When it comes to creating a delicious meal for your friends or family, lamb is a popular choice for many people. But what if you or someone who is joining your dinner is a vegan?
If you typically serve lamb for various dinner options but find yourself in need of a substitute, you will need to do some research. Keep reading to find out some of the best alternatives to lamb.
When people think about vegan foods, one of the first things that come to mind is tofu. This is because tofu has been a staple for many who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Tofu is an excellent substitute for any lamb recipe you may enjoy during the holidays. With the varying levels of texture and firmness, tofu can soak up the flavoring of seasonings or marinade to mimic the taste of your favorite recipe.
Despite it being a meat substitute, tofu is actually made in a process that is more similar to cheesemaking. Soy milk that has been condensed is pressed into blocks, then scooped out to create the tofu you can buy in stores.
Tofu makes a great substitute for lamb because it is packed with various nutrients that make it a healthier option. It is high in protein and has various other nutrients and amino acids that your body needs daily.
Additionally, because tofu is available in various levels of firmness, it can be molded and cooked to the specifications of your favorite recipes. Depending on what you are attempting to make, your recipe may call for either silken, soft, or firm tofu. Paying close attention to this can make the difference between your meal becoming a success or a disaster.
Depending on the type of lamb you are attempting to replicate with a meat alternative, you may need to look for substitutes that have a different texture than tofu. This is why you may want to try using tempeh in your favorite lamb recipe.
Similar to tofu, tempeh is also made from soybeans. The difference is that for tempeh, the beans are not broken down into a milky consistency. The fermenting process used to make tempeh allows much of the nutrients and fiber to stay intact.
Because of the fermentation process used to make the tempeh, it is usually found packed into a brick-like cake when you purchase it. Keep in mind that once you have opened the package, it should be used within 4-5 days for the best results.
While the protein and nutrients are very similar to that of tofu, tempeh has a higher calorie count as well as higher amounts of protein and fiber. In addition, tempeh is not processed as heavily as tofu, which makes it a great alternative.
Many people enjoy the taste of a Lamb Gyro with a delicious Tzatziki sauce. But for those who are vegan, you can substitute the lamb with tempeh. The sliced tempeh can be seasoned while it cooks with the traditional seasonings, and when finished, can be a healthy alternative to the real thing.
Many people who want to find a substitute for lamb or other meat, but do not want to ingest a soy-based product, often turn to seitan as an alternative.
Seitan is a meat substitute that is made from vital wheat gluten. It provides an alternative that is high in protein, low in fat and calories, and gives food that chewy texture you would get from lamb or other meat.
When purchased in the store, seitan is typically already prepared and requires very little cooking, which makes it a great product to add as a lamb substitute in many soups or stews.
Additionally, you can sear it in a pan with your favorite seasonings and add it to any recipe that requires lamb as the primary ingredient.
Seitan is often substituted for lamb when someone has an allergy to soy-based products. Since it is made from wheat gluten, it can be eaten by those with certain sensitivities.
It is important to note that when buying seitan from the store already prepared, you should read the list of ingredients to ensure that it does not contain other allergens.
Because of its versatility, seitan can be added as a substitute for lamb in many popular recipes such as Lamb Stew or Gyros. The neutral taste of the product makes it a perfect substitute because of the ability to soak up any seasonings or marinades you may add.
Homemade Vegan Meat Substitute
Although some meat substitutes are available to purchase at your local market, some vegans prefer to make their own. This is because making your own means you know the exact ingredients that go into it.
Creating your own lamb substitute at home is a great way to ensure that you are using only healthy ingredients. Additionally, you have the option to add seasonings that you specifically enjoy.
Starting with vital wheat gluten, which is the same as what is used in seitan, you can make your own substitute for lamb in your favorite recipe. Finding the right ingredients may mean a trip to your local health food store.
Many people who enjoy a delicious lamb roast will enjoy the robust flavor that a homemade meat alternative can provide. This is because many of the ingredients can be added in before you cook it, making the flavors come through even more.
Ingredients such as pea protein, mushroom powder, beetroot powder, and various spices are mixed together to make a delicious lamb substitute. To make it firmer, like a roast, some people will add tofu skins prior to baking.
It is crucial to keep in mind that this option will not work for you if you are on a gluten-free diet, since the main ingredient is a gluten product.
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to lamb in a recipe, you may want to consider TVP.
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), despite the vegetable in the name, is made from soybeans. Unlike tofu and tempeh, however, TVP is the pasty remains of the process of making soybean oil. This paste is then dehydrated in the form of either granules or chunks.
When using TVP in your recipe, you must first rehydrate the granules or chunks in hot water or broth. Once this is done, it is easy to add to any recipe that may require lamb.
Oftentimes, TVP is used when the recipe calls for ground meat. So recipes such as lamb chili or lamb meatballs are a great time to use TVP as a substitute.
Textured Vegetable Protein is low in calories, but very rich in protein and other nutrients. TVP is also loaded with fiber which makes it a healthy option for many vegan meals.
Many vegans attempt to use varying ingredients in their recipes to replace flavors, nutrients, and proteins they may otherwise miss out on. This is why mushrooms tend to show up in many meals.
With their savory flavor and texture that is rich and meat-like, mushrooms are a great alternative to lamb in meals you enjoy. Mushrooms have a versatility that makes them a great choice for vegans to use.
When you are looking for a substitute for lamb in your favorite recipes, many vegans look no further than mushrooms. This is because, with the many varieties, mushrooms bring in different flavors that, when combined with seasonings, can be delicious.
Although they are not a great source of protein, mushrooms are rich in various vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants. Additionally, they do not contain fat or carbohydrates that you may find in other choices.
The natural flavoring of the mushroom, known as umami, adds a unique taste to any meal you may be trying to recreate. Depending on the recipe you are making, there are a variety of mushrooms that will make a great alternative to the lamb you would typically add.
Beans or Legumes
Many vegans, especially those just starting out in the vegan lifestyle, prefer to use beans or other legumes as a meat substitute in their meals. This is because they typically have a flavor that is recognizable to most people.
Beans and legumes are great sources of protein and can be substituted for lamb in any dish. They tend to be chewier and filling as well as being able to take in the flavors of marinades and other spices.
Whether you are adding them to a chili or stew or putting them in another favorite dish to substitute lamb, beans and legumes will not let you down. This is because they are packed with the protein and fiber you need to feel satisfied.
With so many bean and legume options available, you will find something that will fit the meal you are attempting to make. You may want to try them as a staple for a lamb burger or in your lamb stew. Whatever you decide, you cannot fail with beans or legumes as your substitute.
Everyone knows that vegetables should be an essential part of a healthy diet. Most experts agree that taking in a certain amount of vegetables throughout the day can lead to better health for people of all ages.
But did you know that you can use some vegetables as a meat substitute?
With its meaty, savory flavor and ability to adapt to different cooking methods, eggplant makes a great substitute for lamb in many recipes. In addition, because it is a vegetable, it is a healthy option for your meal.
Since eggplant can be prepared in various ways such as grilling, baking, roasting, and more, it has the potential to be one of the best alternatives to lamb. For this reason, any recipe you may make using lamb can be substituted with eggplant.
Packed with nutrients and, when the skin is left on, plenty of fiber, eggplant brings a feeling of fullness to any meal. As an added bonus, eggplant is free of fat and cholesterol you may find in other foods.
When you think about substitutes for meat, oftentimes people think of the common alternatives listed above. Almost never mentioned is a fruit being a great substitute for meat such as lamb.
Most known as tropical fruit, left unripened, Jackfruit can make an excellent alternative to lamb in many dishes. This is because, in this state, it has more of a mild flavor and somewhat stringy texture, which makes it great for recipes calling for shredded meat.
The fleshiness of the Jackfruit allows the flavor to be absorbed in a way that helps a meal taste as it should. The versatility of this fruit makes it a great addition to meals from every nationality with any number of spices and flavors.
When using jackfruit, some vegans prefer a chewier texture. This can be accomplished by roasting the fruit in the oven for a few minutes. Once this is done, it can be cooked according to your preference.
Although jackfruit does not have a lot of protein or other nutrients to add to your meal, it is packed with a lot of fiber. This means that using this fruit can help you to feel satisfied for quite a while after eating.
The great thing about jackfruit is that, in most cases, you can purchase it in the can at your local Asian grocery store. The canned variety is offered in the unripened state that is necessary for using it as a substitute for the lamb in your recipe.
The Bottom Line
Overall, whether you are a vegan or someone cooking for a vegan, you will be able to find plenty of substitutes to the lamb you might otherwise have prepared. With these flavor and texture alternatives, you won’t even notice the difference.
Although most vegans do not use these ingredients to help them feel like they are eating meat, they are great replacements for the protein, fiber, and nutrients they may lack.
Read Also: 10 Vegan Substitutes for Veal