Shake up Your Diet With These Delectable Plant-Based Ground Beef Alternatives and Recipes


Jan. 11 2024, Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

A vegan hamburger on a bun during the Vegan World Fair organized by the Veggie World association in Turin
Source: Getty Images

While there are plenty of frozen boxed meals you could still enjoy or recipes with creative protein sources for vegans, you might want to give plant-based ground beef a try this week. The consistency and aroma may surprise you as much as the taste.

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If you're someone who turned to a plant-based lifestyle but still crave that beef-y flavor, recreate your favorite childhood casserole or the soups that warmed your bones in the winter. Use these beloved plant-based beef alternatives and recipes to easily diversify your diet.

Tapa Bobotie, a vegan meatloaf and bread typical of South Africa, on a plate
Source: Getty Images

Try some of the best plant-based ground beef products.

These are some of the most popular plant-based ground beef products. Read about the pros and cons of each option before adding one to your grocery list.

1. People love Impossible Beef.

Researchers with Statista found that 30 percent of consumers who prefer plant-based beef rely on the Impossible brand. It’s a sustainable alternative to ground beef because it uses soy leghemoglobin. It also contains essential minerals like vitamin D, calcium, and iron, per the Impossible website.

It’s worth noting that some researchers have raised concerns regarding eating soy leghemoglobin in the long term. A safety review by Trends in Food Science & Technology notes that specific types of soy can contain toxins, but the extent of damage with long-term dietary usage is unknown.

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However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did approve soy leghemoglobin as a food coloring additive, so it’s safe for consumption. Moderation is the key to making any dietary addition healthier.

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2. Other consumers prefer Beyond Beef.

People love Beyond Beef so much that the company reports 93 percent of consumers are enjoying the product even though they don’t eat a vegan diet, per CNBC. The flavor and texture have been continuously competitive with other plant-based ground beef brands. It’s why you’ll find Beyond Beef in grocery stores and restaurants.

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The Beyond website notes that its product contains 35 percent less fat than other plant-based beef options, plus vitamins and minerals. It derives its protein from peas instead of soy.

Although one of the Pennsylvania facilities tested positive for bacteria strains in 2023, according to Bloomberg, the brand is still a beloved plant-based meat worldwide. The FDA’s records show it hasn’t faced any recalls since 2017.

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3. Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Ground Be’f Crumbles also wins people over.

You might not look forward to ground beef recipes because browning the plant-based beef adds extra time to your meal preparation. Gardein’s Be’f Crumbles product removes that challenge. They’re ready to go in a freezer bag, so you just have to warm them up.

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The brand’s website notes that one serving has 23 grams of protein plus additional vitamins and minerals. There’s no history of recalls, but consumers should note the product may seem pricey. According to CNBC, the average bag has a $4.79 price tag, per Shop Smart, which is standard for plant-based meats.

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Explore new recipes featuring plant-based ground beef.

Try a few of these recipes once you’ve picked a new plant-based ground beef at your local grocery store. They might bring your favorite meals back to your dinner plate or introduce entirely new flavors.

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1. Savor some vegan tacos.

Grab at least one pound of your preferred alternative beef and prepare for taco night. Whether you like hard or soft shells, this recipe from Loving It Vegan is the perfect meal if you want something spicy and savory.

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  • 1 pound plant-based beef

  • Hard or soft shell tacos

  • 1/2 diced white onion

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 15-ounce can of black beans, drained

  • 1 jar of your preferred salsa

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  1. Brown your selected beef according to the package’s instructions.

  2. Sautee the diced onions in the olive oil until they’re translucent.

  3. Combine them and the beef, along with all other ingredients.

  4. Spoon into your preferred tacos and enjoy alongside salads or chips and dip.

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2. Make a plant-based meatloaf.

Plant-based ground beef makes some of the easiest and tastiest vegan meatloaf. Throw this recipe from The Cheeky Chickpea together in under 30 minutes for your next meal.

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    • 2 12-ounce packages of plant-based beef
    • 1/4 cup plant-based milk
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 2 tablespoons ketchup

    • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

    • 1 teaspoon onion powder

    • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce)

    • 1/2 teaspoon parsley

    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

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    1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with a long piece of parchment paper.
    2. Mix the breadcrumbs and milk together in a small bowl and set aside.
    3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Add the breadcrumb and milk mixture. Shape everything into a meatloaf on the baking sheet.
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    3. Enjoy a bowl of vegan Hamburger Helper.

    Cheesy pasta and meat dishes are some of the best comfort foods. Make this easy recipe from The Wimpy Vegetarian this week to enjoy a classic bowl of homemade Hamburger Helper.

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    • 1 pound plant-based ground beef

    • 1 cup of diced yellow onion

    • 2 teaspoons olive oil

    • 1 tablespoon chili powder

    • 1 teaspoon paprika

    • 2 teaspoons oregano

    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    • 1 1/2 cups plant-based milk

    • 1 cup water

    • 1/2 cup marinara sauce

    • 2 cups uncooked pasta noodles in any shape

    • 1 cup vegan cheddar cheese

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    1. Brown your selected beef according to the package’s instructions.
    2. Sautee the diced onion pieces in the olive oil until they’re translucent. Combine them with the beef and set aside.
    3. Pour the milk, water, cornstarch, and spices into a large saucepan and mix well with a whisk. There should be no clumps from the cornstarch. When there aren’t clumps, add the beef, onions, and uncooked pasta before stirring again.
    4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer until the pasta is al dente.
    5. Cook your selected pasta until it’s al dente.
    6. When the pasta is soft, add the marinara sauce and vegan cheese. Serve when the cheese melts.
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    Cook your next favorite meal this week.

    Explore the many possibilities plant-based ground beef has to offer in the coming weeks. Try the various brands to see which you like best and use them in popular recipes like these. You’ll easily incorporate them into your diet to maintain your health and vegan lifestyle.

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