If you'd like to work some meatless meals into your culinary repertoire, the experts at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter have the lowdown on four convenient (and tasty!) options:
- Tofu is made by curdling soymilk and pressing it into blocks. Firmer tofu works best as a meat substitute, as it can be baked, steamed, stir-fried or grilled without losing its shape. (For the meatiest texture, freeze and thaw the tofu before preparing it.)
- Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, has a chewy, dense texture and a tangy taste. (Braise it in broth before cooking to temper the tang.) Swap tempeh for chicken or veal in many recipes.
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is made from soy flour and comes in chunks or crumbles. Try it as a substitute for ground meat in sauces, chili and tacos.
- Wheat gluten (also called seitan) is made by separating high-protein gluten from the wheat flour. Prepared seitan comes in a variety of flavors and textures and can be braised, baked, roasted, stir-fried or used in stews. Look for it in your grocer's refrigerated section.
Meat substitutes can be high in sodium, so check labels carefully.
From our sister publication Diabetes Focus Spring 2015