How to replace meat when you are a vegetarian?

Removing meat and fish from its diet to become perfectly vegetarian should be done in full awareness of the importance of food balance. To which products of animal origin turn to avoid any deficiency? Find the foods you’d prefer if you want to adopt a vegetarian diet.

A cereal and legumes association

The proteins are made up of a chain of molecules called “amino acids”. Of the 22 existing amino acids, 9 are called “indispensable” because they cannot be produced by the body and must therefore be brought through the diet. Associating cereals with legumes (or dried vegetables) allows the organism to bring these 9 precious amino acids as is the case in traditional recipes such as couscous (semolina + chickpeas) or chili (maize + red beans) for example.

Cereals: wheat (including bread, baking wheat, pasta, semolina), rice (including polenta) maize, quinoa, spelt, bulgur, etc. To benefit from all their nutritional virtues, the most interesting remains to choose raw cereals and cereal products with full or complete flour.

Legumes: lentils (brown, blond, coral, green), lentillons, dry beans (red, white, black, coco, beans, etc.), beans, lupine, soy and peas (broken, chick, whole). Nourishing, economical and ecological, legumes are a good source of protein, iron, calcium, fibre and potassium. Legumes are digested very well if they are thought to soak them 12 to 24 hours in water and add bicarbonate to the cooking water. Dried vegetables also exist in the form of flakes, flours and even pasta or fresh produce such as falafels.

The Seitan

Made from wheat flour, spelt or gluten, Seitan is very rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is above all an impressive source of protein: 100 g of Seitan bring 75 g of protein, 3 times more than a portion of meat. Its texture is closer to that of meat, it allows to replace it advantageously in many preparations, especially since its taste, quite neutral, allows to season it to infinity for any type of meal. Many imitation meat products are also based on Seitan.

Soy Products

Among the vegetable proteins that advantageously replace meat, there are a multitude of products made from soybeans: tofu Of course, but also tempeh, textured soy proteins and preparations such as steaks Plants. There is also the so-called “imitation meats” which replace meat and charcuterie in many recipes. All of these products contain high biological value plant proteins.

At equal weight, tempeh is more than twice as rich in protein as tofu: 19 g protein/100 g tempeh versus 8 g protein/100 g tofu. Tempeh is also very rich in fibre (unlike tofu) and brings potassium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and group B vitamins.


Nicknamed “Marine vegetables”, algae are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins, including vitamin B12 which is the first deficiency in vegetarians and vegans. They are also an interesting source of protein. The most consumed are brown and red algae, as well as some green algae. If sold dried or frozen, simply rehydrate them before cooking.

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