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Faux Meat - Recommendations

For some reason, I never really thought about purchasing the fake meat products - the kinds that are supposed to mimic meat texture and taste) - until last fall. Since then I have made a very good pasta sauce using Morningstar Crumbles (added lots of fennel seeds when sauteing the onions and garlic), a decent set of Italian "sausage" sandwiches using some off-brand tofu sausages, and Amy's frozen veggie patties for burgers.

But now's the time to branch out. A friend has recommended the "chicken" tenders at Trader Joe's, so they're on the list. What other brands / types of fake meat should I be looking for? I'm fine with doctoring-up to increase flavor profiles as needed.

Many thanks!

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  1. Here are some of the faux meats I use often and have been happy with:
    -Gardein beef tips: for stews, and "beef" braises
    -Worthington Loma Linda Big Franks: My favorite veggie hot dog!
    -Original Gardenburger patty: for veggie burgers. I actually like that this particular patty does try to mimic meat...its just veggies, grains/brown rice, etc.
    -soyrizo: I've tried Trader Joe's, El Burrito, and Melissa's version and they're all good. TJ's version is more crumbly while the other two are more mushy.
    -morningstar farms meal starter chick'n strips or Quorn chick'n cutlets: I substitute with these in all recipes that call for chicken.
    -gimme lean sausage: really good substitute for ground sausage

    2 Replies
    1. re: yummfood

      yes! what you say about the gardenburger patties is exactly why I like them. They don't try to mimic meat. That's why I like Gardenburger and Dr. Praeger's brands.

      1. re: yummfood

        Morning Star's original sausage patties are very tasty and the texture is close enough. Not vegan because the ingredients include egg whites.

        I've used TJ's non-meat chorizo and it works for me.

      2. Trader Joe's Italian sausage is very good as are their meatballs (both work great over pasta). SoyRizo is also really great, it's a looser-than-chorizo substitute, but it crisps up nicely in a skillet and works especially well with eggs.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ferret

          Another vote for Soyrizo. Very versatile add-in for omelets, soups/stews, etc.

          1. re: HDinCentralME

            I've gotten Soyrizo in CA--loved it--but haven't seen in NYC

            1. re: JanetG

              Janet, all the Trader Joe's I've been to in NYC have had Soyrizo. It's in the refrigerated section with other fake meats, tofu, tempeh, etc. If you don't see it, ask--don't miss out!

              1. re: herring

                imho, the El Burrito has the best that I've tried:

                http://www.elburrito.com/soyrizo.html

                Be sure it's not the Trader Joe version of Soyrizo - its texture is weird and the flavor balance is not nearly as balanced as El Burrito's...

                http://veggiefoodlover.wordpress.com/...

                1. re: herring

                  I am not a vegetarian but I do like to limit my meat intake. Having read so many raves for Soyrizo, I looked at the package. The sodium content is extremely high. I put it back - that much salt makes it, for me, almost as unhealthy as a fatty meat sausage.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I've found the sodium level of Soyrizo to be in line if not better than typical meat sausages found in stores. I know sausages in general are not health food, but I'd imagine if one is on a vegetarian diet, this is a nice way of satiating those protein cravings. Here's the nutritional info from a readily available meat sausage:

                    http://www.aidells.com/product/5

                    Compared to Mexican chorizo, it's definitely a healthier alternative. Scroll down to El Burrito's comparative info chart:

                    http://www.elburrito.com/ElBurritoPri...

                    Here's a random nutritional info chart on Mexican chorizo:

                    http://www.calories-nutrition.buddysl...

                    If one is on a salt-restricted diet, then sausage is probably on the no-fly list regardless. Otherwise, why not...

          2. TIVALL, TIVALL, TIVALL--- Buy from a Kosher store (only sold in Kosher stores). Amazing stuff!

            7 Replies
            1. re: marissaj

              marissaj, is Tivall vegan, i.e., does it have egg?

              1. re: JanetG

                Tivall is not vegan because it contains eggs (or at least egg-based product). It does not contain any dairy though.

              2. re: marissaj

                Tivall is owned by Osem. I tried to find where Tivall is sold in the US, but so far no luck. Do you or does anyone have any info? Thanks.

                1. re: mrsdebdav

                  I would check your local kosher supermarkets - I know here in Chicago I have seen them at Hungarian Kosher in Skokie -

                  1. re: weinstein5

                    Thanks! I'll try the local Kosher markets here in suburban NY. I get to Chi a few times a year, so if no luck in NY, Skokie here I come.
                    Anything particular product recs?

                    1. re: mrsdebdav

                      To be honest have not tried it yet but it is on my list - I do like Upton Naturals Seitan Products which are also available at Hungarians - http://www.uptonsnaturals.com/

                      1. re: mrsdebdav

                        If you feel comfortable saying more specifically where you are, I can point you in the right direction. I keep kosher and am vegetarian.

                2. Fieldroast sausages (http://www.fieldroast.com/products/re...
                  )are the best and are the only faux meat that I buy. The chipotle mexican flavor is good in place of chorizo. I've read really good reviews of the Fieldroast frankfurters and I'm excited to try them on my next camping trip :) The other veggie dogs that I've tried (Smart Dogs, Tofu Pups, Yves...) were really not good. They reminded me instantly of the hot dog pieces in Spaghetti-Os and there is a reason I haven't eaten that since childhood!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: jennymoon

                    I love Yves ground round. Trader Joes has a similar on. I use it in tacos all the time. So good. I'm not a Dan of Gimme Lean, but my friend uses the original flavor to make decent meatballs.

                    I'm a big fan of Tivall, too! And I grew up on Lona Linda; love them still!

                    1. re: jennymoon

                      Fieldroast sausages -- another vote. Flavor is delicious on its own, texture pleasant and familiar, holds its shape well.

                      1. re: jennymoon

                        completely concur with your assessment about the abysmal state of the phoney-meat hot dogs.
                        i would LOVE it if one of these companies would make one that actually tasted good.
                        preferably it would also be made with non-gmo products. . . .

                        a girl can dream, can't she?

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Vegetarian corn dogs on the other hand are amazing. Morningstar's version was just so good. Too bad it has egg in it. My meateating brothers always stole them though, which pissed me off.

                          2. re: jennymoon

                            I agree--the Field Roast sausages are the best mock sausage by a wide margin. I like the Morningstar farms breakfast patties for weekend brunch, but most of the rest are terrible. A good sausage should be be loaded with fat and spices, not some soft, tasteless mushy thing.

                          3. Upton Naturals makes excellent seitan suasages - chorizo and itialian - http://www.uptonsnaturals.com/