Pork belly is a versatile cut that is favored by many people.
However, pork belly is definitely not the most desirable cut because of its high saturated fat content.
The best way to get a healthier pork belly substitute is to work with some vegan-friendly options.
Accompany us and you won’t miss out on these delicious and healthy vegan pork belly substitutes.
What is pork belly?
A pork belly is a cut from the pig’s stomach.
It is one of the fattiest cuts of pork.
You will have a layer of skin on the outside, followed by a thick layer of fat, then meat, and alternately.
Due to the fatty texture, pork belly is flavorful but tougher than other lean cuts like loin or tenderloin.
Therefore, it is perfect to slow-cook pork belly to tenderize the meat, render the fat, and achieve crispy skin.
The most popular cooking methods for pork belly are frying or roasting in the oven.
You can also braise pork belly cubes like in Chinese or Vietnamese cuisine so that the resulting dish can melt in your mouth and pair perfectly with white rice.
Can you substitute pork belly with vegan alternatives in cooking recipes?
You may be wondering how it could be to substitute pork belly with other vegan ingredients.
In fact, it is possible to replace most kinds of meat, including pork belly, with other plant-based or soy-based products.
You might not achieve the flavor of a real pork belly, but the texture and protein from other vegan ingredients can partially replicate pork belly.
Moreover, these vegan-friendly substitutes also benefit your health in many ways that are supposed to be better and improve your general health.
What vegan substitutes can you use in place of pork belly?
The following suggestions can help you replace your fatty pork belly cut in your next recipe without messing things up:
Tofu is an excellent source of vegan protein to substitute for pork belly.
Some reasons why people prefer tofu is that it is affordable, healthy, and has a rich taste that can replace pork belly.
It doesn’t have a lean or dry texture and taste, but rather moist and buttery instead, especially if you use soft tofu.
Depending on the type and texture of tofu, it can be fried or roasted the whole block or crumbled and stir-fried.
Beans can also be a great option to substitute for pork belly.
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Beans are a rich source of protein that is excellent for vegetarians who don’t eat meat.
Moreover, beans also have a rich taste, not fatty or greasy, but still can resemble pork belly.
The most common way to cook beans is to bake, but you can simmer and mash them into a paste form too.
3. Textured vegetable protein
Textured vegetable protein (or TVP) is a common product to substitute for meat, that’s why it is also known as “soy meat”.
It is sold in most grocery stores in a ground form.
Textured vegetable protein, when cooked, has the texture of meat, but it takes a much shorter period of time to cook.
Since it is made from soybeans, this ingredient is not ideal for those who have soy allergies.
Tempeh is relatively similar to tofu because it is made by fermenting soybeans.
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However, tempeh is considered more nutritious and higher in protein compared, and also has a firmer and chunkier texture compared to tofu.
Some vegan chefs even have a more delicate cooking skill by resembling different layers of pork belly with several layers of tempeh that are coated in different colors (for example the fat layer is lighter while the meat is darker).
The bottom line
Eating vegan foods is always considered better for your health.
To cut down the calories and fat from pork belly, you can either use tofu, beans, TVP, or tempeh in place of this fatty cut.
These vegan alternatives are higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while still maintaining a sufficient source of protein that will keep you from starving.
So what vegan pork belly substitute do you like the most? Try them all and let us know.
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