Can vegans eat meat?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query,” Can vegans eat meat?” and will discuss some vegan alternatives for meat.

Can vegans eat meat?

No, vegans can not eat meat. In general, plant-based meals are permitted whereas animal-based foods (such as dairy products and honey) are prohibited.

An estimated 3% of the population in the United States is vegan. The data for Europe range from 1 to 10% (e.g. 9% in Germany, 0.3% in Portugal). Each of them has a different purpose for eating in this manner. Some people choose to become vegan for health reasons. Certain illnesses’ risk may be lowered by following a plant-based diet. Some people abstain from eating meat because they don’t want to cause suffering to animals, while others do so to save resources (1).

What vegan can’t eat?

Not “what can vegans eat,” but rather “what can’t they?” is the better question to answer. A vegan diet forgoes any goods derived from animals or animals’ by-products. This implies that vegans abstain from eating any animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products like milk and honey. Even in modest doses, vegans refuse to consume items that include animal-derived substances. Vegans are particularly wary of the following common animal components in other foods:

·         Many sweets, such as fruit snacks, Pop-Tarts, Starbursts, and other confections, include gelatin (made from collagen extracted from animal tissues), which is found in the icing. Gelatin is used in marshmallows, gummy candies, yogurts, puddings, sour cream, cottage cheese, frostings, pies, soups (especially low-calorie or cream-based), ice cream, and margarine (2).

·         Crushed bugs are used to make confectioner’s glaze, a sweet glaze that includes shellac. Carmine, also known as cochineal, is a dark red-burgundy color produced by collecting and crushing large numbers of egg bearing female beetles, and is used in a wide range of products including strawberry milks and yogurts, fruit juices, maraschino cherries, candies (2).

·         Egg wash on baked items’ exteriors. Albumin, derived primarily from egg whites, is used to thicken a variety of food products, and as an emulsifier in dressings and sauces (2).

·         Potato chips that had chicken as one of the tastes! Animal products also often reside in catch-all phrases such as “enzymes” or “natural flavoring.” (2).

Can vegans eat anything that “may include” milk or other animal products since it’s “possible” that it has such ingredients?

Many people have this question, and even among vegans, I’ve seen it misconstrued. Food products that don’t explicitly state “may contain milk” or “may contain traces of milk” are appropriate for vegans since they don’t contain any milk.

If you see such a label, don’t assume that the producer willy-nilly adds milk to your product at random. You should expect cross-contamination if you see the term “pasteurized” on the label of any food you buy. People with dairy sensitivities should pay attention to the label, but vegans who don’t want to consume or spend money on dairy should feel free to purchase and eat the product nonetheless.

Cross-contamination can result from inadequate cleaning of industrial equipment and constitutes a hidden danger for allergic subjects who unknowingly ingest milk proteins. A common example of cross-contamination is the presence of traces of cow’s milk in dark chocolate. There are other foods where the presence of milk proteins is often declared but not suspected by consumers. Milk can be found in hamburger steak, hot dogs, sausages, and natural flavorings (caramel flavoring, coconut cream flavoring, etc.) (3).

Vegan substitutes for animal products including meat, poultry, and seafood 

For some, “where do vegans acquire their protein?” has become a major concern Here are a few plant-based protein-rich meals to try:


 A chewy, high-protein snack produced from whole soybeans, is an excellent vehicle for a variety of flavors. Orange Tofu and Tofu Tikka Masala are favorites among even tofu skeptics. For tofu production using the raw soy milk, the milk is first heated and then a coagulant is added to form tofu curd. The curd is then pressed to obtain a tofu product (4).

Beans and lentils

Beans and lentils, which are usually relegated to the role of filler or side dish in omnivorous recipes, may take center stage in a substantial stew. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie and Vegan Burritos with black beans are great examples of vegan dishes. Legume proteins from pea, lentil, lupine, chickpea, faba bean, mung bean and other types of beans have been examined on their functional properties, such as emulsification, foam stabilization and gel formation. However, lentils have waker gel formation properties than soybeans (5).


Seitan is a gluten-free grain product created from wheat flour that has had the starch removed. The end product is a high-protein, meaty-tasting dish that can take on any taste. Chili Colorado Seitan Stew or Vegan Mongolian Beef are two great options! It is used for its binding, dough-forming and leavening ability. Its cohesive and chewy quality gives the meat-like texture to the products prepared with wheat gluten (6).

Nuts and seeds

Protein- and healthful fat-rich nuts and seeds. Walnuts and hemp seeds are excellent providers of Omega-3 fatty acids; therefore, I often use them in my dishes. Walnut Lentil Loaf or Hemp Crusted Cauliflower Bowls for more recipe ideas. They’re both delicious. Nuts are widely used to produce milk analogues and cheese imitation (6).

Veggies may be the hero of a dish if you use inventive flavor combinations and dishes that are already macronutrient balanced. Some instances of vegetables serving a similar function to meat in terms of taste and texture are as follows:

Vegan crab cakes 

The flaky texture of hearts of palm or artichoke hearts, which are both used to make vegan crab cakes, may make them taste like they’re cooked with fish.

BBQ pulled sweet potato sandwiches

BBQ Sandwiches made with sweet potato that has been cooked in the same manner as shredded meat

Jackfruit Carnitas 

A carnitas substitute made with naturally “shredded” jackfruit and customary spice.

Vegan’s egg substitutes

Eggs may be replaced with many different vegan alternatives. The main objective of the egg alternative is to replace the functional properties of egg protein (solubility, emulsification, foaming and gelling) for backing and cooking. Soy and pea protein have properties that are similar to that of egg and can be used to make mayonnaise. Vegan mayonnaise has also been prepared using soy milk, xanthan gum and guar gum as stabilizers and using arabic gum alone. Other vegetable proteins from soy, sunflower, pea, tomato seed, wheat, white lupin and faba bean have been  successfully tested to stabilize oil-in-water emulsions. To substitute eggs in baking and cooking, ingredients as varied as apple sauce, aquafaba, flax seeds, tofu, ripe bananas and tapioca starch can be used (6).

·         The gelatinous material made from ground flaxseeds and water helps bind ingredients together.

·         It is possible to beat aquafaba (bean cooking liquid) to stiff peaks in the same manner as egg whites since aquafaba has a protein structure comparable to egg whites.

·         An egg replacer made from a combination of starches such as cornstarch, which may make a batter more “gluey”

·         Addition of leavening agents in baked items to compensate for the inherent leavening properties of eggs

·         Instead of scrambled eggs, try chickpea flour or crumbled tofu, which, when cooked and seasoned, creates a vegan “scramble.”

·         Either applesauce or banana puree will do. These egg substitutes do not perform properly in my opinion, and I do not suggest them for any purpose!

Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.

Can you eat fish on a vegan diet?

d’vegan menu

Do vegans actually make a difference?


In this brief guide, we answered the query,” Can vegans eat meat?” and discussed some vegan alternatives for meat.


  1. Šmugović, Stefan, et al. Vegetarian diet: Perceptions and attitudes of hospitality management. Zbornik radova Departmana za geografiju, turizam I hotelijerstvo, 2021, 50, 70-77.
  2. Ayres, Robert Glenn. May Contain Hooves: Why and How the Government Should Implement Plain-Language Disclosure of Animal Products in Food Labels. Stan. J. Animal L. & Pol’y, 2021, 5, 1.
  3. Restani, P., Ballabio, C., Di Lorenzo, C. et al. Molecular aspects of milk allergens and their role in clinical events. Anal Bioanal Chem, 2009, 395, 47–56.
  4. Guan, Xiangfei, et al. Changes of Soybean Protein during Tofu Processing. Foods, 2021, 10, 1594.
  5. Kyriakopoulou, Konstantina, Julia K. Keppler, and Atze Jan van der Goot. Functionality of ingredients and additives in plant-based meat analogues. Foods, 2021, 10, 600.
  6. Alcorta, Alexandra, et al. Foods for plant-based diets: Challenges and innovations. Foods, 2021, 10, 293.