The 5 top meat alternatives for vegans

The 5 top meat alternatives for vegans

Tofu, tempeh, seitan, soya mince and miso are all products that can be used in place of meat. They’re all delicious, nutritious but very different in flavour and can be used in a variety of ways.



Tofu is made from soybean curds. It is naturally gluten-free and low in calories. It’s a very good  source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians, as well as a source of potassium and calcium.

Tofu can be used in a multitude of dishes to make vegan versions of omelets, desserts, cheeses, and smoothies!

Nutritional value per 100g 

  • Energy: 82 kcal
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates 2g
  • Calcium: 118mg
  • Potassium 118mg



Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans or a mixture of soybeans and wheat that has been fermented .

Tempeh has a dry, firm but chewy texture and a slightly nutty taste. It can be steamed, sautéed or baked and is often marinated to add more flavor.

 Ideas: Teriyaki, grilled in avocado BLT Toast, barbeque

Nutritional value per 100g.

  • Energy: 180 kcal
  • Protein: 18g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Calcium: 111mg
  • Phosphorus: 266mg
  • Potassium: 412mg



Seitan, also known as wheat gluten, is a chewy, protein-packed, similar to the look and texture of meat, making it a popular meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans.

Seitan is made from wheat gluten and water which is a flour made by removing the starches from wheat, leaving behind just the gluten-the main protein in wheat. However, seitan has little in common with flour or bread. It has a savory taste, probably closest to bland chicken or a portobello mushroom.

Seitan is high in protein, but it doesn’t contain enough of lysine (amino acid), thus seitan is not considered a complete protein. However, by eating lysine rich foods such as beans with your seitan meal, you have a complete protein.

The popularity of seitan is due more to its texture rather than its taste. This is especially true when compared to other alternatives,such as tofu or tempeh, which don’t have a “meaty” texture.

Ideas: seitan steak,  hot and spicy as in seitan “chicken wings “, savory in a Indian or Thai curry.

Nutritional value per 100g

  • Energy: 140 kcal
  • Protein: 19g
  • Carbohydrate: 12g
  • Fat: 2g


Soya mince

Soya mince, called texturized vegetable protein, is an easy to use and inexpensive source of protein. Soya mince is made from soy flour and may be left plain or flavored to mincemeat or ground beef. You can find it either in a dried or in a frozen form. 

Unflavored soya mince has very little flavor and may be unpleasantly bland so season generously or add tomato sauce.

If you select dehydrated option, try adding texturized vegetable protein directly to soup or casseroles, allowing additional liquid as necessary to hydrate it.

Ideas: Chilli con carne, tacos, Bolognese.

Nutritional value per 100g

  • Energy: 100 kcal
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbohydrate: 7g
  • Fat: 0.2g



Miso is made from fermented soybeans and is a thick paste-like substance. 

Miso paste is made from a mixture of soy beans, rice or barley that has been fermented with salt, water and a fungus. It doesn’t sound particularly delicious, but it has a great umami flavor. It’s an essential ingredient for many Japanese food dishes, including the popular miso soup.

Ideas: Use miso paste in soups, broths, as a glaze or in dressings.

Nutritional value per 100g

  • Energy: 198 kcal
  • Protein: 13g
  • Carbohydrate: 25g
  • Fat: 6g


Eleana Liasidou

Clinical Dietitian – Nutritionist, MSc