These days, discussions around switching to plant-based diets are at an all-time high. Whether you’re looking to cut down on meat consumptions to reduce your environmental impact, or to start incorporating heart-healthy choices, you’re not alone. In fact, almost 100 million people, nearly 33% of the U.S. population, have mentioned incorporating some vegan foods into their diet, despite not being vegan themselves. If you’re new to the plant based proteins game, it can be a little intimidating to jump in to unfamiliar foods feet-first (what the heck is seitan?). Instead, try getting your feet wet with plant-based meat substitutes, which can offer the comfort of familiarity while still allowing you to try something new. We’ve compiled a list of great first-time dishes whose switch to vegan substitutes will be so seamless, you’ll be saying “chicken, who?”
For the 9-5er: Try Restaurant-Quality Chinese With Vegan Beef
One of the most intimidating things about switching to a plant-based lifestyle is the fear that suddenly food will require much more time-consuming prep. But fear not! Recipes like this Vegan Mongolian Beef is a perfect sweet and savory combination that hits all the right notes. Better yet, it can be prepped and ready in just 20 minutes! This recipe calls for seitan, but substitute your favorite vegan friendly meat products for a delicious, comforting meal that will have you fed and comfortable in no time.
For the Weekend Warrior: Protein-Packed Breakfast Burritos
If you’re a staple on the brunch circuit, the idea of switching away from all of the meats associated with breakfast can be a daunting ask. But a plant-based breakfast doesn’t have to be boring. Breakfast burrito recipes like this one from Build Your Bite build on a simple vegan hash that gets its protein from extra firm tofu. But if you’re craving a more familiar taste, consider substituting vegan sausage for a taste that will not only make you the envy of the taco truck crowd, but is easily freezable for breakfasts on the go.
For the Picky Eater: Plant Based Chicken
Sometimes, there’s just no sense in reinventing the wheel. While there are countless kid-friendly vegan recipes out there, convincing little ones to take the leap can be a tough sell, especially if they were particular about their food to begin with. Simple meals like vegan chicken nuggets can be a great way to introduce the young (and young at heart) to vegan friendly meat products without throwing them into the deep end right away. As simple as throwing the frozen nuggets into the oven and serving with your child’s favorite size, these go-to meals are perfect way to enter the world of a plant-based diet.
For those who are exploring vegan options, either as a lifestyle or as a way to reduce meat intake, it can be easy to feel like the limitations placed on a vegan diet can be strict or difficult to navigate while still leading a busy life. In reality, the only limit to the number of ways you can incorporate vegan living into your diet is your own imagination! Do you have a success story about making the leap and switching vegan friendly meat products into your house? We’d love to hear them! Let us know in the comments below.