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January 11, 2022 4 min read

Cravings are a normal part of life. Understanding our appetites, knowing where they come from, and accepting them can be helpful. Then it's only a question of what we're going to do about it.

If you're participating in Veganuary, you may experience meat cravings, but that doesn't mean you have to consume meat. Below are our top tips. to satisfy your cravings for meat on a plant-based diet. 

Understanding Your Cravings 

Those feelings of not being able to live without meat may be physical. It produces opiate-like compounds. Many of our desires are caused by these substances. When we stop eating meat, we can experience serious withdrawal symptoms. The good news is that those desires will soon disappear. 

However, not all cravings are physical. Sure, there's the flavour of meat that we miss, but it's more complicated than that. Memories, associations, customs, and emotions are all linked to food and eating. Every dish you miss may be evoking a memory — time spent with family or friends, comfort foods that communicated love, and activities that were enjoyable and a part of your life. So, when we have food cravings, it's possible that we're also craving the people, places, and events that those foods were a part of.

Fake Your Meats  

There is a multitude of fake meats on the market, and the quality of the products is improving all the time, with excellent taste and texture. We have a whole blog dedicated to the best fake meats for Veganuary. 

However, you can get that meaty flavour without buying any brand-name meat substitutes by using tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, or seitan instead. When you want to recreate a beloved meaty dish, consider what texture you need to replicate.

Choose seitan if you want your fake meat to have the texture of beef and be able to be sliced with a fork and knife. Seitan can be prepared in a variety of ways to mimic the firmness of a steak, the softness of a pot roast, or the chewiness of ribs. Seitan can also be used to mimic the texture of pork.

Tofu will help you make all of your favourite chicken meals, whether you cut it into cubes for crispy Chinese fare or slice it into cutlets to bread and fry.

Depending on whether you prefer the firmness of scallops or the flakiness of "fish" fillets, tofu and tempeh work well in recreating fish dishes. Tempeh is a great ground beef substitute for Sloppy Joes, meatloaves, and Shepherd's pies.

Satisfying Your Craving With Vegetables  

There are a variety of veggies with meaty flavours and textures. Mushrooms, particularly Portobellos, are excellent for meaty recipes such as stews, burgers, and stroganoff.

Although jackfruit is a fruit, its flavour is more savoury than sweet, making it an excellent addition to BBQ sandwiches, stews, and other meaty dishes.

Lentils, beans, eggplant, and even nuts are examples of vegetables that can replace meat and satisfy your cravings.

Choose Your Seasonings

Seasoning is the main component that makes meat taste so wonderful, second only to texture. After all, no one eats plain meat without seasoning it, so why should vegetables be any different?

The same spice blends that you would use on meat can be utilised on veggies. Although poultry seasoning is advertised for use with chicken and turkey, it's often vegan. There is no steak in steak seasoning; there is no genuine poultry in poultry seasoning. These are simply herb and spice blends that we've grown to associate with meat.

To manufacture your own "poultry" seasoning, combine sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, celery seed, allspice, and black pepper. To make your own seitan steak spice rub, combine chile powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander, mustard powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.

Vegan-ify Your Broths

Chefs use chicken broth for everything since it has extra flavour, so let's develop a vegan broth with that same extra flavour. Vegan "chicken" or "beef" broth or bouillon cubes can be purchased, or you can prepare your own broth.

Simply season veggie broth with "poultry" seasoning to make vegan "chicken" soup. To make a thick, meaty "beef" broth, combine tamari, soy sauce, liquid aminos or vegan Worcestershire sauce, red wine or red wine vinegar, and black pepper in veggie broth.

For spectacular results, use your fragrant "meaty" broths in soups, sauces, gravies, or anywhere else you'd use broth or water in a recipe.

Get Your Nutrients

Your body will often tell you if there is a lack of nutrients, which could be the cause of your craving for meat.

One of the earliest signs of protein shortage is meat cravings, which are often accompanied by other symptoms such as weak and brittle nails.

When you're deficient in vitamins, it's common for your body to have strange cravings. Vitamin B12, for example, induces mood changes as well as food (meat) cravings.

Have you developed a strong desire for red meat? It's possible that your body is in desperate need of additional iron. Iron is required to form red blood cells and transport oxygen, and a shortage of it might make you feel tired and weak. If you have an iron deficiency, you may crave the taste of steak even if you don't eat meat.

​​It is possible to satisfy your appetite for meaty food, as well as your meat-loving friends and family, without having to cook or consume meat. It's all about the taste and texture, and with these tips, you'll be able to prepare rich, meaty, and delicious plant-based dishes for Veganuary.

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