Plant Based Substitutes & Alternatives To Meat: A List

In the guide below, we’ve provided a list of potential plant based substitutes and alternatives to animal meat and animal derived proteins, along with some basic information on each.


*Note – the following guide contain general information only. See a qualified professional for an expert opinion before taking any action that may impact your health, nutrition, or any other areas of your life.


Summary – Plant Based Substitutes & Alternatives To Meat

What Are Meat Substitutes & Alternatives?

They are generally plant based foods (or, foods that aren’t derived from animals) that might be able to supplement or replace animal derived meat and protein in different ways


Plant Based Substitutes & Alternatives To Meat – A List

A list of some of the more common and not so common potential plant based substitutes and alternatives for meat might include:




Edamame Beans (Soybeans)


Other Plant Based Foods & Protein Sources

Plant Based Meat Products


The Nutrition & Health Impact Of Plant Based Meat Substitutes & Alternatives

When it comes to food consumption and food diets, each individual should do their own research, seek expert advice from a qualified professional, and make their own decision about what is best for them.

Different foods and diets such as meat only, plant based only, or a hybrid diet, may have different nutritional profiles, provide different nutritional benefits and drawbacks, and impact the health of different people differently. 

Some foods might be a suitable full or partial replacement for some animal meats & proteins for some people, whilst other foods might not be.



Tofu is made from soybeans.

There’s different textures of tofu, such as softer, firmer, and silken tofu. 

There’s also different flavors of tofu.

Tofu can be prepared in different ways, and can be used in different meals and dishes.

Several reports indicate that because tofu is derived from whole soybeans, it is a complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids.



Compared to tofu which is made from coagulated soy milk that has been pressed into solid blocks, tempeh is made from soybeans that have been fermented and compacted into a firm cake like substance.

Tofu isn’t naturally fermented, so this is another difference between the two, however some fermented tofu types do exist too.

Different types of tempeh exist, such as regular tempeh (which is mostly soybean), but multigrain, flax and other types of tempeh contain other ingredients. Tempeh made from different types of beans (mung, red, black and broad beans) also exist.

Like tofu, tempeh can be prepared and used in different ways as food.

Also like tofu, several reports indicate that tempeh is derived from whole soybeans and therefore is a complete protein with all nine amino acids. indicates that on a per serving basis, tempeh is more nutritious than tofu in some ways, whilst tofu is more nutritious in other ways.



Seitan is made from wheat gluten (the protein found in wheat)

Seitan is made by kneading wheat flour with water to make wheat dough, and this dough is then rinsed to remove the starch where only wheat gluten is left

For this reason, seitan is sometimes called wheat protein, or vital wheat gluten (which is what it might be called when used as an ingredient in other products) indicates that seitan contains all nine essential amino acids, but it contains little lysine – so, other lysine-rich foods may be needed to supplement what isn’t contained in seitan

For this reason, several reports indicate that seitan isn’t really a complete protein


Edamame Beans (Soybeans)

Edamame are immature/young soybeans that haven’t ripened or hardened yet

They can be eaten without processing or cooking, and come in several forms – shelled, in the pod, fresh, frozen, and so on

Several reports, such as the one from, indicate that edamame are a complete protein, contain all essential amino acids, and contain a good amount of other nutrition (which they outline in their report)

There was at least one report we came across from though that indicated that edamame ‘… provides only 6 of the 9 essential amino acids sufficiently – it is a little low on isoleucine, methionine and valine’



Jackfruit is a large tropical fruit.

It has a stringy inner flesh with edible seeds.

Some find that jackfruit flesh has a consistency that can be similar in some ways to the texture of meat. Some people prepare it in such a way that it can have some similarities to the texture of pulled pork (because of it’s stringiness)

However, according to, jackfruit might be low in calories, and might not have as much protein or fat as other plant based meat alternatives.

Several reports also indicate that jackfruit has a much lower amount of protein per serving or cup compared to meat.

So, jackfruit may be more of a meat alternative due to it’s texture, but might not be as suitable as an alternative when assessing it’s nutritional profile.


Other Plant Based Foods & Protein Sources

There’s several other plant based foods and protein sources that people may use a meat substitutes or alternatives.

They can include, but aren’t limited to:

– Other soy proteins

– Pea proteins

– Bean proteins

– Rice proteins

– Potato proteins

– And, other plant based protein sources from sources including but not limited to vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds has their own list of potential meat substitutes, which they have also sorted into categories


Plant Based Meat Products

Plant based meat products can come in different types and forms.

In general, they are pre-made products that are put through various processes during the manufacture stage to mimic the appearance, texture/consistency, and taste/flavor of real meat.

They usually include a plant protein primary ingredients, along with vegetable oil, and additives and other ingredients.

We’ve put together a list of potential pros and cons of plant based meats in this guide.




1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides












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