The Best Meat Pie Alternatives: The Ultimate Guide
Meat pies are a quintessential British dish, but they’re not the only option for vegetarians looking for a meaty treat. In fact, many alternatives to traditional meat pies exist, so long as you have a little creativity and a bit of time on your hands. Read on for our guide to the best meat pie alternatives, from vegan pies to pies made with soy or Quorn.
What Is a Meat Pie?
A meat pie is a baked casserole made with either ground or minced meat, bound with eggs and other binding agents, and baked. The word “meat” is in quotations because the only meat you really taste is the filling, and even then the meat is often replaced with a more flavorful protein.
But what exactly goes into a meat pie? The short answer is: Everything but the kitchen sink!
These days, many meat pies contain some combination of:
Soy protein concentrate
Besides the usual suspects, you’ll also find meat pies that use seitan (a protein made from wheat gluten), lentils, and even insects like beetles or crickets.
Vegans have a few options for meat pie fillings besides using actual meat. Coconut oil and vegan butter can be used to replace some of the meat flavor, and the occasional addition of cheese can bring a pie full of veggies together.
Pies Made with Soy or Quorn
Soy and Quorn are two brands of protein-rich “meats” made from soybeans and wheat, respectively. Both brands are mostly thought of as vegetarian sources of protein, though they’ve also produced a meat-flavored soy crumb pie.
These brands offer a few meat pie options that make creative use of their proteins. Soy crumb pies use soy protein concentrate and Quorn’s “Chik’n” pie uses ground up pieces of the company’s products.
Pies with Tofu or Seitan
Tofu and seitan are both made from soybeans, though tofu is made by curdling soy milk and seitan is a protein-rich wheat protein. Tofu and seitan both have a distinct flavor that can be used to flavor other ingredients in a meat pie.
Some brands of “meat” pie use tofu or seitan as the primary protein, while other brands substitute it in place of ground beef or pork.
Beans on a Bakelite
Bakelites are British baked goods that don’t use yeast, instead relying on a chemical reaction between baking soda and an acidic ingredient to rise.
Unfortunately, the only bakelite meat pies you can find in the United States are imports from Great Britain. The ones sold here usually contain beans and flavoring, while the original versions contain eggs and other animal products.
Baked Egg Pies
Eggs are a classic protein, but they’re not usually used in meat pies because they typically contain too much cholesterol. But what if you were to use egg whites only?
That’s exactly what some brands do in their meat pies, using egg whites only to create a more delicate, custard-like pastry.
Mushroom pie is a classic British pie that uses mushroom, either as a primary ingredient or as an option for vegetarians. It’s often served with a cheddar cheese filling and sometimes even topped with a fried egg.
Fish and Seafood Pies
Fish and seafood pies are a British tradition that rely on fresh or frozen ingredients. These can be vegetarian or vegan, though most of the time they contain some form of fish or seafood.
Meat pies are a rich and hearty dish that can be eaten at any time of day. They’re especially popular during the winter months and can be a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Unfortunately, meat pies aren’t available at most grocery stores in the United States. Luckily, though, there are many good meat alternatives that use plant-based proteins, gluten-free flours, and alternative binding agents.
If you’re looking for a delicious, filling, and cheap source of protein, a meat pie is the perfect thing to eat!