Being pretty carnivorous all my life, I ate way to much meat. Also being a quite picky eater pretty much limited my alternatives (and still does). But there are a lot of reasons to reduce one’s meat consumption (from health considerations to the CO2 footprint to ethical considerations). I will probably never be a full vegetarian (muss less vegan), but currently I’m at least trying to eat a bit healthier and less meat-centered by replacing some meat-based dishes with vegetarian alternatives.
I’m exactly the guy people invented “fake meat” for. Often I hear that this is ridiculous, if you want to stop eating meat, stop eating meat, etc.etc. – but that’s hard for me, because I quite like the taste and feeling of meat. So, yes, I will – as a first step, let’s see where it goes – replace some things with fake meat. Not the greatest replacement possible, but a small step and one I can go at this point.
Two products I tried that actually work for me:
The vegetarian sausage (or perhaps better “lunch meat”) from Rügenwalder really tastes like the original thing and is the perfect replacement to put onto my whole-grain bread (another thing I’m currently trying to establish in my meals) instead of real meat. Of course, I realize that this still puts animal product onto my table, since a big part of the ingredients are eggs. But, better small steps than none, I guess – and I actually plan to try the vegan variant as soon as I found a supermarket which sells them.
(I already tried the vegan version of “meat paste” from them, but while this wasn’t horrible, it also wasn’t really tasty and clearly tastes like plants – which isn’t bad in itself, but also not great if you are explicitly looking for meat-replacement at this point and not additional vegetable stuff. A vegetarian meat paste that tastes like meat would really be nice.)
Another thing I really like is the stuff from Valess, especially the meat strips. They are based on milk and plant fibres and with a strong curry, they really also give a good “meat-feeling”. Also not vegan, but at least vegetarian and thus a small step. I also tried tofu for my curry – curry is ideal for such experiments (because has a lot of flavor and is pretty spicy, at least the paste I’m using) – but the consistency isn’t really that great – there’s not a lot of difference between the consistency of the tofu and the rice, which kind of defeats the point. So, tofu is edible for me, but it doesn’t really add something to the taste or feeling (still trying to find a “harder” variant of tofu that adds some “al dente” feeling to it).
Of course, I’m also testing a lot of other stuff currently and perhaps I’ll write about it, let’s see.