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9 Vegan Substitutes That Taste Like the Real Thing

The hardest part of switching to a vegan diet is figuring out how to continue having the foods that you love. Just because you're vegan doesn't mean you stop craving melty cheese pizza or chocolate ice cream! However, some vegan substitutes are such a far cry from the real deal that they're not even worth it. Here are 9 vegan substitutes that come pretty darn close to the real thing.

1. Jackfruit for Pulled Pork

Jackfruit is a popular meat substitute because it mimics the texture of meat so well. It's especially great for substituting chicken, pork, or tuna, and can be made into vegan pulled pork, tacos, or fishcakes.

2. Seitan for Fried Chicken

Seitan is another yummy vegan alternative to meat, especially good if you're craving fast food like fried chicken. Also called wheat gluten, seitan is made of wheat protein, and is super versatile and tasty. This meatless ingredient can be fried with seasoned batter to replace fried chicken, or grilled or roasted to avoid using so much oil.

3. Tempeh for Bacon

Tempeh is made of fermented soybeans and is firmer than tofu, which is made from soybeans. This makes tempeh the better choice when craving meat, as it's closer in texture to meat products. Tempeh is a good substitute for bacon, as you can slice it thinly and dry it. Flavor with hickory smoke and maple syrup or brown sugar to get that smoky bacon taste.

4. Impossible and Beyond Burgers

If you're craving a burger, Impossible Burgers and Beyond Burgers are the best out there for imitating the taste and texture of meat. These patties are both delicious at a BBQ and taste so much like the real deal! As veggie burgers go, these two brands are the best choice for a burger-craving omnivore.

5. Meat Crumbles for Ground Beef

As veganism becomes more popular, meat substitutes get better and better. There are many tasty meat crumbles that taste just like ground beef, to eat in pasta, casseroles, tacos, or whatever suits your fancy! You can find them at most grocery stores. Just prepare the meat crumbles like you would ground beef for a quick, easy vegan substitute.

6. Aquafaba for Egg Whites

Eggs are another important ingredient to replace when going vegan, especially if you love baking. Aquafaba is the water in a can of chickpeas, and it's a good substitute for egg whites. You can use it for brownies, sponge cake, mousse, meringues, and many other baked goods, without sacrificing taste or texture. It's also a great substitute for mayonnaise in dairy-free sauces. It tastes just like the real deal!

7. Flax Eggs for Eggs

If you need a whole egg substitute in baking rather than just the egg white, flax eggs are a good way to go. You simply mix hot water with ground flaxseed meal, and you have the perfect egg replacer. Chia seeds are another option, and both will leave your baked goods tasting just like the non-vegan version.

8. Avocado for Butter

Butter is another ingredient that you'll have to forgo when following a vegan diet. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this and still make scrumptious baked goods, no dairy involved. Mashed avocado is my personal favorite replacement for butter, because of its creamy texture. Some other popular options for vegan recipes are applesauce, vegan butter and mashed banana.

9. Soy Milk for Cow's Milk

Although no non-dairy milk tastes just like cow's milk, soy milk comes pretty close. Its flavor and texture imitate cow's milk, and the differences are subtle. You can also go for oat, cashew, hemp or almond milk, but soy milk is best if you're looking for a vegan substitute that comes close to the original.