A little off topic today, but I wanted to share with you an article from NPR related to a field I follow with great interest, and that is the development of animal product substitutes. This article talks about fish in particular.
The thing that makes fish substitutes seem promising to me is that sea vegetables really do offer seafood flavor, in all its complexity, without the animal. Land animals are a harder nut to crack. Nonetheless I have at times been amazed at just how unimpressive the alternatives to meat and other animal products can be. I’m very skeptical that something like a filet mignon, smoked pork, or a roasted bird could ever really be recreated artificially. But there are some meat products that I think lend themselves fairly well to substitutes, primarily those that are more about texture than flavor. Boneless skinless chicken breast, for example- It hardly has any flavor at all, and it seems a shame that CAFOs full of chickens would have to live miserably and die in order to obtain such a tasteless product that people eat (I believe anyway) more due to it being inoffensive and versatile than because of any particular virtues it possesses. Beyond Meat is an interesting company that has recently gone mainstream selling chicken and beef substitutes that were designed, after much research, to be texturally nearly identical to meat. I have actually tried their grilled “chicken” and I would say my overall assessment is that it’s odd, but not entirely bad. The jury is still out for me on that one.
Ground beef is another product that I think lends itself very well to replacement, since in many recipes it is more about the texture and the filling quality of the meat, rather than the flavor itself. As far as ground beef, my favorite substitute is probably textured soy protein, which can also be added to meat to extend it so you can use less. Another product I’d like to give a shout-out to is the Morningstar Farms Grillers Prime burgers. I love them!
If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, here is an interesting article from Popular Science:
5 thoughts on “Faux Filet”
That NPR (and PopSci) articles are both great and tomato sushi is definitely VERY interesting. That picture alone is enough to make you want to try it.
Thanks for the mention and feedback about our Beyond Chicken strips too. We’re constantly working to improve our products and we hope you’re willing to give us a try in the future and let us know how far we’ve come!
Don’t forget to check out our Beyond Beef Crumbles too for a nice replacement for grounds and if you’re talking burgers, our Beast Burger is set to hit Whole Foods freezers in February so we’d love to know your thoughts there too 🙂
Hey, thanks for your message! I definitely will give you a try again and very much support all your work! I look forward to trying the Beast Burger!
What sea vegetables are a good replacement for fish? I don’t think I’m buying that one. Then again I really love my seafood. Replacement meat seems ok to me in dishes where there is a lot of other flavors going on and meat is just an additive, casseroles etc. I’m one of those very rare Texans that is ok with vegetarian chili. However, some soy products can cause gastrointestinal distress in many people. TVP is not my friend in large doses, and I’m not alone. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. Vegetables are great when we treat them like vegetables, and meat is great when we enjoy it as meat.
Weren’t you a vegetarian? 😉 I’m not saying they’re a replacement for fish but, given the right technique they might give them something to work off of besides the overused soy… But I agree that nobody will be replacing the filet mignon anytime soon.
Recovering vegetarian! 🙂