Soy Meat Substitutes

Lately there has been so much hype about going “meatless” and adapting vegetarian or plant-based diets. I, myself, am included in this plant-based revolution (I say plant-based and not vegetarian because I still do consume meat on occasion). Last summer I got hooked on meat substitutes like Boca/Morning Star Burgers and veggie protein crumbles. Since then they have grown quite a lot in popularity among non-meat eaters and meat eaters alike.

So, what is all the hype with these meat substitutes?

Are they really good for you, or are they just processed junk?

Well, let’s investigate, shall we?

So, how does soy compare to the real thing?

English: Flax bagel, soy cheese, lettuce, must...
English: Flax bagel, soy cheese, lettuce, mustard, tomato, Yves veggie burger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Soy has added nutritional benefits beyond protein such as B-vitamins, iron, and isoflavioids.
  • Soy protein and meat contain the same amount of protein, but soy has no fat.  The lack of fat typically leads to a lower calorie content in the soy product.  It is also high in fiber.
  • Real meat has been linked to heart disease and some forms of cancer. Soy protein can help reduce total and LDL (the bad stuff) cholesterol.
  • Many times, soy meat is actually cheaper than real meat (Case in point: I got a box Boca Burgers for $1.50 because they were on sale for $2.50 and I had a $1 off coupon… can you tell I am a college student?)
  • The taste of meat substitutes is a little different than real meat, so that one is chalked up to personal preference. (I actually like the taste of soy protein better for some reason, I can’t quite put my finger on why)

One thing to look out for: Fillers! As you can see, soy has tons of health benefits. It is important to look at the ingredients list and nutrition label of any product you purchase. You will want to make sure that the company you are contemplating purchasing from does not add fillers to their meat substitutes. These fillers will defeat the positive aspects and crank up the carbohydrate content.

My advice: Go meatless!! It is tasty, good for the environment, and good for your wallet. Here is one of my favorite made-up skillfully developed recipes:

Egg white and Soy crumble scramble

  • 2-3 egg whites
  • ½ cup Soy protein veggie crumbles
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ cup mushrooms

Brown the “meat” in a skillet over medium heat. Add spinach until wilted. Add mushrooms. Once that is cooked nicely add the egg whites. Continue to heat over medium heat until egg whites are cooked thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper, fresh herbs or whatever strikes your fancy.

Happy Cooking!






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