Favorite alterna-meats

We're connoisseurs of vegetarian meat alternatives. Fake hot dogs, vegie burgers, and other faux flesh has gotten more palatable over the years. I'd go so far as calling some products crave-worthy.

If you're vegetarian, or your teenager is vegetarian, or you're looking for healthier alternatives to processed meat, or your kids won't eat meat but you're looking for high-protien alternatives, or you're just curious, try our favorites:

  • Morningstar Farms Corn Dogs (crunchy when baked in the oven, available in mini sans-stick version)
  • Morningstar Farms Vegie Dogs (best alterna-wiener)
  • Gardenburger riblets (bbq sauce heaven, heat in the microwave, ignore how it looks while still in the pouch)
  • Boca burgers (best when pan-seared and served with sauteed onions and melted swiss)
  • Gimme Lean Beef flavor (looks gross out of the package, but when mixed with a beaten egg, some bread or cracker crumbs, a minced, sauteed onion, herbs, pepper, and ketchup, it makes a mean meatloaf. I top mine with a bbq sauce or ketchup/brown sugar glaze before baking.)
  • Quorn Naked Cutlets (chicken breast alternative, divine with bbq sauce, as chicken parmesan, in stir fry, or seared with lemon juice, garlic and thyme, and then served sliced on a bed of steamed spinach or dressed baby greens. Next attempt: tandoori)

What're your favorites, and how do you prepare them?

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  1. Sara in Austin says

    Do places outside of Texas have Soyrizo? Chorizo (mostly cumin) flavored sausage. Great when sauteed with eggs and served in a tortilla for breakfast.

  2. Nick says

    Gimme Lean Sausage is great on frozen Pizza (rarely ate frozen food before we had kids), also to perk up jar spaghetti sauce (also used to make sauce from scratch).

    Don’t overlook tofu, especially pressed and fried added to foods, and those soy sheets they sell in the Asian markets.

    But even though we’re veggies, the kids can eat meat if they want.

  3. laura says

    We absolutely love the Dr Praeger’s veggie burgers that they sell at Costco. We have tried the California ones (there are other kinds, but not at our Costco) and they are very veg-y– they don’t taste anything like meat, but are sort of just a solid vegetable soup. In a good way. And, they are low in calories and only one WW point each. My DD, aged 3.5, actually likes them some days. We bake them in the toaster oven and top with either wasabi mayo or marinara sauce and a little parmesan.

  4. Julian says

    Morningstar Buffalo Wings!!! Just can’t get enough of these, despite my vague worries about “Franken-Soy” and overly processed veggie junk foods. Soyrizo and riblets (reminiscent of the elusive McRib from my fast food days) too.

  5. EdgeWise says

    I tend to have bad luck with the ones that try to simulate meat. However, the Yves brand pastrami makes a nice reuben. I also like the Dr. Praeger’s spinach pancakes, the gardenburger brand veggie medley (no fat) and sun-dried tomatoe. Tofurkey makes some bratwurst that I like (although no one else in the family does).

  6. FRAYEDNOT says

    my daughter lives on morningstar sausage patties. They used to sell them at Trader Joes, but no longer. here in the northeast they are available at stop and shop and shaws.

  7. Aj says

    My son *adores* the Boca Burger chicken nuggets. He’s nineteen months, and he giggles when they come out of the microwave – he’s such a nut. :) The nice thing is that they were recommended by our doctor: she says she’d toss them in her purse in the morning, and when it was lunchtime, the nuggets would have warmed up enough to give to her kids without having to heat them.

  8. John says

    Morningstar’s new Meal Starters, in Chicken and Beef style are quite good, but should be cooked for a good long time on low heat to dry them out — mushy otherwise.

    There is no better fakey chicken in my family’s opinion than Veat — hard to find but really fabulous.

  9. Susan says

    My sons love the Gardenburger Chick’n Nuggets, and they actually taste best when microwaved, which makes them super easy.

    I love them, too.

  10. Twinmama says

    We can get Soyrizo here in CA, but haven’t had that in a while. We’re big fans of Tofurkey here…it’s quite yummy. We get the slices most of the time but around Thanksgiving and when I’m bored I’ll get the full roast. The roast takes about an hour to cook. My twins also like Morningstar’s fake bacon and sausages. (The bacon is a wee bit salty, but I actually like it that way!).

  11. Christian Pearce says

    Let’s not forget the morning star chicken nuggets and patties. My daughter loves them. I also enjoy them.

  12. Kat says

    Morningstar Farms breakfast patties with maple syrup and Trader Joe’s Chickenless Nuggets. Someone makes an awesome Italian flavored burger… is it MF? Can’t remember.

  13. Carter says

    Laura hit it on the head; Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers are the absolute best veggie burger there is. If there’s only one left in the freezer, I’m extremely reluctant to share it with my son.

    How do I prepare it? As quickly as possible.

  14. Ra says

    We like the Morning star farms Meal Starters as well. The “Beef” strips are great for Korean bbq marinade, the “chicken” works great in stirfry or pasta.

    My kids love the Worthington “Linkettes” and “Stripples”. Probably too high in sodium though!

  15. Tim says

    We have eaten MorningStar “Bacon” so long, even the adults have forgotten what Bacon is supposed to look like. If you are looking for “realistic” bacon, then it isn’t it, but if you are looking for a crunchy,non-grerasy, smokey-flavored layer for a BLT, these are it.