in it that I had a migraine the next day, so meatballs made with real meat are safer and healthier for me.)
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 6:58 AM on August 22, 2014

Best answer: Your first example has the meat swapped for veg, your second leaves out the meat, the third has meat swapped for soy... I too am not getting it.

But if any of those ideas will do, there's an analogue for almost anything. Leave the meat out or swap in veg.

Mushroom wellington is a thing that comes to mind as a recipe popular in its own right that's based off a classic meat recipe.
posted by kmennie at 6:59 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Veggie scotch eggs use chickpeas instead of sausage and are pretty good. Are you looking for recipes or things you can buy off the shelf?
posted by jessamyn at 7:01 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Vegan bacon made from coconut and liquid smoke
posted by soelo at 7:02 AM on August 22, 2014

Simply Heavenly!: The Monastery Vegetarian Cookbook is rumored to have a large number of (good) recipes for various fake meats. I don't own it, though, so I don't know first-hand.
posted by alex1965 at 7:06 AM on August 22, 2014

We make lentil sloppy joes and they're delicious. I'd link to a recipe, but we tend to mash up a few of them to suit our taste.

Mark Bittman has a recipe for tofu chorizo that makes a very satisfying taco.
posted by juliapangolin at 7:07 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tuno instead of tuna. I've never had it but the name haunts my dreams.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:15 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seitan can stand in for beef or chicken in many cases. For example, jerk seitan.

Also, vegan sausage is totally a thing.

Vegan Dad has a lot of faux meat/dairy recipes, including tofu chops, chicken less hot wings, and tempeh meatballs.

So, really, people can and will vegan/vegetarianize just about anything.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:18 AM on August 22, 2014

Agreed with everyone that this is an incredibly vague question and that I don't know if my answer fits but:

Mexican food is really adaptable, and in fact uses very little/none of the ground cumin-soaked greasebeef Tex-Mex is full of. Lots of people don't eat meat for every meal and there's lots of plant based ingredients that get used instead.

Roast cippolini onions become incredibly savory and sweet, with a completely different profile from any other onion dish. Alone, or mixed with roast sweet potato, they're a great savory main dish; I love them as the filling in tacos.

Mexican cuisine uses huitlacoche (wheat-la-coach-ay) as a filling in quesadillas, tacos, etc. It's also known as "corn smut" and people get grossed out by the name and photos of it canned (EVERYTHING is gross canned, guys) but if you stop thinking of is as a fungus and think of it as "mushrooms that grow on corn instead of in poopdirt" you can see why it's an excellent alternative to meat fillings.

Other items are flor de calabeza (often used with the herb epazote for more savory flavor; think of a quesadilla with wilted squash blossoms and herbal leaves melted in) and nopalitos, which is skinned and cubed cactus.

My family filled taquitos with mashed potatoes 99% of the time. Much cheaper and easier to stretch to feed a big family than chicken taquitos, for example.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:23 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: So I'm understanding you to mean you want vegetarian versions of things that are fundamentally meat dishes and that fake meat flat out doesn't count (and that just subbing seitan probably shouldn't count either).

There are a couple vegetarian shepherd's pie recipes out there (Veganomicon has one, Delia Smith has one for starters) using lentils for the meat (see the sloppy joe's mention above).

There are going to be various 'nut loaves/roasts' that take the place of meatloaf or roasts. Again check Delia Smith. In the premade world, there's 'Celebration Field Roast', which I think is quite nice, but it's pricey.

There's a bean ball recipe in Veganomicon for anything meatball-requiring.

Quite a few Indian dishes are somewhat independent of the choice of protein, so maybe shouldn't count as fundamentally meat dishes.

Basically, go get yourself a copy of Veganomicon (or just google recipes from it (some of which were from the Post-Punk Kitchen originally anyway)). I have a Delia Smith cookbook that's a selection of her vegetarian recipes, which is why I keep mentioning her, but I wouldn't necessarily start there.
posted by hoyland at 7:25 AM on August 22, 2014

Best answer: I'm also not entirely sure how to answer, but I am extremely enthusiastic about adapting non-veg*n recipes to be veg*n, so here goes!

VegWeb's 'meat and dairy alternatives' recipe collection should have a lot of the kind of recipes you're looking for -- stroganoff, meatballs, chik'n & biscuits, etc.

A few of my specific favorites, all vegan unless otherwise noted:
vegetarian 'Beef' Wellington
vegetarian malai kofta
vegetarian tuna salad (vegan if made with Veganaise)
vegetarian taco meat
vegetarian sloppy joes
vegetarian chicken piccata (can be made with chickpeas instead of seitan)
vegetarian biscuits and sausage gravy

If you're looking for store-bought vegetarian meat analogs, there's Upton's Naturals (faux bacon, chorizo, and beef), Gardein (faux chicken, beef, turkey, and fish), Viana (all kinds of faux stuff; their veggie Döner Kebap is great), Neat (faux beef), Beyond Meat (faux chicken), Sophie's Kitchen (faux seafood), and Cavi-Art (faux caviar!) among many, many others.

Field Roast is not trying to be fake meat but it's the best store-bought processed vegetarian protein I've ever had. I know it's super old school, but I'm still 100% ride or die for Tofurky. And May Wah Vegetarian Market has every kind of faux meat you could ever want and then some. Their drumsticks are a perennial fave, and they're served in restaurants all over the U.S.

Soy Curls aren't a meat analog exactly, but they are definitely fantastic in any recipe where you would use beef or chicken (stir fry, BBQ, fajitas). They're also used to make the best vegetarian beef jerky on the planet: Louisville Vegan Jerky Company. The Bourbon Smoked Black Pepper flavor is out of this world.

Vegetarianism/veganism has been ascendant for the past handful of years, so it's a great time to try your hand at whipping up a batch of homemade seitan and/or checking out your local health food store/co-op/Whole Foods' frozen fake meat section and bulk bins (for stuff like vital wheat gluten, TVP, nutritional yeast, etc.). The PPK will handle the rest.

Source: Vegan for 10+ years, vegetarian for a few years before that, and an overwhelmingly meat-focused omnivore for all of the years before that.
posted by divined by radio at 7:31 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Eggplant parmagiana instead of chicken.
posted by kjs4 at 7:34 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

soy curls look a lot like fajita chicken or beef, or stir-fried strips of meat.

Several of my area Thai restaurants offer mock duck as a protein.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:59 AM on August 22, 2014

Seitan can stand in for beef or chicken in many cases

We call my sister's annual Christmas roasted seitan "Roast Beest."

I generally have egg and chips instead of fish and chips.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:05 AM on August 22, 2014

Best answer: I found these vegan empanadas to be extremely "meaty" due to the savory olives and cocoa powder plus the texture of the TVP. The actual empanadas are a lot of work, but you can make a batch and freeze some, or just make the filling as a mix-in for pasta, rice, etc.
posted by Frowner at 8:07 AM on August 22, 2014

Due to a sudden influx of a billion zucchinis a few summers back I made these zucchini enchiladas. Normally I would make chicken enchiladas. They were actually really good.
posted by phunniemee at 8:09 AM on August 22, 2014

Best answer: Recipe for "pulled pork" jackfruit chosen at random from a search.
posted by rtha at 8:13 AM on August 22, 2014

Adventures in Fake Meat hasn't updated in a couple of years, but it sill may be of use.
posted by ephemerista at 8:53 AM on August 22, 2014

Ming Tsai's Beef and Broccoli (no beef)
posted by czytm at 8:56 AM on August 22, 2014

(That jackfruit recipe looks super interesting - I did not know that green/young jackfruit was not sweet, or that it is available canned, or that it is used in savory dishes.)
posted by Frowner at 9:13 AM on August 22, 2014

The Yard House, a chain of faux brewpubs, has an entire menu of dishes made with Gardein that mimic typical midrange restaurant dishes.
posted by BibiRose at 9:15 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I wish I could have been clearer, I really tried! As kmennie noted, there are different ways to make the meaty-meat dish into something else, and even those of you who weren't sure if you understood it, were understanding it.

Within the scope I imagined, I am especially liking the recipes for the tofu pups, vegetarian meatballs, "meaty" empanadas, "beef" wellington, tuna salad, and taco meat. For the most part, they're not straight-up replacing the meat with fake meat. There's some creativity in the conversion.

But outside of what I imagined, honestly, a lot of these sound good, and I'll be trying them, too (Malai kofta)! Some of them are definitely beyond my imagination, which means I have to try them, too (I'm looking at you, bbq pulled jackfruit!).
posted by whatzit at 10:38 AM on August 22, 2014

Response by poster: (Also, I really appreciate the effort y'all go to in your responses here. Maybe, like me, you get done writing and wonder who would read something that long. I do, and rest assured that I do use a lot of the recipes and books proposed. Some of my favorite recipes (garlic-cashew broccoli, spinach catalana) and books (The Saucy Vegetarian) came from AskMe, and some of these will probably join them!
posted by whatzit at 10:42 AM on August 22, 2014

vegetarian lasagna is a classic.

soy-based cold cuts (Tofurkey - roasted, smoked, peppered; Yves fake ham; etc. etc.) are wonderful because they add flavor and texture to a sandwich but, if you also use lettuce, tomato, etc., will not be so prominent that the differences from meat are so noticeable.

Learn to make marinated baked tofu, and you will have some great and convenient meals in your future. (e.g. BBQ-style sandwiches, etc.)
posted by amtho at 10:52 AM on August 22, 2014

Jackfruit and eggplant can both substitute for various kinds of meat. Jackfruit most often substitutes for shredded chicken or pork.

Eggplant carnitas

Jackfruit tacos
posted by erst at 11:54 AM on August 22, 2014

Best answer: Ahh sorry I didn't realize you wanted recipes! Mushroom bourguignon is rich and delicious. This recipe for barbecued lentils is so good (though I always end up pre-cooking the sweet potato ahead of time.) It's a very good swap for sloppy joes. I've also had mushroom scrapple-- sort of mushroom mash with this deep umani and shallot flavor in a light crust, like a flat mushroom fritter.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:06 PM on August 22, 2014

This recipe for marinated portabello caps on the grill is the closest tasting substitute to a proper hamburger that I've had. It's been a real hit all summer. Just cut the balsamic way down and make sure the top gets hot enough to cook the garlic.
posted by smackfu at 12:17 PM on August 22, 2014

The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions may interest you. It's not just about substituting meat, also dairy, eggs etc., but it does have recipes for meat substitutes, and also general info about how to substitute meat in recipes, store bought products to check out, etc. Joni Newman, one of the authors, has a blog with lots of recipes.
posted by blub at 5:35 AM on August 23, 2014

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