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Brand name plant-based alternative food

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
So while I've never been a big meat eater I'm trying to be more mindful and have been making an effort to try all the new brands that have been popping up and revisit the old ones.

First up is a VERY good one, the Impossible Chicken Nuggets. They are spectacular. Both @Lumber Baron and I think they're better than other meat chicken nuggets we've had. Highly recommended and you can just have some in the freezer to use whenever.

Impossible_Retail_ChickenNuggets_Product_Description_Carousel_Front_1440x814.png


Beyond sausage was weird. Taste and texture were fine, but grilling them was disgusting. While being grilled they made what I can only describe as a snail-like slime on the grill. And this slime made the fire increase and burned them pretty badly. It might go better if they were boiled in beer or something first but dunno if I want to try it.

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Both Impossible and Beyond ground meat are good, but I will note that when we use ground beef it's generally part of a dish that has a lot of other flavours going on like Mabo Dofu or a stuffed cabbage. The texture is still a bit different than actual beef but I like both of these.
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retail_burger.jpg


I also just tried Chao cheese since it was free through the Safeway app. This was vile. The first bite made me think of string cheese, which is fine I suppose, but then there's this wave of really off saltiness and funk, probably since it's made from fermented tofu. Also I looked at the nutrition label and it has just as much if not more saturated fat than a real dairy cheese so this is the rare case where I might just throw this away without finishing it.
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I ate a ton of Morning Star burgers in high school and college and liked them a lot. I should try these again, a veggie burger is very much it's own thing but can be great.

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Finally it's worth noting that while plant-based alternatives are much better for the environment than huge factory slaughterhouses and ranches, there is some data suggesting small local ranches/farmers are comparable to the plant based brands since there's no/minimal transport or factories and less waste. I doubt that's entirely true but I'll still get meat from local places, especially ones where alternatives aren't available (goat, for example).
 
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JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
My partner and I both love Beyond Burgers. She can't handle ground meat (preparing or eating), but they seem to dodge her gag reflex, and we both find them delicious. They've very good if you fry them up and then put a generous helping of hoisin in the pan and let them soak it up.
 
Fake-meat alternatives are kinda funny to me. Most of the vegetarians I know don't really like them. They're so used to not eating meat that something meat-like is just pointless and unappetizing to them. I like 'em well enough, but they've got to get to the point where they're markedly cheaper than meat for them to grow outside of being a novelty, IMO. If it costs me just as much or more to buy a meat-alternative burger at a restaurant, I'm probably going to just go with the actual meat option, even if I like them in theory.

My brother runs a gourmet food truck, and he's been buying "GTFO It's Vegan!" (an online vegan store) brand plant-based sashimi for his vegetarian customers as a meat substitute in poke and other dishes he makes. He's very picky about his ingredients so I trust it's a pretty decent substitute. It looks/feels eerily real. The flavor isn't super accurate, but it's a good vehicle for dishes that have a lot of other flavors to balance it out like poke or sushi rolls. I think it's probably worth a try. I can see myself eating more and more of this stuff in the future since, ya'know, there's not really a way to make farming/catching most sushi-fish sustainable.


I ate a ton of Morning Star burgers in high school and college and liked them a lot. I should try these again, a veggie burger is very much it's own thing but can be great.
Love these, same story as yours VV. I tried them out first out of pure curiosity but kept with them because they legitimately taste good to me.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
I was catching up on the Nature podcast and this episode discusses a paper that found if people replace 20% of their meat with plant/microbial-based alternatives it has a huge impact, potentially halving deforestation. After that the returns diminish, but really interesting that only a 20% replacement makes such a difference. They did note that more studies have to be done to look into energy usage and such, which is where my original note about local farms often being comparable to some of the alternatives becomes relevant.

Also I realized I forgot to call out the only non-dairy milk I like, Silk cashew milk. It's great for cereal or just drinking, but I have yet to find an alternative milk that works in coffee. All of them either add a weird texture to the coffee or just create a weird taste. Still, this one is the best of the ones I've tried by far. I only use the unsweetened kind but they do have a vanilla one too.
silk-unsweet-cashewmilk.png


Fake-meat alternatives are kinda funny to me. Most of the vegetarians I know don't really like them. They're so used to not eating meat that something meat-like is just pointless and unappetizing to them. I like 'em well enough, but they've got to get to the point where they're markedly cheaper than meat for them to grow outside of being a novelty, IMO. If it costs me just as much or more to buy a meat-alternative burger at a restaurant, I'm probably going to just go with the actual meat option, even if I like them in theory.
Yeah, the impression I have is that it's marketed more to people who don't want to be vegetarian/vegan.They just want to be more sustainable, kill fewer animals and have a healthier diet (mainly cholesterol-wise, although as I noted with the Chao cheese above this isn't always true). I do have vegan friends who like it for when they have non-vegans over for dinner, as they feel more comfortable cooking and serving that.

My brother runs a gourmet food truck, and he's been buying "GTFO It's Vegan!" (an online vegan store) brand plant-based sashimi for his vegetarian customers as a meat substitute in poke and other dishes he makes. He's very picky about his ingredients so I trust it's a pretty decent substitute. It looks/feels eerily real. The flavor isn't super accurate, but it's a good vehicle for dishes that have a lot of other flavors to balance it out like poke or sushi rolls. I think it's probably worth a try. I can see myself eating more and more of this stuff in the future since, ya'know, there's not really a way to make farming/catching most sushi-fish sustainable.
Oh wow, I was just saying to my spouse that I wondered when plant-based fish alternatives would show up, I had no idea this was already around!

Also $32 for a sampler pack seems pretty dang reasonable, I might order some of this! Thanks for the heads up, there's a ton to explore on that site.
 

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
Since my wife is pescatarian we use a lot of these. We like the Beyond Sausages well enough, but I've never tried grilling them. I usually just pan cook them.

This is a silly little thing, but I think my favorite thing about these alternatives is they let black bean patties become their own thing, appreciable for their own merits instead of just being a veg option. I love a black bean burger, but not because they're pretend meat. I love them because they're delicious.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
This is a silly little thing, but I think my favorite thing about these alternatives is they let black bean patties become their own thing, appreciable for their own merits instead of just being a veg option. I love a black bean burger, but not because they're pretend meat. I love them because they're delicious.
Hell yeah. If I go to a restaurant and see that they have a black bean burger on the menu, it's typically one of the first things I'll try.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
We like the Beyond Sausages well enough, but I've never tried grilling them. I usually just pan cook them.
Ooh, I didn't even think of trying that, good to know.
If I go to a restaurant and see that they have a black bean burger on the menu, it's typically one of the first things I'll try.
One thing I've noticed too is that black bean burgers are where restaurants seem to be willing to turn up the spiciness. I live in an area where everyone seems terrified of spice and I often order 6/5 spice level they are often my refuge when I want some heat.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Yeah, the impression I have is that it's marketed more to people who don't want to be vegetarian/vegan.They just want to be more sustainable, kill fewer animals and have a healthier diet (mainly cholesterol-wise, although as I noted with the Chao cheese above this isn't always true). I do have vegan friends who like it for when they have non-vegans over for dinner, as they feel more comfortable cooking and serving that.

Yeah, this is where I'm at, especially because meat that's affordable also tends to be the least healthy, least sustainable, and least humane, it's always seemed like the best option has been to occasionally get good, expensive meat (ideally local/humane/sustainably farmed) and go veggie otherwise. I've long been of the opinion that the only viable way forward for food in the future is for 99% of "meat" to be either substitutes or vat-grown, with only rare luxury items coming from actual whole animals.
Plus I seem to keep living with veggie/pescatarians.

On the opposite end of the new and fancy meat substitute spectrum, something my partner and I cook up occasionally is "Fri-Chik", which evidently has been around since the 60s and caught on amongst Seventh-Day Adventists. I guess it's theoretically supposed to be an un-breaded chicken nugget substitute, but is much better thought of as its own thing entirely. Pan-fried and dipped in a favorite barbecue or mustard sauce, they're pretty good. We also often do them in the same pan with Halloumi frying cheese.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
On the opposite end of the new and fancy meat substitute spectrum, something my partner and I cook up occasionally is "Fri-Chik", which evidently has been around since the 60s and caught on amongst Seventh-Day Adventists. I guess it's theoretically supposed to be an un-breaded chicken nugget substitute, but is much better thought of as its own thing entirely.
Oh I am definitely up for learning about older/tried and true ones as well! This looks vaguely familiar but I don't remember having it. If I see it I'll try it out.

Halloumi frying cheese
One thing I found that's a bummer is that a lot of Halloumi brands are rennet-based, and so strict vegetarians can't have it. I think the Trader Joe's one was a microbial rennet or something though so that was okay, but it was a little off in texture.
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
(He, Him)
Now that I’ve cooked them a few times I think I can safely say I like impossible burgers better than the real thing. That’s nice.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
We found Raised and Rooted nuggets for 30% off which put them in the realm of affordability, and they were as good as if not better than the Impossible nuggets. However even on sale they're more expensive than Impossible nuggets so probably sticking with those. But I'll definitely be grabbing them again if they're on sale.
 
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