Tofu in a bowl with chopsticks on a wooden table

This article, ‘Meat Alternatives’, was originally published in the ‘Healthy Living’ column of enVoyage, The Inflight Magazine of Eva Air.

Vegan Meat Alternatives

Meat is an excellent source of protein, which is vital for building and maintaining body cells.

However, excessive meat consumption is associated with weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease, gout, kidney damage and some types of cancer.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that we vary our protein choices and regularly opt for meat alternatives. Luckily, there are nutritious, vegetarian and vegan foods that we can eat with our meals instead of meat.

If you wish to reduce your meat consumption and make healthier food choices, why not consider these low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-protein foods when deciding what to have for dinner?


Quorn is a high protein, high fibre imitation meat product developed in the United Kingdom. It is produced from mycoprotein and has a similar taste and texture to meat. There are over 100 different Quorn foods.

Prepared in a similar way to meat and poultry, Quorn mince can be used in Bolognese sauce, chilli and lasagne, while Quorn chicken-style pieces are ideal for stir-fries and curries.

There are Quorn burgers and sausages for the barbeque, Quorn ready meals and deli-style Quorn ham, chicken and bacon for sandwiches.

You can buy Quorn in the UK, USA, Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Sweden.

(Quorn is available in both vegan and vegetarian versions.)

Tofu (Bean Curd)

Originally discovered by the Chinese, tofu is a nutritious staple in Asian cuisine. Also known as bean curd, tofu is made from curdled soybean milk and resembles a block of cheese.

Tofu is a good source of protein, B vitamins and iron, and is a versatile cooking ingredient.

Although tofu has no flavour, it is good for marinating and readily absorbs the flavours of other foods it is cooked with. Pre-flavoured tofu is also available.

Soft tofu is suitable for use in smoothies, soups, sauces, salads and as a scrambled egg substitute, while firm tofu is more suited to grilling and frying in place of burgers and steaks, or cubed in stir fries.

Tofu is found in most supermarkets, particularly in the Asian foods section.


Often mistaken for a whole grain, quinoa is a seed first cultivated by the Incas in the Andes Mountains of South America.

Exceptionally nutritious in comparison to grains such as rice and wheat, quinoa is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids. Quinoa is so nutritious that the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has declared the year 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa”.

When cooked, quinoa has a light, slightly nutty taste with a fluffy texture and is easily digestible.

Use in place of rice or couscous or try sprouted quinoa seeds in salads and sandwiches – you can even eat quinoa as porridge for breakfast! Look for quinoa in your local supermarket or health food store.

Edamame (Soybeans)

Edamame is the Japanese name for fresh, green, soybeans that are picked before fully ripened.

Originally from China, edamame is popular in Asian countries and gaining in popularity in the United States and other countries.

Edamame beans are a good source of high-quality protein, fibre, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium.

Edamame beans have a buttery, sweet taste and can be sprinkled in salads, stir-fries, rice dishes and pasta. Pureed edamame beans make a tasty dip for chips and crackers. Edamame may also be eaten straight from their pods as a snack after boiling in salted water.

You may have to look carefully to find edamame beans, but they are often marketed as a health food and you should be able to find them in Asian grocery stores.

Kirby, S. (2013). Meat Alternatives. enVoyage The Inflight Magazine of Eva Air.

More information: Is vegan ‘meat’ healthy?

Like this page? Please Pin it!

Vegan meat alternatives

Similar Posts