5 Foods I Eat When I Really Miss MEAT

Back when I had 3 blog followers, I wrote a post about becoming a vegetarian.

To summarize: I saw a squirrel get hit by a car and it deeply disturbed me and I quit eating meat all together. I know. I’m completely ridiculous and no, I have never eaten squirrel. It was the principle of the thing. It was watching that squirrel die and seeing how much pain animals can really suffer. I also feel like if several major world religions (literally billions of people) condemn eating certain types of meat, maybe I should avoid it too, just in case they’re right.

And what does this girl love more than anything? A nice B.L.T.

But I gave it up, and I’m not looking back. However, don’t think for one second that I don’t miss bacon. I daydream about bacon on a regular basis.

Crispy. Crunchy. Right next to the tomato on toasted wheat bread with extra mayo…

We’re getting off track here.

5 Foods I Eat When I Really Miss Meat

1. Smoked Gouda

If you follow me on instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen the occasional Quiche photo (and 800 photos of Archie). I actually did a step by step tutorial on making a quiche called Give Me a Quiche (and thought I was super clever). Quiche is one of my favorite vegetarian meals and making it with smoked Gouda and tomato makes you almost think there is bacon in it. It’s all in the smokiness.
*Make sure it’s free of animal rennin. I don’t know what that is but it makes it not vegetarian.

2. Smokehouse Almonds

Great snack. Healthy. And the smokehouse flavor combined with the heartiness of the almond gives your palette the illusion of meat. This also wins the award for one of the healthier things you can pick up at your local gas station. Score!

3. Morningstar Farms Chik Patties

When I get really desperate, I eat one of these. Fake meat generally grosses me out so I don’t eat much of it (Boca crumbles? ew.) but I bought these on a whim and keep them around for the day when I just want chicken nuggets or something to throw on top of a salad. After a year of no meat, this tastes exactly like real chicken to me!

4. Amy’s Lentil Vegetable Soup 

I know what you’re thinking: this in no way tastes like meat. I know, but hear me out.
I eat this about once a week for lunch. Basically lentils are high in iron and my Mom is always hassling me about getting enough iron. And I once heard that you start to crave meat if your iron levels get really low. So I eat this. But I mostly eat this because it’s freaking delicious.

5. A vegetarian hot dog from our local hot dog shop

Our local hot dog shop has the best vegetarian hot dogs. They taste exactly like the real thing. And just like the real thing, I have zero idea what’s in them. Doesn’t matter. They do the trick and they’re great with a side of sweet potato tots.
So there you have it, how I have successfully avoided meat for a whole year.

I don’t miss it.

Sure, eating meat would make life easier. But mentally I just cannot get over the idea of eating something that used to breathe and had a personality and could feel pain.

Do you have any other tips or tricks, fellow vegetarians? I’m always on the lookout for something new to satisfy my ongoing bacon cravings.


  • hahaha I love your going veg story. I’ve been (mostly) vegan for four years and did it spur of the moment too after reading Skinny Bitch one afternoon. Crazy!! I do baked beans a lot when I’m craving meat, with something salty on the side. And if you’re in a big enough city with a Whole Foods they sell the BEST meat replacement by a brand called Field Roast. No soy and SO SO good. My go-to for sho!

    • Skinny Bitch converted me, too! (Well, just to vegetarianism, not veganism…yet)

  • bacon flavored sunflower seeds. sweet baby jesus they are so delicious and addicting! and they come in jumbo size!

  • We’re not vegetarian but I love the options you have! The Morningstart Chik’n Nuggets are actually delicious- my kids love them and have no idea they aren’t chicken, and the mini corn dogs are great too.

  • I just LOL’d at the hot dog comment- no idea what’s in them! I was talking about this over the weekend… I feel like I should try and give up meat, but someone else is going to eat it anyway, sooo….. yeah. 🙂 But I really commend you for doing that. I would love to be vegetarian. Do you eat eggs or fish or are you strictly vegan?

  • I eat the exact same foods when I’m craving meat! Added to the list would be vegetarian chili. I always forget I used to eat it with meat!

  • I’ve been a vegetarian for nine years and I love it, I haven’t missed meat for a single second! I’m in love with the morningstar chicken nuggets (basically the same thing as the patties but in nugget form) and gouda is my favorite. I used to love vegetarian hot dogs, I was totally gross and even ate them raw until I had a bad food poisoning experience and I haven’t been able to eat one since…sadly ):

  • Just added you to Instagram (katerella83)! I sometimes think I could give up meat, but then I think about what I actually ate during the week and it seems overwhelming. Good for you for sticking to your guns! Love gouda cheese too!

  • Liz

    I’ve been a vegetarian for my whole life (ok, a pescetarian) because my parents raised us on that diet, but I honestly don’t know whether I would have been able to stick with it if I had tackled the diet later in life. Very impressed that you’ve stayed on track!

    xo, Liz

  • i didn’t know you were vegetarian – awesome! i’ve been veg for like 15 years. crazy. i tend to eat a lot of veggie burgers (my mom makes an awwwwesome one – i need to get her recipe and share on the blog), but also eat the fake meats too. the morningstar buffalo wings are tasty and spicy for if you’re ever craving wings. (which i don’t but i love buffalo sauce). have you tried the fake bacon that they make? it doesn’t reallllly taste like bacon and i don’t eat it alone but it’s pretty good on a blt because you get that crunch and salty goodness. oh and bacos are vegetarian too (double check because i’m not sure if it’s that brand or another…) and are great on salads. hopefully i’ll be posting more veg recipes on my blog, but i’ve been really lazy about cooking lately…

  • I eat meat, but black bean burgers from Morning Star are hands down the bomb.com! I am going to have the try the chik patties and nuggets! Yummy!

  • Ok, the story of why you stopped eating meat might be the best one I have heard. Poor little squirrel. I too struggle with the thoughts of animals dying so I can have them for dinner. The thought of going vegetarian overwhelms me though. Thinking of what I eat/cook in a week, I would have to make major changes.

  • Oh my gosh I’m not a vegetarian but your last sentence about eating something that used to have a personality and could feel pain made my heart hurt! 🙁 You’re so right!

  • I’ve thought about this before, but my husband will never go for it so we just do meatless Mondays and sometimes I have vegetarian lunch!
    My friend Katie said she misses hot dogs the most, even though that’s gross.
    Also I would miss steak.

  • I love morningstar breakfast patties. so, so good.

  • I’m not veggie now but was my whole life up until college- I really loved black bean burgers! I hated “fake meat” also but those are super filling and don’t resemble meat too much. I agree that veggie hot dogs taste the same- I also LOVE Morningstar corn dogs.. Yumm.

  • Hey Nadine,

    I’ve been a vegetarian for four years now, and I don’t think I could ever go back to eating meat. If anything, I could see myself someday becoming vegan.

    I am obsessed with: Trader Joe’s Lentil Vegetable Soup (tastes almost exactly like Amy’s except better and cheaper), Morningstar Chipotle Black Bean Burgers, and Morningstar Buffalo Chik’n Wings. I also eat a ton of quinoa for protein.

    Life would definitely be easier (for those around me, haha) if I ate meat again, but it just sicks me out too much now.

  • I can promise that hot dog is way better for you than the real thing!

  • Rennin in an animal enzyme found in stomach lining. It’s essential in creating cheese as it helps create whey and curd (curd are the basis for actual cheese).

  • I’ve been a veg for a little over a year and I love Quinoa, the Morningstar Breakfast Pockets and all kinds of cheese.

  • i used to be a vegetarian. i thought about trying it again until i found out that i am lactose intolerant. so now i need the meat to keep me sane.

  • My best friend is a vegetarian and people are always asking like well do you eat eggs, or milk or fish? So she always says she doesn’t eat anything with a voice box.

  • I stopped eating meat about a year ago, but I still eat fish so I’m not a vegetarian. It’s really easy to find veggie options though. I ran a 10K yesterday and the Kiwanis club had a pancake breakfast for us, and even offered veggie breakfast sausage!

  • Wow, good for you! I’ve tried various vegetarian stints over the years, but my boyfriend hates when we have even one meal without meat, so if I decided to be a vegetarian, I think we’d break up.

  • morningstar also makes a reaaally really good veggie black bean burger. i found them at costco. so good!!

  • i give you major props for giving it up. i’ve thought about it several times and would love to try it out when we return back home. because i’ve had friends try to live in korea and not eat meat and there’s just simply not many options here for vegetarians. it’s possible, but about 5 times more expensive and difficult. thanks for the tips though, i’ll have to stock this away for when we move!

  • YES! I don’t miss meat at all either except sadly for chick fil a. oh well. i refused to do fake meat either…but my cousin made me try some morningstar farms stuff…in a pinch, i kinda like their fake corn dogs. Now you have me intrigued with the hot dog!

  • I don’t have any tips or tricks, but fun fact: Amy’s products are made in one of my area’s local factories! My brother even worked there for a little while when he lived with me one fall 🙂

    • stay away from processed foods.If einatg things like pasta go for a tomato based sauce not a cream sauce.Nuts, soy, beans, and lentils are great.Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (at least 5-6 servings daily).Eat or drink 3 servings of milk or milk substitute daily.Take a multivitamin.Drink plenty of water and become or stay active.You also may want to consult your doctor.

  • Apparently, the body gets the same type of satisfaction from eating mushrooms rather than meat, so when I try to go veg, I eat lots of mushrooms.

    The Grass Skirt Blog

  • Those Morning Star chicken patties/nugs are AMAZING. They remind me of the Schwans chicken nuggets (may be a midwest thing, not sure) I ate as a kid!!


    i couldn’t help but wonder…

  • OMG I LOVE GOUDA! Granted, I’m not a vegetarian. But I love gouda cheese. I could eat it every single day.

  • OMG I LOVE Gouda, and I also eat probably 3 cans of Amy’s a week…that is such a hearty and yummy soup!!!!

    xo Dinah @ sunshine super glam

  • Oh my gosh, me too on the first two!! Any kind of smoked cheese really…smoked cheddar is amazing too. Add smokehouse almond “nut thin” cracker by blue diamond, and morningstar farms veggie bacon strips, and I’m set.

    Have you read “Eating Animals?” It’s about Jonathan Saffron Foer’s year exploring food politics and deciding whether or not to be vegetarian after swinging back and forth his whole life, because he wanted to settle on something before his first child was born. It’s an interesting read for just about anyone who wants to know where their food comes from, maybe especially for vegetarians.

    -Emma from little motley (having an international giveaway!)

  • When I was a vegetarian I ate all those foods too! I love Gouda its one of my favorites and the morning star is surprisingly good. Its crazy how many different foods you are introduced to when you become a vegetarian.
    miranda @ mirandarue.wordpress.com

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