[Vegan-Friendly] Soy-Based Meat and Dairy Replacements

  • Author: Ben
  • Date: June 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Soy-based meat and dairy replacements provide excellent alternatives for vegans. This versatile, protein-rich food source isn’t the only option. But it is more affordable than some, and because it’s produced in greater quantity, it’s readily available in stores in almost infinite varieties too. Read on to find out what our favorite soy-based meat and dairy replacements are.

Soy can be a great source of protein for those eating a vegan or a plant-based diet.

What To Look Out For

Edible soybeans are grown in parts of Asia. It is a member of the pea family, though it is light in color, rather than green.

Other foods such as tempeh have a good amount of soy in them, so you can get soy in your diet even if you don’t consume it directly.

Tempeh will contain soy.

Young soybeans are known as edamame, so don’t get caught out if you see this on the label; it just means that the bean is immature as soybeans go.

Soy is rich in calcium, which is excellent for healthy bone structure. Especially as vegans do not get calcium from foods such as milk and dairy.

Not getting enough nutrients in their diet can make some vegans look sick.

Also, as a replacement for meat, soy-based proteins help when wanting to consume a diet that’s lower in saturated fats.

Soy is lactose-free, full of omega-3, fiber, and antioxidants.

While some children particularly are allergic to soy, most people consume it without any issues.

Indeed, it is lactose-free, which solves some of the allergy issues relating to dairy for some non-vegans.

It also has plenty of Omega-3s, boosts the amount of fiber in your diet, and adds antioxidants too.

Soy has many benefits.

Health Benefits Of Soy

With the increasing popularity of vegan and different plant-based diets, more and more studies have been completed on soy. Out of these studies, a number of health benefits have been identified, including;

  • reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • reduce the risk of stroke
  • reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • reduce the risk of some cancers 
  • improving bone health

That’s to name but a few.

Soy is a high-quality protein

Look for food products that use soy as their primary protein source. Most vegan foods and drinks such as soy milk will be labeled as such.

Failing that, examine the list of ingredients. Usually, the soybean is a significant enough percentage of the product, that it’s near the top and easy to spot.

If you are new to eating a vegan diet or living a vegan lifestyle, why not check out our guide to what it means to be vegan?

Soy-Based Replacements for Dairy

Both for people who are lactose intolerant and for dedicated vegans, avoiding dairy products requires hunting for replacements.

For cow’s milk, choosing soy milk is the obvious alternative.

It provides clear health benefits including reduced menopausal health issues, e.g., fewer hot flushes for women.

Soy can be a great alternative to cows milk

Certainly, dairy cheese alternatives are now easier to find on supermarket shelves. Soy-based cheese is available from most major brands.

Also, if you’re partial to yogurt in the morning or as a mid-morning snack, then you’ll want a good option there too.

There are now fortified soy yogurts that deliver an ample dose of protein, vitamins, calcium, and some minerals to keep you chugging along. Look out for them!

Ice creams and other desserts are still possible as a vegan. Sometimes, these are soy-based, and other times they might use almond milk to get the appropriate texture.

For example, Breyer’s has an almond milk ice cream on the market.

Ben & Jerry’s also has vegan ice creams now too.

In each case, examine the ingredients to confirm if soy has been used or if it’s partially soy and partially another vegan-friendly protein source such as almond milk.

Round-Up: Soy-Based Replacements for Dairy

If you are new to a vegan, or plant-based diet and you are looking for vegan soy-based replacements for dairy products,

Original Soy-Based Replacement 
Animal MilkSoy Milk
CheeseSoy Cheese
Ice CreamIce cream made with soy milk
YogurtFortifies soy yogurt

Soy-Based Replacements for Meat

Meat replacements produced using soy are plentiful.

However, there are major differences between one soy product and the next.

The amount of processing that’s been done in a food factory is a determining factor for many vegans.

For example, the Nasoya Super Firm Tofu has little processing and uses germinated soybeans.

Be aware that not all soy products are created equal, know the quality of what you are buying beforehand.

These are even richer in protein and packed with calcium too. It also happens to be non-GMO and USDA Organic as well.

For any meat replacement, it is always best if your soy is organic and not produced from GMO seeds.

This ensures the purity, and the health benefits of its consumption.

When preparing a recipe that calls for ground meat or meat-free ingredients, the Gardein Gluten-Free Ultimate Plant-Based Beefless Ground Crumbles is an interesting option.

With plenty of amino acids, tons of protein per scoop, and being non-GMO and gluten-free, it’s a flexible ingredient to use.

Soy-Based Replacements for Seafood

Different seafood replacements are available depending on what you’re looking for.

While some seafood alternatives use soy, many include a mix of vegan meat alternatives to achieve a fish-like chunkier consistency, texture, and taste.

For instance, the Good Catch brand launched in 2016, offers fish-free Mediterranean tuna.

It is made from a soy, lentils, and chickpea protein blend.

This can deliver plenty of omega 3’s without needing to purchase a can of tuna to get it. Ideal for salads or to sprinkle over the top of other foods.

Gardein has also gone heavily into vegan seafood replacements. Their Gardein Mini Crabless Cakes fly off the shelves.

They also have several filet options to be used as part of the main meal.

Also, don’t forget Jinka’s tuna spread too. It’s available in spicy, original, or with lemon dill to jazz it up a bit. It is a great one to bring on hiking trips to fill a vegan roll.

There are an increasing amount of soy-based replacements for meat, dairy, and seafood. Some have a mix of vegan protein sources whereas others primarily use fermented soybeans.

Check out this article to find out,  are your vegan meat replacements safe?

Why You Should Try Soy Even If You Are Not Vegan

Raising animals for food has serious negative impacts on the environment. They cause no end of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to that ongoing environmental issue.

Eating soy as a meat replacement will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint.

Alongside this, they consume a lot of water.

This is before we get into the inhumanity of raising animals for food.

Overall, swapping our meat, dairy, or seafood for a soy-based alternative will help reduce your carbon footprint.

That is why we would advocate swapping out some of your meat products for soy-based alternatives.

Why not give #meatlessmondays a go?

Swap out your burger for a vegan, soy-based burger? You will not be stuck for choice when you go to your local store. Give it a go, you don’t know what you are missing out on.

If you have got vegan guests coming, and that is why you have been looking for soy-based dairy, and meat replacements, why not check out our guide as to what to serve your vegan guests, or BBQ ideas for vegan guests?

Wrapping It Up

There are a number of soy-based meat and dairy replacements out there. There are replacements for dairy, meat, and seafood, so you do not have to miss out on anything. Like everything, some of them are better quality than others. Do you have favorite soy-based meat and dairy replacement? Or, do you have any you’ve tried that you think the community should avoid? Let us know in the comments below.

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