Pulled pork is a specialty packed with flavor and a meat-lover favorite. If you’ve decided to become vegetarian, you might find yourself longing for this dish.
If this is the case, you’ll be happy to know there are pulled pork alternatives that look, taste, and smell just like the original.
There are a few exceptional options in this arena. On the one hand, there’s jackfruit, nature’s response to pulled pork.
On the other hand, you can also go for the more common vegetarian ingredients like mushrooms and lentils or try something new with banana peels.
Alternatively, you can buy an excellent pre-made vegetarian substitute for pulled pork if you don’t feel like cooking.
Read on to learn more about your vegetarian options for this pork dish.
What Is a Vegetarian Substitute for Pulled Pork?
However, you can still find some great alternatives, both homemade and pre-made.
Homemade recipes require more effort, but the cooking time doesn’t come close to the meat-based pulled pork.
When looking for a believable pulled pork substitute, ensure that the ingredient has the requisite signature stringy texture.
Also, the seasoning is crucial for a delicious pulled pork dish, so your choice should be easy to infuse with flavor.
Let’s take a look at my recommended vegetarian substitutes for pulled pork.
Jackfruit is a tropical tree fruit native to Asia. It has a thick rind and stringy flesh that you can eat raw or use for cooking.
It bears an uncanny resemblance to pulled pork when cooked correctly because of its stringy and meaty texture.
To make the vegetarian pulled pork from scratch, you need to use your hands to shred the fruit’s flesh. This may get a little messy since jackfruit is quite sticky.
If you’d like to save some time, you can use a canned variety.
With canned jackfruit, buy the one packed in water and not in brine. The brine is sweet, which might take away from your pulled pork’s final taste.
Jackfruit-based pulled pork is believable enough to fool even meat-lovers, but it’s also extremely healthy.
Jackfruit is rich in vitamin A and potassium. In addition, it helps maintain good eye-sight and keep the blood pressure in check.
On top of that, it’s pretty easy on the wallet, and the cooking process takes no more than an hour from start to finish.
The only downside to using jackfruit as a meat substitute is that it has little to no protein.
If this is an issue for you, check out my other options to find a protein-packed vegetarian substitute for pulled pork.
Mushrooms constitute an absolute must-have in vegetarian kitchens. They offer a wide range of textures, and you can prepare them in many different ways.
Consider mushrooms like oyster, shiitake, and portobello if you’re turning to them for your pulled-pork needs.
These mushrooms have a unique meaty flavor, perfect for pulled pork. Additionally, oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms have large stems that you can shred with a fork.
This leaves you with a texture similar to the shredded meat necessary for an authentic pulled pork substitute.
Mushrooms are also very healthy. They contain vitamin B and powerful antioxidants such as selenium that support your immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.
Lentils are a mighty source of protein and a staple ingredient in vegetarian and vegan cooking. So, it’s not surprising you can use them to make your pulled pork dreams come true.
However, pay special attention to the seasoning. To make your lentils taste like pulled pork, use the same flavors as the traditional dish.
BBQ sauce is essential for that recognizable smoky flavor.
Apart from being protein-packed, lentils are also rich in fiber, folate, and potassium. As a result, they help manage your blood pressure and cholesterol and are heart-healthy.
Organic Banana Peels
Although a newcomer to the US vegetarian scene, organic banana peels have been eaten in countries like India for a long time.
A banana peel is very different than its pulp. It’s thick, stringy, and tastes somewhat bitter.
The stringy texture makes it a great vegetarian substitute for pulled pork.
You can break the peel into strings using a knife or a fork and follow your favorite recipe to make delicious pulled pork.
As far as health benefits go, bananas are rich in vitamin B12, potassium, and magnesium.
Pre-Made Vegetarian Substitute for Pulled Pork
If the significantly shorter cook time is still not as fast as you’d like, there is an excellent pre-made vegetarian substitute for pulled pork.
Upton’s Natural’s Bar-B-Que Jackfruit is one of the best pre-made pulled-pork alternatives. As the name suggests, it’s made out of jackfruit, which perfectly mimics pulled pork.
The best thing about it is that it comes cooked. Top it with coleslaw, and you’ll have a perfect pulled pork sandwich for when you don’t feel like cooking.
If you’re done with pork for its detrimental effect on the environment and your health, you might think you have to leave your favorite meals behind.
However, saying goodbye to meat doesn’t mean saying goodbye to pulled pork – not when there are excellent homemade and pre-made options.
Finding an acceptable vegetarian substitute for pulled pork isn’t as easy as patties and sausages, but the available alternatives are so believable that their number doesn’t matter.
After all, quality always trumps quantity.