Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

7 Satisfying and Healthy Meat Alternatives

Food
7 Satisfying and Healthy Meat Alternatives

More and more people are getting the idea that it's healthier for both us and for the climate to eat less meat. But they're not quite sure how to go about it. Will they have to eat what some have disparagingly called "bird food" and be stuck with food that never packs a tummy-satisfying punch?

Would you really miss meat with a dish like this on the table?
Photo credit: Shutterstock

That's not the case at all. Home chefs as well as restaurants are starting to take another look at what constitutes a hearty meat-free main dish. And they've discovered that even without resorting to those tastes-like-meat substitutes, which some feel is a good bridge food for those not quite ready to give up the taste of meat, there are plenty of things to plan a meal around that won't leave you hungry.

1. Often one of the first things to slip onto the menu of a place that specializes in burgers and sandwiches is the portobello sandwich. These dense mushrooms have been a popular meat stand-in for a while. But there's a whole host of these earthy fungi with an almost limitless variety of sizes, textures and flavors that can add heft to a meal.

2. Beans are another vegetable that come in too many varieties to keep track of. They're the real foundation of a chili, more so than the meat, and if you add the right vegetable accompaniments and herb seasonings, most might not even notice there's no meat in there. They're a mainstay of soups and stews, and they're known for the mighty nutritional value they carry, especially if you mix them up.

3. Eggplant is a vegetable some people are devoted to and a lot of people just don't really get. Its chunky pieces can take up a lot of room in a stew or stir fry, adding a little flavor or texture that doesn't overwhelm whatever surrounds it.

4. Tofu is a well-known vegetarian staple that adds bulk without adding a lot of taste of its own. It's gotten a bad rap for tasting like pencil erasers, but add your own favorite herbs and spices and it picks up their flavors and amplifies them. Or fry it to add some crunchy texture to a dish.

5. Lentils have been a staple of thick, satisfying vegetable soups forever. You have probably eaten them without even knowing it. They've been stepping up and taking a starring place in dishes since vegetarianism started to surge and people began to eat healthier. They're an excellent replacement for ground beef.

6. Olives are probably not the first food that comes to mind as a tummy-filler. But their flavor is so full and rich, it expands a dish well beyond what you'd expect from their small size. We know a chef who prepares a dish of black olives and fennel that's so rich, it has to be eaten very slowly or it overwhelms you.

7. Potatoes have long been though of as a reliable side dish but they can be the main event too. They can add the heft to a casserole or stew, mixing with carrots, onions, beans, turnips and other vegetables to create a complete meal.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

How Diet and Climate Change Are Intrinsically Linked

6 Things You Need to Know About Protein

Health Benefits of Eating Mushrooms

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly is perched next to an adult caterpillar on a milkweed plant, the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on and the caterpillar will eat. Cathy Keifer / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.

Read More Show Less