Want to have a vegetarian diet but would miss the taste of meat? Here are some great replacements

If you want to embrace a plant-based diet but still want the taste and flavour of chicken and meat, here are some healthy, cost-effective replacements that taste (almost) the same!


Team KT

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Published: Thu 18 May 2023, 12:13 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 May 2023, 12:20 PM

Be it for the environment, for religious reasons, or for one’s health, many are moving towards a more plant-based diet. While this does not mean that you need to become vegan or vegetarian overnight, a plant-based diet has been proven to improve gut health and reduce inflammation. It also helps people on their mission to lose weight and increase fibre in their diet.

If you’ve wanted to go the vegetarian route, or even reduce the amount of meat and eggs you consume, here are some great vegetarian substitutes for popular non-vegetarian food that will help in making the shift:

Replacement for Eggs

For many who want to opt out of eating eggs, one of the issues they face is finding adequate replacements for eggs for cooking. Have no worries because the following 8 alternatives prove to be great stand-ins for eggs while cooking or baking:

•Aquafaba (Chickpea water)

•Flaxseeds with water

•Chia seeds with water

•Silken tofu

•Unsweetened applesauce

•Ripe mashed bananas

•Soy yoghurt

•Pumpkin puree

Add any of the above for a fluffy, light addition that will help your cakes and madeleines rise!

Replacements for Chicken/Meat


Tofu is a soy-based product which is one of the most versatile vegetarian substitutes for meat. Tofu can be frozen for up to 5 months and can be eaten grilled, stir-fried, baked, or used in soups and stews. It's extremely high in protein and tastes delicious with some spice.

Some great tofu dishes are Stir-fried Tofu, Marinated Tofu, Baked tofu, Tofu Katsu curry, Tofu Soup, etc.


Paneer and Tofu are similar in texture, the only difference being that paneer is a type of cheese and is slightly more absorbent than tofu. It is also a popular plant-based replacement of meat highly favoured in South-East Asia – especially India – and is a high source of protein and nutrients.

Some popular Paneer dishes that you could try include Paneer Butter Masala, Kadhai Paneer, Paneer Tikka, Shahi Paneer, Malai Kofta, etc.


Derived from fermented soybeans, Tempeh provides a dense texture and a rich, nutty flavour. It is an excellent substitute for beef or other red meats. Tempeh can be cooked in a variety of ways; marinated, grilled, sautéed, or crumbled as a ground meat substitute, making it a popular choice for tacos, stir-fries, or stews.

Some tasty Tempeh recipes include Marinated Tempeh, Teriyaki Tempeh, Baked Tempeh, Tempeh Sandwiches, and yummy Tempeh Rice Bowls.


Malaysian Rendang Jackfruit Tacos is a great taco recipe that incorporates jackfruit as a replacement.
Malaysian Rendang Jackfruit Tacos is a great taco recipe that incorporates jackfruit as a replacement.

What if we tell you that jackfruit can be disguised as a pretty good meat substitute? Because of its lack of strong taste and stringy texture, jackfruit can be cooked to resemble pulled red meat like beef, and even chicken. Not only are jackfruits low in calories, but they also have many health benefits like vitamins C and B, fibre, as well as high protein content. Don’t believe us? Try a pulled jackfruit taco to be convinced! While it’s not the same as a bite of chicken or meat, it’s still a very convincing replacement.

Some other recipes that you could try incorporating jackfruit include Malaysian Rendang Tacos, Jackfruit Stews, BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches, etc.


A burger made with a crushed chickpea patty.
A burger made with a crushed chickpea patty.

Another very popular replacement for meat is chickpeas. Cooking ground chickpea with rice flour, soy sauce (or any flavorful sauce of your choice) and air frying or baking it will give you a meat replacement that has both the texture and flavour of meat. In fact, chickpeas do such a good job at imitating meat that many vegan restaurants use chickpeas to resemble the taste and feel of chicken. Adding liquid smoke to the cooking process gives it that smoky flavour that meat has.

Some imitation “meat” recipes that you could cook with chickpeas are Chickpea Salad, Chickpea Tacos, Chickpea Pasta, Chickpea Sandwiches, and even Chickpea “Meatballs".


This is a classic Indian favourite for those who don’t consume meat. The bland taste and texture of cauliflower help in making it a pretty good meat replacement that is high in many nutrients and low in calories.

You can use cauliflower in making Cauliflower "Meat" Burgers, Minced Cauliflower Rice, Cauliflower Wings, and Sandwiches, not to forget the extremely popular Indian dish of Gobi Manchurian!

Some other foods that you could use as chicken/meat substitutes include eggplant, soya, beans and other legumes, etc. It’s easy to embrace a plant-based diet with a variety of cost-friendly ingredients and cooking methods in practice today. This weekend, why don’t you cook a meat substitute recipe and see if your loved ones can tell the difference from real meat?

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