The world of plant-based meat is bigger than it has ever been. There are incredible amounts of vegan meats being produced every day, the very best of which you can find on our website. As veganism is relatively new, there is a lot of information being published about this way of eating and a lot of this information revolves around plant-based meat.
With most things, there are a lot of contradictions Some forms of non-animal meat have been around for a surprisingly long time. We will endeavour to give you some key info about each of these plant-based meats so you can make the decisions for yourself!
We will go through some of the key plant-based meat ingredients and some key questions like how is vegan meat made, how is beyond meat made, and some pros and cons of each. Needless to say, this whole discussion is formed around creating alternatives to animal products. Though plant-based meats have some downsides, in our opinion they are far less than those of animal meat products!
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Vegan meats made from vegan seitan and soy protein make up the majority of plant-based meat products. Seitan has an interesting history and one you might not expect. When thinking about how is fake meat made, you might not believe it goes back to 6th century China. It is thought that through the process of making noodles, meat-avoiding Buddhists were able to make meat out of gluten.
How it is made nowadays roughly involves separating the gluten from wheat. This powder is able to be mixed with stock to hydrate it into a dough, alongside spices, herbs, and any other flavourings.
Seitan is a popular base for vegan deli meats as it has a stretchy, crumbly texture. It absorbs flavour extremely well but it is particularly good at taking on colour. This incredible vegan bacon from Sweet Earth is one of our best seitan products. This makes it a favourite for producers when creating ‘life-like’ products.
Seitan is used all over the world, and still used in Asia as a meat replacement. Asian supermarkets around the world carry some fantastic seitan products with traditional spices and flavours. This Seitan product from Upton’s Naturals is a Western version of one of these products, but it is still fantastic! Seitan is often used as animal feed due to its high protein content.
Despite it being made from gluten, it is completely safe to eat as a human. As gluten is one of the plant-based meat ingredients here, it is not suitable for coeliac or gluten-intolerant people.
Soy protein is probably the second most common base for vegan meats. Soy protein has been used in the Western world since the 1930s and is often how is plant-based meat made. Soy protein is isolated from the soy plant, a legume that grows in large fields. This protein is then processed into one of its many uses.
When we think of soy protein, we are generally thinking of textured soy protein. Textured soy protein is the pieces of vegan chicken you might get in a pack. These pieces generally have an amazing texture and a subtle flavour. Textured soy protein is made from a dough of isolated soy protein flour and water.
This vegan ground pork is a fantastic meat alternative. The soy protein remains intact and can even develop a fantastic crust when cooked correctly. Products like these vegan chicken nuggets are quite common uses of soy as well. This product actually uses soy protein and wheat gluten in tandem to get the best of both worlds.
The process to create soy protein is quite lengthy and complicated. While soy protein is absolutely delicious in our opinion, it is not necessarily recommended to eat copious amounts of soy products.
Pea protein is a recent marvel spearheaded by Beyond Meat. Pea protein is less environmentally invasive than soy and it has less of an adverse effect when consumed in large quantities than both gluten and soy. Pea protein is becoming more and more widely used, but Beyond Meat has a patent on its signature recipe.
Pea protein is generally extracted from green and yellow split peas. The proteins are isolated, just like soy, and made into a powder. This powder is then developed into textured proteins with diverse applications. Pea protein is slightly lower in protein than soy but it is thought to be easier to digest.
The Beyond Meat patties were a big game changer in the vegan meat market. This revolutionary product brought a huge amount of attention to the vegan meat market and the benefits of a vegan diet. Their Beyond sausages are also out of this world.
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There aren’t that many other competitors to these proteins on the market, yet. Rice protein is often used, as is some other legume-based proteins. Watch this space though as we never know when the next game-changer is on the way!
We hope you have learned a little bit about the amazing world of vegan meats from this article. There is so much to learn and enjoy when it comes to plant-based meat. At PlantX, we have the very best selection of vegan meats at our online store.