A mere decade ago, faux meats were mostly a fringe food, sought after at small health food stores by vegetarians and vegans.
Some tasted great, others were as appealing as dog food.
I remember my first veggie hot dog, back in 1997, purchased at a speciality vegetarian supermarket. It reminded me of potpourri with salt.
Over the past decade, vegetarianism (even if occasional) has been adopted by millions of people around the world, consequently resulting in a wider variety of much tastier faux-meat products available at conventional supermarkets.
One of my absolute favorite products is soy beef crumbles, available from the folks over at Boca Burger and Morningstar Farms.
I especially like to add some to my vegan chili.
As I always like to say, you know a soy product is good when steak enthusiasts gobble it up, can't believe that's ground SOY beef they are eating, and ask for seconds!
Now, let's compare and contrast.
Two ounces (two thirds of a cup) of Boca ground soy beef crumbles contribute 60 calories, .5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 270 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of protein.
The same amount of Morningstar farms soy crumbles adds up to 80 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 240 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein. They are also fortified with half of the daily B12 requirement!
If you were to use that same amount of 70 percent lean ground beef in a recipe, you would be adding 153 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 14.5 grams of protein to it.
Even if going for a 90 percent lean variety, you would still be having 100 calories, 5.7 grams of fat, 2.3 grams of saturated fat, and 11 grams of protein.
This is not to say all your animal meat dishes should be replaced with vegetarian options.
However, soy beef enables you to satiate your taste for red meat in a much healthier way.
I dare all of you to substitute regular beef for soy crumbles in your next recipe (sloppy Joes, chili, shepherd's pie) and notice a difference!