Vegetarian Substitute for Steak: What Can You Eat Instead?

As steak is such well-loved food, it’s easy to miss it if you’ve decided to stop eating meat.

Whether you’ve chosen vegetarianism because of health or environmental reasons, eating familiar food can help maintain a vegetarian lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are ways to recreate steak’s recognizable taste, texture, and smell.

Several products can get the job done if you’re craving a sizzling steak. There are great vegetable options such as mushrooms, eggplant, or cauliflower and go-to vegetarian ingredients like tofu and seitan.

If you don’t feel like cooking, there are also some notable pre-made alternatives.

Keep reading to find out which vegetarian substitute for steak works best for you.

vegetarian substitute for steak

Why Choose a Vegetarian Substitute for Steak?

There are many reasons for wanting to switch to a steak alternative.

The meat industry is one of the leading contributors to global warming, causing deforestation and air and water pollution. Cows, in particular, produce greenhouse gases at alarming rates.

So, if you want to reduce your impact on the planet, you might want to find a vegetarian substitute for steak.

Additionally, animal cruelty might be why you don’t want to keep eating meat.

But unfortunately, there is no such thing as humane practice in the meat industry, so the only option is to avoid it altogether.

Finally, you might want to go the vegetarian route for health reasons.

Good things can happen to your body once you stop eating meat. It can lower cholesterol, improve digestion and help avoid certain diseases.

What Can Vegetarians Eat Instead of Steak?

With many people turning to vegetarianism, it’s easier to find plant substitutes for your favorite meat products.

However, a steak might be more challenging to replicate due to its distinct taste and texture.

So, when looking for the best vegetarian steak substitute, make sure that the main ingredient used can rise to the occasion.

As a good steak is tender and packed with flavor, find similar ingredients or products.

If they aren’t already, look for versatile ingredients that you can easily transform into a perfect steak in your kitchen.

Let’s take a look at my recommended vegetarian substitutes for steak.

Seitan

Seitan is a plant-based meat substitute made from vital wheat gluten. You can make it yourself or find a store-bought version.

Seitan is created by rinsing prepared wheat dough. This removes the starch and leaves a sticky and dense mass. You can add flavor to it and use it in many dishes.

As it’s easy to mold and transform, seitan can be a perfect steak alternative.

In addition, it’s chewy, which is optimal for the steak’s texture. Add your favorite BBQ seasoning to replicate the taste, and you’re good to go.

Many people like using seitan because it’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

However, this is not the best option if you suffer from gluten-related disorders. If that’s the case, consider other plant-based options below.

Overall, seitan is a great substitute for almost any meat product if you have the right seasoning. You can even use it to substitute chicken liver!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the most versatile vegetarian ingredients as they offer a considerable range of textures and preparation methods.

So if you’re turning to mushrooms to find the best vegetarian steak substitute, oyster and portobello mushrooms are the way to go.

Oyster mushrooms owe their name to their particular shape. It has a fantastic texture and a distinct meaty flavor crucial for an authentic steak experience.

The same goes for portobello mushrooms. It has a mild but savory flavor that pairs well with many dishes and seasonings.

Together with its dense texture, it makes for a delicious vegetarian steak.

Eggplant

Another excellent vegetable option for a steak substitute for vegetarians is eggplant.

It’s bulky, and it has a wonderful texture for this purpose.

You can achieve a meatier taste by adding herbal seasonings such as garlic, basil, and oregano.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is among the most versatile vegetables, so it’s not surprising you can also turn it into a steak.

It can be as hearty as eggplants and mushrooms when cut into thick steaks and perfectly roasted.

Tofu

Tofu has become a staple food in vegan and vegetarian kitchens.

This versatile ingredient has replaced dairy and meat products, and it can check off one more box: the steak substitute for vegetarians.

Tofu is well-known for its neutral taste, so the seasoning will give it the flavor you want. So find a recipe you like and fire up the grill.

Pre-Made Vegetarian Substitute for Steak

While pre-made products can often be highly processed and filled with undesirable ingredients, buying them is sometimes convenient.

Fortunately, there are more and more options to choose from. According to the data released by the Good Food Institute, vegan meat sales are growing significantly faster than animal meat.

As the sales show no signs of slowing down, this is great news for vegetarians and vegans alike. This means plant-based food will keep getting increasingly accessible and affordable.

While plant-based beef patties and sausages have been available for a long time, pre-made plant steaks are relatively new to the market (along with pulled pork and pork rinds).

Vivera is one of the first companies to develop a store-bought vegetarian substitute for steak.

The steak is made from mushrooms, coconut oil, sunflower oil, beetroot, potato soy, and wheat protein, so it’s also suitable for vegans.

If you don’t feel like cooking, check it out here.

Another quick and convenient option is Next Meat. Created in Japan, the company successfully debuted in the US in 2021.

They specialize in meats made from non-GMO soy. Instead of artificial additives, Next Meat uses seasonings such as soy sauce, garlic, salt, and sesame oil for a realistic beef flavor.

If you’d like to check for yourself, you can buy a plant-based steak here.

In Summary

As many consider it the king of meat products, finding a believable vegetarian substitute for steak is no easy task. It’s much easier to substitute whey protein, if you want to get your nutrients in.

However, you can be sure all the options discussed in the article will deliver the same look, bite, and taste of a steak.

If you’re not bothered by the taste of the meat itself but its detrimental effects, these plant-based alternatives are the way to go.

Luckily, these products and ingredients are more accessible than ever, owing to their successful sales.

So, find your favorite recipe or a pre-made piece, go shopping and enjoy a delicious steak.