8 Great Substitutes for Beef

Over the past few years, it has come to light that eating copious amounts of beef isn’t the best thing for your health. Overconsumption of beef can lead to obesity, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. Moderation of beef intake can help avoid some the associated risks of a beef-rich diet.

That’s all well and good, but there’s a bit of a problem: Beef is yummy. It’s also very versatile, useful in many favorite dishes. Still, there’s no reason to stop using your favorite recipes if you’re looking to reduce your beef intake. Here are eight substitutes will work in your favorite beef-based recipes.

  1. Veggie burger – Made from vegetables (corn), textured vegetable protein, beans or grain, veggie burgers offer a tasty alternative to beef burger. Veggie burger is free of most of the fat, cholesterol, and sodium found in beef. It can also be crumbled and used in recipes that call for ground beef.
  2. Turkey – In general, turkey contains less fat, sodium, and fewer calories than beef. Ground turkey can be substituted in any recipe that calls for beef. However, you need to be careful what kind or ground turkey you buy and where you get it from, as some vendor will mix in more fatty dark meat and negate some of the health value.
  3. Tofu – Tasty and versatile, tofu is a soybean product that can be used in dishes like stir-fry, chef’s salads, and fajitas. If used as a meat substitute, the firm style of tofu is recommended.
  4. Legumes – Beans are low in fat and high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein. They make a good beef substitute in chili, quesadillas, and tacos. Be sure you soak dried beans for at least several hours before cooking.
  5. Tempeh – A nutty-tasting product made from cooked and fermented soybeans, tempeh is a good source of protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamins. It has a firmer consistency than tofu, and thus can be used in a greater variety of dishes. It’s great for everything from shepherd’s pie to sloppy joes.
  6. Portobello Mushroom Caps – Possessing a strong flavor when marinated, these meaty vegetables are rich in vitamins, and mineral, like thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate. They have a great texture and are useful for burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.
  7. Seitan – This wheat gluten product is high in protein and can be flavored and molded into just about anything. Seitan is a great choice for meatballs, casseroles, pastas, sandwiches, stews, or kebabs. Seitan can be found in Asian groceries or many health food stores.
  8. Eggplant – This meaty purple vegetable is chock full of vitamins and minerals like fiber, antioxidant, B vitamins, and potassium. It can be used for tasty lasagna and other pasta dishes.

So, if you’re looking to cut down on your beef consumption, give a few of these beef substitutes a try and see what you like.