Half your office is partaking in Veganuary. You see vegetarian menu options popping out at you left and right. Your partner just announced they want to start partaking in Meatless Mondays. Sure, you love a good burger, but perhaps all these signs are starting to sway you that 2016 should be the year you eat less meat. Overwhelmed? You don’t have to be. It can be as simple as swapping a meaty bolognese sauce out for a mushroom-based one — or opting for a veggie chili for one dinner a week, rather than the real deal. To make mission: eat more plants easier, we’ve rounded up six of the best meat swaps any kind of eater will love.
If BLTs and club sandwiches are your go-to, try tempeh
You won’t even miss the bacon. Tempeh is a fermented soy product (small-batch brands are also infusing it with cultured quinoa and rice). Drooling at the above? You’ll love this meat-free sandwich better than the real deal. Leftover tempeh also makes for a great stir fry. Just crumble it into small pieces and sauté it with your favorite veggies. You can also go sauce-crazy marinading tempeh. According to popular vegan site Post Punk Kitchen, you can try slicing it thinly to infuse flavor and leave it in marinade for up to four hours, as in their Garlicky Thyme Tempeh.
If you’re a burger aficionado, try portabella mushrooms
Do you melt for a good patty? We don’t blame you. For a savory sammie with a tender, chewy bite, try swapping out a portabella mushroom for meat on the grill. You can simply use the ‘shroom caps in lieu of a traditional patty or try ‘em in a veggie burger recipe like these fantastic chunky portabella veggie burgers. Folks will be hailing it better than beef in no time. Bonus: Mayo Clinic states that while a 3-ounce beef patty has 235 calories, a ‘shroom burger clocks in at about 30 calories.
If you are sold the moment you hear “wings,” try marinated tofu
You might not like tofu straight up, or even in your smoothies, but we promise a little special prep goes a long way. By creating a marinade of your favorite BBQ sauce, tofu acts as a “blank canvas” of sorts to soak it all up. So experiment with your favorite marinade, or try these knock-their-socks-off maple whiskey barbecue tofu sandwiches. There are also countless other easy tofu BBQ recipes and techniques out there, we particularly love Oh My Veggies’s baked barbecue tofu. We all know that wings cravings is really all about the lip-smacking good sauce, anyways.