We’ve all heard someone describe themselves as a “meat and potatoes” kind of person. Maybe you describe yourself as one of those people as well! “Meat and potatoes” lovers likely distance themselves from vegan food because they fear the sometimes lesser-known ingredients and cooking methods used or think that it can’t compare with their favorite dishes. However, vegan cuisine is a magical kind of art and a science of its own where distinctly meaty flavors and textures can be developed from vegetables and other plant-based ingredients!
If you or someone in your life is intrigued by veganism but don’t know where to start, these recipes are all comfort food classics that will trick your eyes and tastebuds into thinking that they are the real deal. All foods can be veganized so you are taking better care of the animals, the planet, and yourself, and these American meat and dairy-heavy eats are no exception.
1. Portobello Mushroom Steaks With Cheesy Rosemary Polenta
These Portobello Mushroom Steaks With Cheesy Rosemary Polenta look remarkably like a perfectly cooked steak when they are grilled or sautéed. When you bite into the portobello steak, you will surprised by tender, juicy texture and the rich umami flavor. These meaty mushrooms, drizzled with a balsamic reduction, sit atop a bed of cheesy, creamy homemade polenta.
2. ‘Chicken-Fried’ Seitan Steak With Buffalo Vinaigrette
Get ready to enjoy two veganized versions of your favorite meaty comfort foods in one! This “Chicken-Fried” Seitan Steak With Buffalo Vinaigrette is like having Buffalo wings and fried chicken in one dish. Seitan cutlets are fried to optimal crispiness and then coated in hot sauce to take it to the next level. Top it off with some vegan blue cheese for even more iconic flavors.
3. BBQ Seitan Ribs With Homemade Barbecue Sauce
We think this picture speaks for itself. But if you need to be enticed even further, these BBQ Seitan Ribs With Homemade Barbecue Sauce are lip-smacking strips of deliciousness and are messily fun to eat. Tender, meaty homemade seitan is slathered in sticky homemade barbecue sauce, seared, and then baked until slightly crisp and caramelized around the edges. Serve these with a side of potato salad and coleslaw.
4. Ranch BLT With Portobello Mushroom Bacon
BLT sandwiches are a classic American meal, and our Ranch BLT With Portobello Mushroom Bacon will amaze you by how its flavors and textures surpass that of the dairy and meat laden original. The homemade ranch dressing takes the sandwich to the next level while the bacon is super, ultra sweet but also wonderfully smoky and salty. Yes, please!
5. Seitan Pot Roast
Pot roasts are one of the meals that garner a lot of nostalgic praise for their warmth, classic rich umami flavors, and ability to transport one back to their childhood. This Seitan Pot Roast becomes just as tender and juicy as beef does in the iconic American meal. The potatoes, parsnips, and carrots make the dish so much more wholesome and comforting.
6. Shepherd’s Pie
It doesn’t get any much more “meat and potatoes” than meat and potatoes! Meat eaters will appreciate the substance of this vegan take on Shepherd’s Pie. The portobello mushrooms give it a meaty texture that satisfies both meat eaters and vegans alike.
7. Country ‘Meatloaf’ With Gravy
This Country ‘Meatloaf’ With Gravy is made with tempeh and brown rice, making it hearty and savory enough to satisfy meat eaters. Plus, it has all the indulgent flavors of traditional meatloaf, including an herby gravy, while being lower in fat and just as protein-packed. The looks and texture of this loaf is so close to the original comfort food, you will likely not even notice the difference!
8. Spelt Berry and Lentil Sloppy Joes
9. Jackfruit Pot Pie
If you have never heard of the tropical fruit jackfruit and are skeptical of it being used to replace meat, don’t worry! Vegans have been using jackfruit as a stand-in for chicken and pork for forever because it shreds like a tender, flaky meat and absorbs whatever flavors its cooked in. In Jackfruit Pot Pie, the fruit is sautéed with essential pot pie herbs like rosemary and thyme and then engulfed in the creamy, warm gravy amongst peas, potatoes, and carrots. All of that goodness is cased in flaky puff pastry (aka the best part of pot pies).
10. Brown Sugar Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich
We told you that jackfruit is the vegan secret to meaty creations! Behold this Brown Sugar Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich. This pulled pork is made from sautéing and shredding pieces of jackfruit before lovingly smothering it in a barbecue sauce that’s infused spices and brown sugar so it is as smoky, sweet, and tangy as can be. The flavor is great, the texture perfect, and a little (or a lot) of coleslaw provides the perfect cool, crispy crunch to contrast the tender, meaty barbecue jackfruit.
11. Spicy Fried ‘Chicken’ Sandwich
12. Eggplant Meatball Parmesan Sub With Caramelized Onions
Everyone loves a meatball sub because they are so dang filling, comforting, and all around delicious. This Eggplant Meatball Sub With Caramelized Onions does not skimp on flavor or nutrition. Eggplant adds a beloved familiar flavor to the Italian sandwich while the chickpeas making up the bulk of the meatballs is just as hearty as beef.
13. Extra Crispy Cauliflower Wings
Using cauliflower to imitate buffalo wings is the ultimate vegan hack! The vegetable gets a stringy, meaty texture after being baked and after being battered and twice-baked, these Extra Crispy Cauliflower Wings are likely to fool even the most devout meat eaters. Alongside the garlic mayo dip, these wings are irresistible.
14. Lion’s Mane Mushroom ‘Liver’ and Onions
This Lion’s Mane Mushroom “Liver” and Onions looks inexplicably meaty and tender. Lion’s Mane mushrooms are naturally very stringy, which allows for them to imitate the texture of meats like liver with ease. These ‘shrooms are pressed and grilled before being slow roasted and drizzled with decidedly sticky and savory glazed onions and served atop a bed of fluffy whipped potatoes.
15. Carving Board Seitan ‘Pastrami’
This is the type of meal that you would have to pull the waiter over to ask if it is really vegan. This Carving Board Seitan ‘Pastrami’ is mouthwateringly delicious and tastes just like it has been sliced fresh and served up hot from the deli counter. If you are looking for a dish that is uncannily similar to meat, this one’s for you.
Need more convincing? There are plenty of other hearty, protein-focused meals to drool over.
Check out the Food Monster app, a food app available for both Android and iPhone. The app has over 8,000+ vegan recipes with 10+ recipes added daily as well as cooking tips, you’re going to find something you love. Give it a try — and don’t forget to follow Food Monster on Instagram and Facebook!
Lead image source: Spelt Berry and Lentil Sloppy Joes