Oh yeah. We know. The taste of bacon is ... pretty universally loved but, then again, humans are also supposed to taste delicious and we prefer our piglets alive and well, so we get our bacon fix from these two piglet-approved providers:
Upton's Naturals BACON Seitan. These strips look like bacon and fry up deliciously. One of my favorite things about this brand is that they donate a portion of their proceeds to "keeping happy pigs happy" at Farm Sanctuary. This means, we get to enjoy the crispy delicious taste of bacon while HELPING pigs and our own health ("real" animal bacon is NOT good for your health, just in case you didn't know. More here). Instead, we get protein and veggies withOUT the nasty nitrates, cholesterol, oil, antibiotics, and, of course, cruelty.
Sweet Earth Hickory and Sage Benevolent Bacon. This is for people who like a little more spice, kick and marinade to their bacon. It's "smoky, saucy, savory" good. Brilliantly, their frozen bacon can be thawed and stored unopened in the fridge for SIXTY DAYS.
Beyond Meat wins my favorite burger award. It's the burger of Ripple milk. Ripple is the only non-dairy milk alternative I've found that looks, tastes, smells, etc., like - and is virtually indistinguishable from cow's milk. Likewise, Beyond Meat burgers look, taste, smell - are virtually indistinguishable from hamburgers made from a cow's body. I know because I grew up eating meat. My significant other and I both kind of freaked out the first time we ate Beyond Meat burgers because we thought they had to be "real" meat. I re-read the packaging ten times just to reassure myself I was not eating an animal. The Beyond Meat burgers look like raw beef in the package and, in Whole Foods, I've found them in with the meat-meat section and I bet you money someone took them home, having no idea they were eating vegan. They sizzle up from red to cooked-burger color in about 5 minutes in the frying pan. Add mustard, red onions, some of the above-referenced ethical "bacon" and you'll be in heaven.
After bacon, what's more fun than sizzling sausage patties for breakfast? Our top vegan picks for a sizzly deliciousness that's cruelty-free, protein and iron-packed are:
Lightlife Gimme Lean meatless Veggie Breakfast Patties. These tasty patties provide 6g of veggie protein a patty.
Yves Veggie Breakfast Patties (vegan). Yves is for people who like their sausages a little softer and less "crispy" and their patties have 5g of protein each.
For more breakfast ideas, click here and here.
Love pepperoni pizza? We have found a meatless pepperoni that even my meat-loving significant other proclaims is BETTER tasting than "real" animal pepperoni. It's hands-down delicious: Lightlife Smart Deli Veggie Pepperoni slices. They have 8g protein per serving and they are incredible. Just buy some, put them on a pizza with a little vegan mozzarella "cheese" and bake it and eat it and you will never go back to animal pepperoni again.
5. MEATY KABOBS
Our favorite cruelty-free kabob meat is Sweet Earth's curry recipe Seitan. It has an unbelievable 28g of protein a serving, is low fat, sustainable, cholesterol-free, nitrate-free, antibiotic-free, and, obviously, cruelty-free. The seasoning is lovely and these are savory, juicy and tender in a stir fry or on kabobs. I love them with a bit of coconut oil and shiso leaves. These show off as very "fancy" party appetizers and are great for entertaining as well.
6. CHICKEN, STEAK AND PORK STRIPS
Our favorites are Smiling Hara Hempeh (1) miso ginger strips and (2) smoked salt and pepper steaks. These strips can be fried, baked, etc., like strips of chicken or pork in a stir fry or on their own. You can put them in tacos, quesadillas, on sandwiches, in salads, and even in vegan sushi rolls. They're tempeh made with soybeans and hemp seeds. They're gluten free and full of protein (18g per serving). No cholesterol or cruelty (they're vegan, of course). The miso ginger seasoning in the miso ginger one is, just, well, heavenly.
There are MANY many more vegan meat alternatives that are healthy, tasty and ethical. These are just a few of our favorites. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to message me and I'll update this post with more!