These days, memes such as: “Yes, I’m a vegan! No, I don’t miss meat!” However, not all vegans and vegetarians feel this way. Many of them, even after several years of plant-based nutrition, recall the tastes of meat and fish dishes with a sense of nostalgia. There are people who refused meat for ethical reasons, and not because the taste of meat disgusted them. These people are the hardest. How to solve this problem?
Any desire is natural. It is necessary to realize their existence, to understand what generates them, and to accept them. Then the only thing left is to figure out what to do with them. The easiest way out in this case is to create vegetable versions of selected meat dishes. Wanting meat doesn’t mean you have to eat it. It is possible to satisfy the desire for meaty tastes through a plant-based diet.
It should be noted that the feeling of being unable to live without meat may be due to physiological reasons. Meat contributes to the release of substances similar to opium in the body. Dairy products and sugar have the same effect.
This is a physical addiction. Refusal of cheese, sugar, meat causes withdrawal symptoms. However, if the withdrawal of these products lasts long enough, then the craving for them decreases and eventually disappears.
If we are talking about taste nostalgia, then culinary and fantasy come to our aid. The following is a list of plant foods that taste identical to the taste of meat dishes.
Umami became popular relatively recently, but was known more than a century ago. Umami is the name of the fifth taste, “rotten”, along with four other tastes – bitter, sweet, salty and sour. Umami makes food taste sharp, complex, full-bodied and satisfying. Without umami, the product may seem insipid. Scientists have recently discovered a taste bud that they believe evolved in humans so that we can enjoy minds. Umami is present in meat, salted fish, as well as Roquefort and Parmesan cheeses, soy sauce, walnuts, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli.
What does this mean for vegans and vegetarians? The researchers believe that some people may have never encountered umami, it is much easier for them to give up animal products and the taste of meat. But for others who are familiar with the minds, the refusal is given with great difficulty. In fact, their nostalgia for meat is nostalgia for rotten taste. For the same reason, many vegans eat large amounts of meat substitutes and plant-based meat-flavored meals. Vegetarians, in this case, are in a slightly more advantageous position, since cheeses are available to them. Vegans, on the other hand, have only one thing left to do: eat foods with as rich a taste as possible.
The market for meat substitutes is growing. However, you can make your own meat ersatz using tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, or seitan.
When it comes to cooking a plant-based version of a meat dish, the first thing to understand is what texture we want. If we want the texture of beef that can be cut with a knife and fork, then seitan should be preferred. Seitan can be cooked in a variety of ways to achieve the firmness of a steak, the tenderness of fried pork, or the texture of chicken wings that you can enjoy chewing. Seitan perfectly simulates the texture of pork and chicken, although well-pressed firm tofu is also suitable for simulating chicken meat. Tofu can also mimic the taste of fish.
While tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, and seitan are excellent, sometimes we just want to eat vegetables. Many vegetables have a meaty taste, such as jackfruit. The taste of jackfruit is more pungent than sweet. This fruit is an ideal ingredient in sandwiches, stews, and more. Lentils, beans, eggplant, and even nuts have a meaty flavor. Among the representatives of the kingdom of mushrooms, champignons are endowed with the most meaty taste.
Seasonings are the second most important component of any dish after texture. After all, few people eat meat without seasoning. When preparing a vegetable imitation of meat, you can use the same set of spices as when preparing the original dish.
Crushed chili, paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander, mustard, brown sugar go well with seitan.
Store-bought bouillon cubes are not vegetarian, let’s say chicken cubes do contain chicken. You can cook vegetable broth and add seasonings to it, as well as soy sauce, tamari, red pepper sauce.
Game seasoning may be recommended by manufacturers for use in chicken and turkey dishes, but in reality it is a vegan seasoning. There is not a trace of game in it, nor is there any meat in the steak seasoning. They are simply mixtures of herbs and spices that we associate with meat. It is enough to mix thyme, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, parsley, black pepper, and seasoning with a hint of game is ready.