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The Best Plant-Based Meats of 2021

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News Icon 3/19/2021

Embarking on your plant-based journey doesn't mean shunning the meat section of the grocery store. In 2021, more plant-based meat brands and products are stocked next to animal proteins than ever before! That’s means better and cheaper options—and a more accessible plant-based market—for all of us.

But amidst a sea of choice, which plant-based meats are actually worth your hard-earned dollars? To help you find the best meat alternatives and turn your Mondays meatless, here’s our staff picks for the best plant-based meats of 2021:

Beef

Beyond Meat

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We are head-over-heels in love with all things Beyond! Many of our staff cite Beyond Meat crumbles, burgers, and ground beef as their all-time favorite meat alternative. Whether you’re looking to throw burgers on the grill or up your Taco Tuesday game with crumbles, you can’t go wrong with Beyond! Infused with the power of beets, the burger looks and even “bleeds” just like beef does—making it perfect for any meat lovers in the household.

Impossible Meat

Our other favorite brand, Impossible Foods, is practically a household name by now. Who says no to a good Impossible Whopper now and again? Not us. The texture, appearance, and taste are almost uncannily similar to meat. Impossible Burgers were among the first on the modern plant-based meat replacement scene, and as far as we’re concerned, they're not going anywhere anytime soon.

Sausage

Beyond Sausages

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Told you we loved Beyond! This truly “meaty” analogue has entranced the world in more ways than one. Not only has it popped up on menus across the world, but it also had one of the most successful IPOs of the past two decades when the company went public in 2019—a big market indicator that the future is surely plant-based. According to Compassion staff, the breakfast patties are a great way to start your day and the hot Italian sausages are delicious with some sauerkraut!

Field Roast Sausage

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Based in Portland, OR, Field Roast’s grain meat blend creates an umami explosion you’re sure to crave time and time again. We like to eat them sliced, pan-fried with peppers and onions, or on top of a bed of pasta! Our favorite flavor? The Smoked Apple Sage, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo

A go-to when doing the weekly shop at Trader Joe’s, this affordable, crumbly chorizo replacement is great for adding some texture and sweet, smokey flavor to your tacos or grain bowls! Fair warning: Be careful when unpacking it, as it’s been known to stain clothes.

Tofurkey Sausage

Don’t let the name Tofurky lead you astray—these tender sausages are no squishy tofu—they have that satisfying bite you know and love! (No offense tofu, we still appreciate you!) Toss them on the grill at the BBQ or slice them for a homemade pizza topper. There is no wrong way to eat them.

Strips

Gardein Chick’n Strips

These plant-based chick’n alternatives are perfect for your stir-fry and Caesar salad wraps! Gardein has been a frozen, meatless staple for plant-eaters since they launched more than a decade ago. You should be able to find them in the natural or frozen section of most big-box retailers.

Sweet Earth Seitan Strips

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Seitan is a magical, protein-packed food made from wheat gluten, and in our experience, it’s a great replacement for chicken! There are many brands out there for you to buy, but we’re a fan of the Sweet Earth Chipotle Strips—if you’re not looking to try out that viral TikTok recipe, that is.

Chicken Nuggets

Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders

Technically these are not nuggets; however, we still felt compelled to add them to the list—because they are quality and readily accessible at most retailers. Grab your favorite ketchup, ranch, or honey mustard and enjoy!

Morning Star Farms Buffalo Veggie Wings

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Recently committed to making their products fully plant-based by removing eggs, Morning Star Farms is one of the most well-known and loved meat alternatives on the market. So just how good are the Buffalo Veggie Wings? According to our staff: “Delicious!”

Nuggs 2.0

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Claiming to be the “Tesla of chicken,” these direct-to-consumer nuggets are definitely not a freezer regular. Their price firmly places them in the "special occasion" camp. That said, if you’re looking for a pick-me-up and a tasty, high-tech nugget, look no further than NUGGS.

Deli Slices

Field Roast Deli Slices

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Sometimes you just want a hearty sandwich, you know? At least we feel that way. With Field Roast’s Mushroom and Balsamic slices, you achieve the rustic, savory flavor your sandwich needs to satisfy your midday hunger. Averse to balsamic? Their Lentil & Sage and Smoked Tomato flavors also hit the spot.

Sweet Earth Seitan Slices

Looking for something even meatier? Try out Sweet Earth’s Seitan Slices! We hear these tender and thicc (yes, with two c’s) sandwich additions make for the perfect patty melt. Their whopping 22 grams of guilt-free protein are sure to power you through your day. Also, their Benevolent Bacon gets rave reviews!

Fish

Gardein Fishless Fillets

Ahoy! The next generation of plant-based fish is on the horizon! But in the meantime, if you’re looking to keep the taste of the sea in your diet, Gardein is your best bet. Their Fishless Fillets will press all your childhood fish stick nostalgia buttons.

Good Catch Plant-based Tuna

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Missing that good old-fashioned, diner-style tuna melt? Make a plant-based one with Good Catch! This six-legume blend of proteins is filled with the seafood flavor you (may) love and the omega-3 fatty acids our bodies need. Alternatively, if you’re interested in a homemade version try out this tuna-less salad recipe.

 

Did we miss your favorite plant-based meat? Share it on social media with #EatPlantsForAChange and tag us @CompassionUSA!  

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