Soy-based foods that simulate meat and meat products are called meat analogs. Made primarily from textured soy protein and other ingredients, meat analogs are an easy and tasty way to add soy to your daily diet…
You can find a wide variety of preformed, seasoned soy burgers – some are made with soy protein isolates, while others also include vegetables and grains. Make sure to check the list of ingredients – not all vegetarian burgers necessarily contain soy. Most burgers are no or low-fat and cholesterol-free, and a great source of soy protein (7 – 13 grams per burger). You can find most burgers in the frozen food section and sometimes with other meat analogs (ask where the tofu is placed, meat analogs are usually close by). As with any meat analog, you will have to try different brands to find one you enjoy. You may also want to experiment with cooking techniques – remember soy is already “cooked” and only needs to be reheated. Use a small amount of oil or cooking spray to keep the burgers from sticking. Soy or dairy cheese is a great topping, as are sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions.
Storage – Also check the label for storage suggestions – some should be kept in the freezer, while others can be stored in the refrigerator for approximately one week after opened.
Perhaps one of the most versatile meat analogs – you can find formed sausage in so many styles (links, patties, ground) and varieties (breakfast, Italian, smoked, Cajun, Mexican chorizo). Most stores will only carry a few varieties, so browse other markets when you have the chance. You will find most sausages with the other meat analogs – some breakfast sausages will be in the frozen food section with either soy and vegetarian burgers or with the frozen breakfast items. Breakfast varieties are a perfect accompaniment to omelets (which can be made with egg substitutes), pancakes and French toast. Ground sausage can be used as you would ground meat – try the Italian flavored in a pasta sauce or as a pizza topping. Formed sausage is great in stews, paella, or straight from the grill in a warm flour tortilla!
Storage – You can keep soy sausages in your refrigerator and should use within two weeks after opening Frozen breakfast sausages can be kept in your freezer
To be used as you would ground beef, turkey or pork – soy crumbles are usually vacuum packed and found with other meat analogs. Soy crumbles come in Italian and Taco seasonings, or plain. Soy crumbles are perfect in dishes that would require any type of ground meat, including pasta sauce, meatballs, and taco/burrito fillings. Soy crumbles are great to have on hand for quick and easy meals!
Storage – Can remain unopened and refrigerated for up to a month. Once opened, use within two weeks.
Very similar to “real” hot dogs, but with less fat. Several varieties contain soy protein isolates as well as tofu. You will usually find soy dogs with other meat analogs (next to soy crumbles, hamburgers, soy deli slices). Soy dogs are great for grilling – try topping with onions, cheese or sauerkraut!
Storage – Store soy dogs in the refrigerator and use them within one week after opening.
BACON & DELI
Soy bacon is made from soy protein isolates or tempeh and is fat-free. You can find bacon strip and bacon bits with other meat analogs or with regular bacon. Since there is no fat in bacon strips, they will tend to be drier than other types of bacon. You should warm the strips with a little bit of cooking spray or oil, for about one minute per side. Bacon bits are great on top of salads, potatoes and cream soups. You can also find soy deli products ( usually ham), which are perfect in submarine sandwiches and salads.
Storage – Both types of soy bacon (bits and strips) should be kept in the refrigerator – soy bacon must be used within two weeks of opening. Soy deli meat should also be refrigerated and used within one week of opening.