Meat like, but not meat! Try these plant alternatives instead

by Sanjeev Kapoor

There is no sincerer love, than the love for food! The long period of lockdown has made things tough for each one of us. This has impacted hugely on our cooking and food choices as well. Undeniably, we have been longing for non-vegetarian delights all this while, as stepping out to buy non-vegetarian foods has been a thing of concern in terms of hygiene. 


So, worry not! You will be delighted to know that though you might be missing out all of this but going vegetarian would not mean that you will have to sacrifice the food you love the most. While you’ve been carrying many troubles on your shoulders missing out the food fun, we thought why not diminish the meat cravings and reveal some really delicious plus super nutritious substitutes for you! We bet this will take your indulgence to the next level and you won’t miss the meats after all! 



Since ages, jackfruit has always been an integral part of Indian cuisine. According to the archaeological findings, it is said that jackfruit was first cultivated in India around 3000 to 6000 years ago. Additionally, it is also widely cultivated in Southeast Asia. 


Little did we know:

  1. You can eat jackfruit in both forms, that is raw as a fruit and cooked as a vegetable. Its leaves are also very useful. The taste and texture, when cooked, resembles meat. Hence, it is also referred to as vegan meat. 

  2. It is low in calories. Eating jackfruit can lessen the risk of heart attacks and is good for better vision.

  3. It is packed with nutrients like fibre, proteins, magnesium, copper, potassium, Vitamin A and C. 



There have been pieces of evidence showing that mushrooms have been consumed by humans since the stone age.


Interesting facts you might have missed:

  1. These umbrella-shaped fungi are a storehouse of Vitamin D, proteins, selenium and phosphorus which makes it a healthy as well as a delicious meat substitute.

  2. Mushrooms were referred to as the ‘food of the Gods’ in ancient Rome. 

  3. Mushrooms grow from spores and not seeds. 



Beets hail from the Mediterranean region. Its leaves have historic records, where they were used for medicinal purposes. It became a popular food when its potential was recognised by the French chefs in the 1800s.


Why it can make the heart ‘beet?’

  1. It has a distinctive taste and texture, is loaded with fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. It has the power to cure hangovers. 

  2. Owing to its crunchy texture, it makes a great food for people who want to relish meat but in a vegetarian form. Koftas, kababs and crisp fries – you name it and you’ve got it! 

  3. The world's biggest beet was grown by a Dutchman. It weighed around 156 pounds.

  4. In ancient times, the root portion was not used for cooking. It was used as a medicine for treating painful disorders like headache and toothache.


Sweet Potato

It was well established as a food plant in South and Central America when Christopher Columbus arrived in the 'New World' of the late 15th century. He brought sweet potatoes back to Spain and introduced it to the taste buds and gardens there.


What’s so sweet about it? 

  1. It was first cultivated at least 5,000 years ago and 80% of the world’s sweet potatoes come from China.

  2. It has a high percentage of beta-carotene. You can enjoy it in the form of fries, pie, casseroles and much more. 

  3. It is a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

  4. It comes in more colours than just orange. White, yellow, orange, red and even purple! 



The first record of this plant was found in India and was also cultivated in China for more than 1500 years. European and African cuisines also use eggplant a lot. 


We bet you didn’t know this:

  1. It is a powerhouse of Vitamin K, potassium, fibre, folate, proteins, etc.

  2. Wondering why it is called “eggplant” in US, Australia and Canada? It is because these countries had the first varieties, which were white or yellow in colour and the shape resembled an egg.  

  3. Eggplant is called aubergine in UK and brinjal in India as well as other parts of Asia.

  4. Eggplant flowers and leaves are hazardous for human consumption. 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.