Why use it: Cauliflower is fibrous and provides a complex texture to give a dish substance, and soaks up marinades and spices to give your meal a full and hearty flavour.
What to do with it: Grill it, bake it, or sauté it in curry spices and marinades. You can opt to leave it in its original shape or mash it into a patty.
Why use it: A serving of Naosap wild rice offers 7g of protein and 12% of your daily fibre, and when used as stuffing or to create meat-like cakes adds a filling consistency to your meal.
What do with it: Create fillings for casseroles, stuffed vegetables, and wraps, or use it as the base for a dough to create burger patties, balls for pastas and subs, and loaves.
Why use it: It’s high in fibre and detoxifying – the benefits of using a beetroot-based sandwich filling will provide rich nutrients for your system.
What to do with it: Use slices on pizzas and sandwiches, combine with other veg into patties, or create elegant Beet Tartare appetisers. Combine your beetroot with a serving of protein to get the most out of your meal.
Why use it: Avocados are rich in the proteins, fats, and enzymes supplied by meat, and will satisfy your cravings and your tastebuds.
What to do with it: Use large bites in salads, and slice or spread for sandwiches. They also make great additions to chilli, pizza, and savoury pies.
Why use it: With a variety of textures and flavours to choose from, nuts provide many beneficial nutrients comparable to meat, including proteins and healthy fats.
What to do with them: Marinate them overnight in sauce for a soft and meaty texture in stir fries and stews, grind them into mince for tacos, crush and pack them into loaves, or roast and use them to top soups and salads.
Why use it: Aubergine aka eggplant has a consistency that has seen it used as a convincing an natural meat substitute for centuries.
What to do with it: Mash it, fry it, sauté it, bake it; it makes an excellent filler for pastas, can be mashed for patties and balls, served up on its own, or sliced and fried to a crisp for a veggie BLT.
Why use it: Beans give a grounding heartiness to your meal, are high in protein, and provide many different varieties, tastes, and textures to play with.
What to do with it: Mash them into veggie-burger patties, use them to fill burritos, sandwiches, salads, and pasta, turn them into a mean soup, or enjoy all on their own!
Why use it: With protein, calcium, and healthy fats, cheese provides needed nutrients while also filling density to your meal.
What to do with it: Fry cutlets to go with your salad or use thick cheeses like halloumi or paneer to fill out any wrap or sandwich. Get creative by making cheese-based veggie sausages, or go more classic by using cheese as the main topping on pizzas and flatbreads.
Why use it:Quinoa is protein-rich and crazy-easy to cook. A versatile texture allows it to “beef” up any meal.
What to do with it: Make cakes to eat over salads or in wraps and burgers, combine it with your tomato sauce for a more textured and hearty spaghetti, or use it to add density to your veggie minces and casseroles.
Why use it: Lentils are a strong alternative protein source, and are also virtually fat-free, making them a great meat alternative for lean eaters. Texturally they can sub in well for minces.
What to do with it: Use lentils to create juicy fillings for tacos, pot pies, and dumpling, or use them to thicken up veggie chili.
Why use it: Protein-rich, and with a mild natural flavour and absorbent texture, tofu soaks up all the good flavours of your dish and adds some filling bulk.
What to do with it: Mince it, crumble it, or use cubes or rods to add a melt-in-your-mouth element to any meal.
Why use it: Fibrous, hearty, and flavourful, sweet potato can save any flimsy dish.
What to do with it: Mash and bake it into savoury cakes, or use cubes or disks in scrambles, pies, and salads to add texture and substance.
Why use it: An egg or two adds a protein boost, calcium, healthy fats, and a juicy, savoury flavour to any dish.
What to do with it: An egg is good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Serve a fried egg over grains or in tacos and sandwiches; alternatively, boil and chop into salad or scramble them up for a filling meal.
Why use it: Tempeh is a patty made from cooked and fermented soy beans, making it protein-rich and a slightly denser option than its relative tofu.
What to do with it: Fill wraps or sandwiches, or marinate, fry, bake, or sauté larger portions for a hearty skillet meal or finger food.
Why use it: Polenta’s main strength is its texture and versatility. It can sate cravings for meat or fill the hole on a plate where a steak might go.
What to do with it: Commonly served as a creamy mash, polenta can also be grilled, fried, or baked into a more solid form to create cutlets and rich bite-sized morsels to make your meal unique and hearty. Serve with protein-rich sides, like avocados, cheese, or eggs for a balanced plate, or use it as the main ingredient in savoury appetisers.
Why use it: Fibrous and flavour-packed, artichokes are a great main ingredient to sub in where some recipes call for chicken or pork.
What to do with it: Add roughly cut chunks to casseroles, pizzas, and pasta, or crush and create unique sausages and patties.
Why use it: Chickpeas are high in protein and have a full, meaty texture that makes them an easy substitute in almost any recipe.
What to do with it: Serve them cold in salads and wraps, or sauté or bake them for pastas, casseroles, curries, and pot pies. Get creative and pop them into quesadillas or breakfast scrambles, or go classic with a falafel or hummus spread for sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
Why use it: With a fibrous texture and juicy flavour, squash adds a punch and is a good textural sub for meat in most cases.
What to do with it: Chop into cubes, disks, or rings to complete any salad, casserole, or stew.
Why use it: Tender and flavourful, cabbage will fibre and heartiness to your plate. And can be subbed where recipes call for chicken, pork, and fish.
What to do with it: Use kohlrabi for ingenious veggie scallops, shred and dress for a pulled-veggie sandwich, or roughly chop cabbage heads to add substantive bites to veggie paella or pasta.
Why use it: Mushrooms take flavour with ease and provide a tender and hearty texture, plus a healthy dose of protein to sate your cravings.
What to do with it: Sauté or bake them for pizzas, sandwiches, and wraps. They can also be fried crisp and used for veggie BLTs and breakfast plates!
Why use it: Jackfruit is a fibrous miracle fruit from India that offers a shredded, tender consistency to give any dish fantastic texture.
What to do with it: Slow cook or toss it in your favourite sauces and seasonings and add to salads, sandwiches, and pastas, and be happy.
PRO TIP 1: Combine any number of these hearty meal-fillers to create your own unique patties, sausages, and loaves!
PRO TIP 2: It’s not as versatile as the ingredients on our list, but coconut does make a mean bacon for salad and soup toppings.